LatCrit: A Conceptual Overview
University of Miami School of Law
LatCrit theory is an infant discourse that responds primarily to the long historical presence and general sociolegal invisibility of Latinas/os in the lands now known as the United States . As with other traditionally subordinated communities within this country, the combination of longstanding occupancy and persistent marginality fueled an increasing sense of frustration among contemporary Latina/o legal scholars, some of whom already identified with Critical Race Theory (CRT) and participated in its gatherings. Like other genres of critical legal scholarship, LatCrit literature tends to reflect the conditions of its production as well as the conditioning of its early and vocal adherents.
1. Origins and Purposes
Born from and during a 1995 colloquium on Latinas/os and critical race theory, LatCrit theory is an intervention designed to highlight Latina/o concerns and voices in legal discourse and social policy. As its origins indicate, this Latina/o-identified genre of outsider jurisprudence was conceived as a movement closely related to CRT. Because it was born of the CRT experience, LatCrit theory views itself as a "close cousin" to CRT, a cousin that always welcomes CRT, both in spirit and in the flesh, to its gatherings.
But these roots include a critical assessment of CRT - this birthing reflects both the strengths and shortcomings of CRT as revealed by a Latina/o-identified critique of the first decade. Molded (in part) by a critical assessment of CRT"s substantive and structural record, LatCrit theory from its very inception has been self-consciously devoted to practicing CRT"s original commitments and pioneering techniques in a self-critical way. LatCrit theorists have been determined to embrace CRT"s original antisubordination vision and employ its first-decade learning curve as this movement"s point of departure. Not surprisingly, then, LatCrit theory has devised a conscious and critical self-conception similar though not identical to CRT"s.
LatCrit theory self-consciously endeavors both the creation of scholarship through community and the creation of community through scholarship. The idea of, and need for, regularized meetings accordingly have been integral to the constitution of LatCrit theory, and to the production of a LatCrit body of legal literature generated in connected, rather than atomized, conditions; LatCrit theory has undertaken the construction of structural conditions conducive to these twin objectives, and LatCrit theory expresses this commitment to the production of both knowledge and community specifically as a means toward an end-the attainment of social justice. As crafted by its earliest proponents, LatCrit theory attempts to balance multiple factors that conjoin the production of knowledge and cultivation of community, which in turn serve jointly as the theoretical frame for social transformation through LatCrit discourse and legal reform.
From the beginning, therefore, LatCrit theorists have theorized about the purpose(s) of legal theory, and about the role of structure and substance in light of such purpose(s). In my view, these preliminary LatCrit efforts have pointed to four basic aims or functions of critical legal theory: the production of critical and interdisciplinary knowledge; the promotion of substantive social transformation; the expansion and interconnection of antisubordination struggles; and the cultivation of community and coalition among outsider scholars. As these four aims or functions indicate, a dual and coequal commitment to expansive substantive programs and community-building structures and events underpins LatCrit theory.
2. Practices and Projects
This dual and coequal commitment is applied (or not) mainly in the context of the annual LatCrit conferences. Instead of CRT"s series of small workshops, the annual LatCrit conferences have been open and mid-sized gatherings of about 75-135 attendees. As with CRT"s workshops, these conferences meet in a different location each year, and have been the chief instrument that annually brings together multiply diverse legal scholars and friends for a critical and continuing engagement of social justice issues important, in this instance, to Latinas/os as well as to other outgroups. Because these conferences are cosponsored by law reviews, they also annually help to generate published texts that reflect this framing. LatCrit theory therefore has been characterized by a self-instilled and self-critical sense of collectivity, situatedness and purpose, which is evidenced not only by the structuring of the annual LatCrit conferences but also by their substantive scope and focus. More broadly, this sensibil ity is manifest in the various community projects launched during the past decade, which now constitute the Portfolio of Projects through which we aim to practice and apply the insights of theory in various educational, professional and social settings. 
