Jim Escalante, University of Wisconsin-Madison
The Latino Midwest experience has yet to be defined - especially in the arts and literature. For example, while well-known individual artists have emerged, there is no established and widely-known corpus of work that can yield a sample of classic literature that focuses on the Midwest Latino experience. A first step is the identifcation and collection of Latino source materials for the study and teaching of oral history, music, ethnography, poetry, and literature. Even at this early point in the development of the field of Latino Studies, it is evident that interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary approaches will be required to conceptualize the field and to evaluate and work its sources.
The state of research on Latinos in the Midwest is closely related to the conditions of professional development for Latino scholars. The study Latino issues was not an option in graduate school for many of the participants in this group who were directed to specialize in more established areas of research. Some scholars rationalized to themselves that they would study what was accepted as graduate students and then turn to their own research preferences when they became faculty, only to discover that Latino research is not an acceptable path to tenure.
Research on Latinos in the Midwest can be promoted in the following ways: