'Latinas/os' and the Politics of Knowledge Production: LatCrit Scholarship and Academic Activism as Social Justice Action

38 Pages Posted: 19 Dec 2008 Last revised: 31 Jul 2014

Francisco Valdes

University of Miami - School of Law

Margaret E. Montoya

University of New Mexico School of Law

Date Written: December 19, 2008

Abstract

In this article, Professors Montoya and Valdes examine various ways of developing Latina/o legal studies in the United States. As background, they first outline and examine the three main models of knowledge-production established within legal academia during the past century or so: 1) the traditional or imperial model; 2) the safe-space or vanguard model, and; 3) the big-tent or democratic model. Using this historical template to contextualize current efforts in Latina/o legal studies both substantively and methodologically, they next review the record of LatCrit theorists over the past dozen years. With this analytical framework in place, they situate the LatCrit experiment as an example of the third, or democratic, approach to jurisprudential knowledge production.

After discussing LatCrit theory and practices as a key programmatic effort in the development of contemporary Latina/o legal studies, Professors Montoya and Valdes conclude that methods and norms associated with the democratic model are generally best suited for the ongoing cultivation of this field. Nonetheless, Professors Montoya and Valdes counsel LatCrit and allied scholars to mix and match elements of each model to maximize the antisubordination punch of any critical text, project, or program. This strategic yet principled blending of techniques associated with the different knowledge-production models, they conclude more broadly, will generate over time the most incisive body of critical outsider jurisprudence in both individual and collective terms.

Suggested Citation

Valdes, Francisco and Montoya, Margaret E., 'Latinas/os' and the Politics of Knowledge Production: LatCrit Scholarship and Academic Activism as Social Justice Action (December 19, 2008). Indiana Law Journal, Vol. 83, 2008; University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2009-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1318249

Francisco (Frank) Valdes (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 248087
Coral Gables, FL 33146
United States
305-284-1780 (Phone)

Margaret E. Montoya

University of New Mexico School of Law ( email )

1117 Stanford, N.E.
Albuquerque, NM New Mexico 87131
United States
505-345-6382 (Phone)

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