The configuration of LatCrit interventions, both written and physical, thus far has been guided by a solid conviction that the social or legal position of multiply diversified Latina/o populations may be understood best when approached from multiple perspectives in collaborative but critical and self-critical fashion. LatCrit theory"s substantive scope and focus therefore have been shaped by a firm resolve to center "Latinas/os" in social and legal discourse, but to do so in a way that foregrounds the multiple diversities of Latina/o communities and that contextualizes these issues within a broad critique of intergroup relations and outgroup positions. This structural design - featuring a wide range of attendance and participation in LatCrit programs and projects - is related to and reinforces this substantive purview. In both structural design and substantive scope, the LatCrit approach to outsider jurisprudence is calculated to nurture cross-group communities and coalitions spurred by intersect ional discussions and projects that broaden, deepen and contextualize self-empowerment quests both within and beyond Latina/o contexts. 
Perhaps most notably, the annual LatCrit conferences and other projects in our community Portfolio have been employed consciously to elucidate intra-and inter-group diversities across multiple identity axes, including those based on perspective and discipline. This expansive approach to the articulation of LatCrit theory is designed to ensure that African American, Asian American, Native American, feminist, Queer and other OutCrit subjectivities are brought to bear on Latinas/os" places and prospects under the Anglocentric and heteropatriarchal rule of the United States . Though we obviously cannot train our collective attention on all diversities, issues or contexts at once, LatCrit theorists have guided the creation of holistic programs and projects that search out and map Latina/o diversities and their interrelationships to unpack comprehensively and critically the complexities of Latina/o subordination. 
This approach consciously is designed to center not only Latinas/os and our many diversities in a manner that minimizes privileging any one Latina/o interest over another, but also to ensure critical discussion of Latinas/os as part of the larger social schematics formed in part through law. This LatCrit drive for diversity and particularity ideally will help to create an intellectual and social culture enabling the LatCrit community collectively to overcome Latina/o and other essentialisms, which sometimes stand in the way of critical outgroup and OutCrit coalitions. This incremental critical effort is intended to promote and ground intra-and inter-group antisubordination coalitions by ensuring the representation and investigation within the LatCrit community of various power hierarchies and their interplay. 
In practice, this constant and perpetual balancing of diversities and specificities produces a rotation of centers. At each gathering thus far, LatCrit programs and projects have allocated time and prominence to intersectional issues in a manner that in effect rotates "the center" of LatCrit discourse among various, and sometimes overlapping, intra-and inter-group interests. This rotational practice effectively requires all participants to "de-center" from time to time salient identities or preferred issues to juggle our collective limited resources. The joint objective every year, and also from year to year, remains constant, even while sites and centers rotate: to incorporate as fully as possible in all LatCrit programs, as well as in the overall LatCrit record, the manifold intraLatina/o diversities and intergroup issues that affect outgroup social justice quests, including those of Latinas/os. If assessed critically and pragmatically, and if managed responsibly, this process of continual and rotational analysis is the best-if not the only-route to balancing and expanding from year to year the programmatic attention given to these intricate issues and to their complex interrelationship in light of the discursive demands established by postmodern, intersectional insights. 
This system of rotation, however, obviously depends on a collective yet individual commitment to continuity and progression; because rotation in part means that each year"s events build on those of the prior one(s), LatCrit programs and projects place a premium on repeat attendance and participation in annual or special events. To engineer the continual advancement of this discourse, knowledge and community, rotation calls for a personal and annual re/commitment to the LatCrit enterprise among an ever-fluid yet identifiable and self-selected group of scholars. The forms of commitment among the many individuals in the LatCrit community vary over time, of course. Generally, however, this commitment encompasses not only attendance and participation but also planning. Because the passage of time likely will make it progressively more difficult to sustain individual commitments across the board, the goal is to ensure a critical mass of continuity in attendance, participation and planning every year-and then to balance these levels of continuity and consolidation with incremental innovation, expansion and inclusion. 
Additionally, this balancing of continuity and development must anticipate and accommodate the varying levels of knowledge and experience that individual scholars bring with them to LatCrit events: inevitably, different individuals bring with them not only varied backgrounds but also varied levels of exposure to, or involvement in, outsider jurisprudence. This accommodation contains both substantive and structural components: it is reflected in LatCrit programs, which seek to blend the familiar with the novel and to represent both newcomers and veterans. The perpetual task of the group is to create an environment where all present can participate and contribute, a task that necessarily becomes increasingly challenging with the passage of time and the expansion of the group. 
