2012 Theme


Popular Culture: Arts and Social Change in Latin America


June 16-19, 2012


The study of popular culture is a critical component of the field of cultural studies. Courses, academic journals, conferences and collections of materials devoted to the topic have grown in importance at many of our institutions. Traditional and emerging forms of popular cultural expression in multiple formats are now legitimate objects of study.

We will explore a broad range of media and venues through which popular culture is expressed: film and television, popular music and art, performance, graphic novels, artisan and artists' books, the internet and social media, and many others.

Throughout Latin America, popular culture and the arts are increasingly being employed as agents of social change. Particular attention will be paid to the exploration of projects that document the social uses of popular culture. The various cartonera (cardboard book) initiatives, for example, rely upon, employ and educate persons who are often marginalized or at risk; comic book artists in Juárez, Mexico train youth to document their lives through art and story; filmmakers in Brazil empower favela dwellers to become actors and screenwriters.

In addition to scholarly presentations and panels, the program will include documentation of social projects, workshops and roundtables on collection development, acquisitions, bookmaking, cataloging and preservation. Discussions of popular culture in Spain and Portugal and among Hispanic and Latino communities in the United States are also welcome. Topics related to Caribbean culture will be of special interest. Possible presentation topics may include:


  • Theoretical studies of popular culture: cultural studies, cultural agents
  • Expressions of popular culture / exploration of social projects which employ popular culture and the arts
  • Creation and organization of collections
  • Acquisitions, cataloging, preservation and access to materials that document popular culture


The conference is hosted by the University of the West Indies and the Library Association of Trinidad and Tobago (LATT) at the Hilton Trinidad & Conference Centre in Port of Spain, Trinidad.  This site is located on a hill overlooking downtown Port of Spain, within walking distance or a short taxi ride to restaurants, shops and attractions.


Interested participants, presenters and panel organizers should contact the SALALM 2011-2012 president with proposals:


Lynn Shirey; 140 Widener Library; Harvard University; Cambridge, MA 02138



Include your name, institution, contact information, proposed title and abstract.

The deadline for receipt is February 1, 2012.


For local arrangements and exhibits queries, contact Elmelinda Lara (Elmelinda.Lara@sta.uwi.edu).


SALALM Secretariat; Tulane University; The Latin American Library; 422 Howard Tilton Memorial Library; 7001 Freret Street; New Orleans, LA 70118-5549; Phone:  504-247-1366; Fax:  504-247-1367; Email:  salalm@tulane.edu