Given the diffused and nuanced culture of the decisions and considerations that underlie these group and personal commitments, only time-and effort-will determine how far LatCrit theory will (or won"t) reach. In both substance and structure, LatCrit theory is an experiment-in-progress, and only time and effort will determine how far LatCrit theory actually reaches. The ultimate challenge, of course, is to persist for as long as the material conditions of subordination also persist. For the moment, it seems to be working because enough OutCrit scholars deem it worth it. The immediate and ongoing challenge, then, is to locate, excavate and rotate sites of theoretical contestation and political action to keep the LatCrit antisubordination project continuously on balance, and on the move. 
Finally, LatCrit theory from inception has sought collaboration with Latina/o and other law reviews. Each event to date has been co-sponsored by one or more law journal(s), which publish edited versions of conference proceedings. This feature of the LatCrit enterprise seeks to support, and build coalition with, law reviews (especially those of color) while also creating collective projects and opportunities for all participants in LatCrit programs. This particular aspect of the LatCrit venture has been tailored to provide support and community both to scholars and to journals while igniting the creation of a new field in legal literature. By producing a similarly diversified printed record of our gatherings and exchanges, this final feature of LatCrit projects advances the antiessentialist principles and antisubordination aims of this movement with respect both to community and to theory; this type of publication project not only helps to create links between students and faculty but also create a written record that enables a kind of permanent "virtual attendance" at our events. 
As this brief sketch indicates, LatCrit theorists have thought long and hard about the nature and purpose of this jurisprudential experiment. We have tried both to learn and apply the lessons that preceded us, as well as to complement them. We have endeavored to give meaning to theory in the form of action and solidarity. This endeavor, as we have noted, is perpetually under construction as one example of antisubordination activism. 
3. A Collective Kind of Personal Praxis
This sketch cannot present every important insight or significant nuance relevant to understanding LatCrit theory as discourse, community and praxis. But the foregoing notes should help to convey how theoretical and practical concerns continue to animate and pervade the LatCrit record as we endeavor to incorporate our insights into our discourse and praxis. LatCrit theorists employ personal and social experience as substantive sources of critical analysis and insight. Moreover, we similarly apply those insights to everyday circumstances, ranging from the workplace to the family, as well as to societal realities more broadly.
As the brief description above underscores, LatCrit theory from inception has sought to learn from prior jurisprudenital experiments. In doing so, we have emphasized the importance of collaboration and collectivity, and have sought to forge practices that would enable and sustain antisubordination solidarity in a world of difference. To a significant extent, LatCrits seem to have opted for the potential of the group over the limitations of the self - or, perhaps more accurately, to give the benefit of our doubts, in the first instance, to the group in the pursuit of stated antisubordination aims. Among other goals and functions, our collective performance of theory must accomplish the vindication of these individual and contingent extensions of trust, from text to text, program to program, moment to moment.  It is this ongoing process of vindication that, in time, provides the basis of solidarity and community across multiple axes of difference, and especially in times of strain. This ongoing effort at vindication of antisubordination trust is fundamental, and therefore manifest in the myriad undertakings of the group.
As a group, and as briefly described above, LatCrit theorists have imagined and implemented methods and techniques to construct a principled basis for individuals to practice their commitments to collective action, and for the substantive "community" thus constructed over time to measure at any given moment both the record of the individual and of the collective. We have agreed to "rotate centers" and generate "streams of programming" that, over time, respond to different individuals" and groups" primary antisubordination concerns. Within these rotations and streams, we furthermore have centered "the bottom" of the categories or contexts under interrogation and have framed our inquiries in transnational and cross-disciplinary to bring intra- as well as inter-group diversities to the fore of our collective attention. We have committed individually to personal continuity in our community projects to help ensure a "critical mass" of veterans and an overall balance among the participants and the planners of events or programs along multiple identity axes, and thus to help nurture the longer-term depth and viability of these initiatives.  These efforts, still-fragile, surely and obviously are no panacea for all the pressing ills that envelop us. But building on the insights and lessons pioneered by critical outsider scholars, LatCrit theorists today engage in a collective kind of personal praxis anchored in antisubordination principles that aims to perform the theory in all that we do, and which form the crucibles for creating the substance of enduring solidarity.
The still-young LatCrit record posits the fusion of critical theory and collective action as indispensable to social struggle, and has proceeded from this premise to construct the conditions that would enable it in the varied jurisprudential, institutional, geographic and social settings that we inhabit. Recognizing the challenges to social justice knowledge and activism, LatCrits have minted concepts and developed tools to align individual commitments and collective undertakings in substantively principled terms. Whether or not these unfolding efforts will endure remains to be seen as the struggle continues. Until then, our labors continue to nourish the body of literature and Portfolio of Projects that we have created as a community during the past ten years of, and as, collective personal praxis.
* Professor of Law, University of Miami ; Co-Director, Center for Hispanic and Caribbean Legal Studies, University of Miami School of Law ; Co-Chair, LatCrit, Inc.
1 "LatCrit" theory is a jurisprudential subject position that encompasses richly diverse scholars and texts. "LatCrit theory" therefore comprises many scholars with varying views, making it somewhat misleading to speak of "LatCrit theory" in the singular. Nonetheless, the multiply diverse critical legal scholars who have coalesced around the collective effort to articulate LatCrit theory have "exhibited � [a] sense of shared groupness." See Francisco Valdes, Foreword- Latina/o Ethnicities, Critical Race Theory, And Post-Identity Politics In Postmodern Legal Culture: From Practices To Possibilities , in 9 La Raza L.J. 1, 7, n.25 (1996). LatCrits, like "Latinas/os" and other social groups, are a collection of "different" individuals. See Sylvia A. Marotta & Jorge G. Garcia, Latinos in the United States in 2000 , 25 Hisp. J. Behavioral Sci . 13 (2003); Luis Angel Toro, "A People Distinct from Others": Race and Identity in Federal Indian Law and the Hispanic Classification in OMB Directive No. 15, 26 Texas Tech. L. Rev. 1219 (1995) (critiquing the ramifications of the current labeling system in the United States, which "lumps together all people who can connect themselves to some "Spanish origin or culture" together as "Hispanics"); see also, Jorge Klor de Alva, Telling Hispanics Apart: Latino Sociocultural Diveristy, in The Hispanic Experience in the United States: Contemporary Issues and Perspectives 107-36 (Edna Acosta-Belen & Barbara R. Sjostrom eds., 1988); Suzanne Oboler , Ethnic Labels, Latin Lives (1995); Earl Shorris, Latinos: A Biography of the People (1992) Latinos in the United States: History, Law and Perspective (Antoinette Sedillo Lopez ed., 1995); see generally The Latino/a Condition: A Critical Reader (Richard Delgado & Jean Stephancic eds., 1998). Conventional labels used socially in the United States are captured formally in the current census, which amalgamates "Spanish/Hispanic/Latino" into a single category, and then subdivides it into subgroup varieties like "Mexican, Mexican Am., Chicano" and "Puerto Rican" and "Cuban." See United States Department of Commerce, Bureau of the Census, Form D-1, Question Seven (2000) (copy on file with author); see generally Alex M. Saragoza, Concepcion R. Juarez, Abel Valenzuela, Jr. and Oscar Gonzalez, History and Public Policy: Title VII and the Use of the Hispanic Classification 5 La Raza L. J. 1 (1992) (discussing federal adoption of the "Hispanic" label and critiquing the conglomeration of the Spanish-Hispanic-Latina/o labels into a single identity category). From the very beginning, LatCrit scholars have grappled with racial, ethnic and other forms of "diversity" both within and beyond "Latina/o" communities.
2 The term "LatCrit" was coined at a 1995 colloquium, held in Puerto Rico , on the relationship of critical race theory to "Latina/o" communities. From that colloquium, the annual conferences then flowed. And from the beginning, with a conference theme for LatCrit I focused on the limits and possibilities of Latina/o "pan-ethnicity," LatCrit scholars have highlighted the importance of community-building on terms that amount to antiessentialist, antisubordination praxis at a collective level. Information on LatCrit theory, including the full text of the inaugural LatCrit symposium based on the First Annual LatCrit Conference, can be obtained at the LatCrit website, at www.latcrit.org. On the emergence of a "LatCrit" subject position, see Francisco Valdes, Foreword- Poised at the Cusp: LatCrit Theory, Outsider Jurisprudence and Latina/o Self-Empowerment, 2 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 1 (1997) (hereinafter Poised at the Cusp ) (introducing the papers and proceedings of the first LatCrit conference). For other accounts, see Berta Esperanza Hernandez-Truyol, Indivisible Identities: Culture Clashes, Confused Constructs and Reality Checks, 2 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 199, 200-05 (1997); Kevin R. Johnson & George A. Martinez, Crossover Dreams: The Roots of LatCrit Theory in Chicana/o Studies, Activism and Scholarship , 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 1143 (1999). C f . Margaret E. Montoya , L atCrit Theory: Mapping Its Intellectual and Political Foundations and Future Self-Critical Directions , 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 1119 (1999); see also Elizabeth M. Iglesias & Francisco Valdes, Afterword- Religion, Gender, Sexuality, Race and Class in Coalitional Theory: A Critical and Self-Critical Analysis of LatCrit Social Justice Agendas , 19 Chicano-Latino L. Rev. 503, 568-71 (1998) ( discussing the choice of "LatCrit" as partly a political decision to identify as much as possible with people of color, indigenous people, and other traditionally subordinated groups in the construction of this new discourse and praxis). The term "outsider jurisprudence" was first used by Professor Mari J. Matsuda. See Mari J. Matsuda, Public Response to Racist Speech: Considering the Victim"s Story, 87 Mich. L. Rev. 2320, 2323 (1989). Here, the term is preceded with "critical" to emphasize this key feature of the body of work to which LatCrit theory belongs.
3 From the inception of this jurisprudential experiment, LatCrit theorists have endeavored to learn from prior or concurrent jurisprudential efforts, and thus have developed practices designed to ensure that we our work is grounded in the cumulative insights of critical outsider jurisprudence. This effort to "perform the theory" includes practices such as "rotating the center" of our programmatic lines of inquiry and creating multi-year "streams of programming" to ensure that critical attention is focused on the varied specific aspects of subordination - as well as on the interlocking nature of systems of subordination - based on race, ethnicity, gender, class, sexuality, religion, geography, physical ability and similar axis of identity employed in law and policy to engineer social hierarchies. See, e.g., Kevin R. Johnson, Celebrating LatCrit Theory: What Do We Do When the Music Stops?, 33 Davis L. Rev. 753 (2000) (reviewing the essays of the LatCrit IV symposium and evaluating LatCrit methodologies to identify some of the challenges facing LatCrit scholars); Athena D. Mutua, Shifting Bottoms and Rotating Centers: Reflections on LatCrit III and the Black/White Paradigm , 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 1177 (1999) (discussing and assessing LatCritical techniques and methods of analysis and praxis in the context of the LatCrit III conference); Francisco Valdes, Afterword- Theorizing "OutCrit" Theories: Coalitional Method and Comparative Jurisprudential Experience - RaceCrits, QueerCrits and LatCrits , 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 1265, 1299-1306 (1999) (discussing these and similar practices) [hereinafter Theorizing OutCrit Theories ]; see also Johnson & Martinez, supra note 2, at 1150-61(reviewing LatCrit methodologies and premises in relationship to other civil rights movements, in particular Chicana/o scholarship and activism); Montoya , supra note 2, at 121-27 (reviewing the techniques, and the precursors and origins, of LatCrit theory and method); Stephanie L. Phillips, The Convergence of the Critical Race Theory Workshop with LatCrit Theory: A History, 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 1247, 1248-54 (1999) (analyzing and comparing the methods and experiences of the Critical Race Theory Workshops that preceded the emergence of LatCrit events to those of the annual LatCrit conferences to adduce the continuities between the two); see also generally Dorothy E. Roberts, BlackCrit Theory and the Problem of Essentialism , 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 855 ( 1999) (describing critical approaches to the study of "blackness" within LatCrit theory).
4 The need for a "safe space" for "community building" - a venue that would enable communities of outsider scholars to arise and flourish - has been a perennial theme in outsider jurisprudence, in part because issues of "sameness" and "difference" have attracted the attention of many scholars grappling with the role of "identity" in law, policy and society. See, e.g., Martha Minow, Making All the Difference: Inclusion, Exclusion and American Law (1990); see also Regina Austin, Black Women, Sisterhood, and the Difference/Deviance Divide , 26 New Eng. L. Rev. 877 (1992); Martha Albertson Fineman, Feminist Theory in Law: The Difference It Makes , 2 Colum. J. of Gender & L. 1 (1992); Joan C. Williams, Dissolving the Sameness/Difference Debate: A Post-Modern Path Beyond Essentialism in Feminist and Critical Race Theory , 1991 Duke L. J. 296. The collective effort to mint concepts like antiessentialism, multiplicity, intersectionality, cosynthesis, wholism, interconnectivity, multidimensionality and the like also reflects a similar grappling with issues of sameness and difference in various genres of contemporary critical legal theory. See infra note 8 and sources cited therein on these issues and similar themes or concepts in critical outsider jurisprudence, including LatCrit theory.
Not surprisingly, then, the birth and growth of outsider jurisprudence have been punctuated by various ruptures. Most notable, perhaps, has been the rupture with critical legal studies that gave way to the emergence of critical race theory. For a collection of works that recount those events, see Symposium, Minority Critiques of the Critical Legal Studies Movement, 22 Harv. C.R.-C.L L. Rev. 297 (1987); see also Symposium, Critical Legal Studies , 36 Stan. L. Rev. 1 (1984) (describing, and presenting critical legal studies). However, similarly conflicted experiences marked the critical race theory workshops in the years that followed that original rupture. See, e.g., Phillips, supra note 3 (describing the early workshops); see also Angela P. Harris, Building Theory, Building Community , 8 Soc. & Legal Stud. 313 (1999) (describing community building both in Critical Race and in LatCrit contexts). Of course, similar dynamics also have surfaced with and within feminist legal theory. See, e.g., Catharine A. MacKinnon, Keeping it Real: On Anti-"Essentialism" in Crossroads, Directions and a New Critical Race Theory 71 (Francisco Valdes, Jerome McCristal Culp & Angela P. Harris eds., 2002); Catharine A. MacKinnon, From Practice To Theory, or What Is a White Woman Anyway? , 4 Yale J.L. & Feminism 13 (1991) (responding to controversies about race and gender within feminist legal theory); Leti Volpp, Feminism Versus Multiculturalism, 101 Colum. L. Rev. 1181 (2001). LatCrit conferences and discourses have not been immune to this phenomenon. See generally Valdes, Theorizing OutCrit Theories, supra note 3, at 1308-11 (drawing lessons for LatCrit from the experiences of other outsider efforts, principally those of RaceCrits and QueerCrits and recounting "contentious engagements" at various LatCrit conferences, including the first one).
5 For a thoughtful discussion of this topic in LatCrit and other genres of critical outsider jurisprudence, see Harris, supra note 4. This topic therefore has drawn the attention of LatCrit scholars over the years, who have grappled with sources of "difference" and diversity in our community-building efforts. See, e.g., Alicia G. Abreu, Lessons From LatCrit: Insiders and Outsiders, All at the Same Time, 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 787 (1999) (discussing author"s dual sense of "insider" and "outsider" positionality within LatCrit conferences); Elvia Arriola, Welcoming the Outsider to an Outsider Conference: Law and the Multiplicities of Self, 2 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 397 (1997) (viewing LatCrit from an outsider/Latina lesbian perspective); Enrique Carrasco, Who Are We?, 19 UCLA Chicano-Latino L. Rev. 331 (1998) (considering the multiple roles or identities of LatCrit scholars); Max J. Castro, Making Pan Latino: Latino Pan-Ethnicity and the Controversial Case of Cubans, 2 Harv. Latino L. Rev . 179 (1997) (discussing the peculiar position of Cubans and Cuban Americans in Latina/o intergroup relations within the United States); Elizabeth M. Iglesias, Human Rights in International Economic Law: Locating Latinas/os in the Linkage Debates , 28 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev . 361 (1997) (reflecting on intra-Latina/o divisions based on differing degrees of cultural assimilation, nationalist ideologies, as well as race, class and gender hierarchies and the implications of such "difference" for progressive law reform initiatives); Kevin R. Johnson, Some Thoughts on the Future of Latino Legal Scholarship , 2 Harv. Latino L. Rev . 101 (1997) (reflecting on Chicana/o, Puerto Rican, and Cuban differences); Victoria Ortiz & Jennifer Elrod, Reflections on LatCrit III: Finding "Family", 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 1257 (1999) (discussing the role of "safe spaces" from community building within the legal academy in the face of "differences" that affect both the academy as well as society at large); Guadalupe T. Luna, "La Causa Chicana" and Communicative Praxis, 78 Denv. U. L. Rev. 553 (2001) (theorizing relationship between Chicana/o studies and LatCrit theory and our community-building praxis); Ediberto Roman, Common Ground: Perspectives on Latina-Latino Diversities , 2 Harv. Latino L. Rev . 483, (1997) (elaborating commonalities upon which Latinas/os may build a sense of constructive collectivity). This original emphasis has evolved into institution-building. See, e.g. , Elizabeth M. Iglesias & Francisco Valdes, Afterword- LatCrit at Five: Insitutionalizing a Postsubordination Future , 78 Denver U. L. Rev. 1249 (2001) (describing ongoing institution-building efforts). It is no coincidence, then, that community-building through theory and praxis is one of the LatCrit guideposts. See infra note 6.
6 The four functions of LatCrit theory (and similar efforts) posited early on are: (1) the production of knowledge; (2) the advancement of social transformation; (3) the expansion and connection of antisubordination struggles; and (4) the cultivation of community and coalition, both within and beyond the confines of legal academia in the United States. For further discussion of these four functions and their relationship to LatCrit theory, see Francisco Valdes, Foreword- Under Construction: LatCrit Consciousness, Community and Theory , 85 Cal. L. Rev. 1087, 1093-94 (1997) [hereinafter Under Construction ].
The seven guideposts accompanying these four functions are: (1) Recognize and Accept the Political Nature of Legal "Scholarship" Despite Contrary Pressures; (2) Conceive Ourselves as Activist Scholars Committed to Praxis to Maximize Social Relevance; (3) Build Intra-Latina/o Communities and Inter-Group Coalitions to Promote Justice Struggles; (4) Find Commonalities While Respecting Differences to Chart Social Transformation; (5) Learn from Outsider Jurisprudence to Orient and Develop LatCrit Theory and Praxis; (6) Ensure a Continual Engagement of Self-Critique to Stay Principled and Grounded; (7) Balance Specificity and Generality in LatCritical Analysis to Ensure Multidimensionality. For an early assessment of LatCrit "guideposts" as reflected in the proceedings of the First Annual LatCrit Conference, see Valdes, Poised at the Cusp, supra note 2 at 52-59.
These guideposts (and the functions described earlier) of course are inter-related and, in their operation, interactive. Ideally, they yield synergistic effects. They represent, as a set , the general sense of this project as reflected in the collective writings of the symposium based on the First Annual LatCrit Conference. In addition to the seven guideposts noted above, an eighth was originally presented as a "final observation" based on the preceding seven: "acknowledging the relationship of LatCrit to Critical Race theory" and, in particular, the "intellectual and political debt that LatCrit theorizing owes to Critical Race theorists." Id. at 56-59. As this symposium illustrates, these four functions and seven guideposts have helped LatCrit theorists to mine substantive insights and benefits that deepen, broaden and texture existing understandings of law and policy.
7 Information on the LatCrit Portofolio of Projects and publications, including the full text of the inaugural LatCrit symposium based on the First Annual LatCrit Conference, can be obtained at the LatCrit website . For other LatCrit symposia, including those not based on subsequent conferences or colloquia, see Symposium, LatCrit Theory: Naming and Launching a New Discourse of Critical Legal Scholarship , 2 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 1 (1997) (LATCRIT I); Colloquium, International Law, Human Rights and LatCrit Theory , 28 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev . 177 (1997) (publishing the proceedings of the first LatCrit colloquium focused on international law); Symposium, Difference, Solidarity and Law: Building Latina/o Communities Through LatCrit Theory , 19 Chicano-Latino L. Rev. 1 (1998) (LATCRIT II); Symposium, Comparative Latinas/os: Identity, Law and Policy in LatCrit Theory , 53 U. Miami L. Rev. 575 (1999) (LATCRIT III); Symposium, Rotating Centers, Expanding Frontiers: LatCrit Theory and Marginal Intersections , 33 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 751 (2000) (LATCRIT IV); Colloquium, Spain, The Americas and Latino/as: International and Comparative Law in Triangular Perspective , 9 U. Miami Int"l. & Comp. L. Rev. 1 (2000-01) (publishing the proceedings of the first and second colloquia held in Malaga, Spain on LatCrit theory and international and comparative law); Symposium, Class in LatCrit: Theory and Praxis in a World of Economic Inequality , 78 Denv. U. L. Rev. 467 (2001) (LATCRIT V); Symposium, Latinas/os and the Americas: Centering North-South Frameworks in LatCrit Theory , 55 Fla. L. Rev . 1 (2003), 54 Rutgers L. Rev. (forthcoming 2002) (LATCRIT VI); Symposium, Coalitional Theory and Praxis: Social Justice Movements and LatCrit Community , 13 La Raza L.J. 113 ( 2002), 81 U. Or. L. Rev . (forthcoming 2003) (LATCRIT VII). In addition, two joint symposia have been published during this time. See Joint Symposium, LatCrit Theory: Latinas/os and the Law, 85 Cal. L. Rev. 1087 (1997), 10 La Raza L.J. 1 (1998); Joint Symposium, Culture, Language, Sexuality and Law: LatCrit Theory and the Construction of the Nation , 5 Mich. J. Race & L. 787, 33 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 203 (2000).
8 Multidimensional and coalitional analysis, designed to unpack the many dimensions of interlocking systems of subordination and provide platforms for collective resistance to them is part of this ongoing effort. This type of analysis, of course, is rooted in the early insights of critical outsider jurisprudence regarding law and identity, including the pathbreaking concepts of multiplicity, antiessentialsim and intersectionality. See, e.g., KimberlÉ Crenshaw, Mapping the Margins: Intersectionality, Identity Politics, and Violence Against Women of Color, 43 Stan. L. Rev . 1241 (1991); Angela P. Harris, Race and Essentialism in Feminist Legal Theory, 42 Stan. L. Rev. 581 (1990); Mari J. Matsuda, When the First Quail Calls: Multiple Consciousness as Jurisprudential Method, 11 Women"s Rts. L. Rep. 7 (1989); see also KimberlÉ Crenshaw, Demarginalizing the Intersection of Race and Sex: A Black Feminist Critique of Antidiscrimination Doctrine, Feminist Theory and Antiracist Politics , 1989 U. Chi. Legal F. 139. Various RaceCrit and LatCrit scholars have continued to develop concepts and tools of critical legal theory to build on these foundational concepts, striving progressively to better capture the dynamics of "identity politics" in law and society. See, e.g., e. christi cunningham, The Rise of Identity Politics I: The Myth of the Protected Class in Title VII Disparate Treatment Cases, 30 U. Conn. L. Rev. 441 (1998) (on wholism); Berta Hernandez-Truyol, Building Bridges - Latinas and Latinos at the Crossroads: Realities, Rhetoric and Replacement, 25 Colum. Hum. Rts. L. Rev. 369 (1991) (on multidimensionality); Darren Lenard Hutchinson, Out Yet Unseen: A Racial Critique of Gay and Lesbian Legal Theory and Political Discourse , 29 U. Conn. L. Rev. 561 (1997) (on multidimensionality); Peter Kwan, Jeffrey Dahmer and the Cosynthesis of Categories, 48 Hastings L.J. 1257 (1997) (on cosynthesis); Francisco Valdes, Sex and Race in Queer Legal Culture: Ruminations on Identities and Inter-Connectivities, 5 S. Cal. Rev. L. & Women"s Stud. 25 (1995) (on interconnectivity); see generally Charles R. Lawrence III, Foreword- Race, Multiculturalism and the Jurisprudence of Transformation, 47 Stan. L. Rev. 819, 834-35 (1995) (urging greater efforts along these lines to promote multifaceted projects of social transformation).
9 These lines of LatCritical inquiry overlap because they flow from the same set of historical and structural facts: the Latina/o "presence" in the lands now known as the United States is due principally to American expansionism and imperialism; the Mexican, Puerto Rican and other Latinas/o communities now in the United States originally did not cross any borders to arrive or migrate here - the border crossed them, thereby initiating the dynamics of today. See, e.g., Rodolfo Acuna, Occupied America ( 3d ed., 1988 ) ( assessing Chicana/oc communities as internal colonies); Gilbert Paul Carrasco, Latinos in the United States: Invitation and Exile , in Immigrants Out! The New Nativism and the Anti-Immigrant Impulse 190 (Jean F. Perea ed., 1997) (reviewing history of United States labor policies designed to attract Latina/o migrant workers, who then are not only exploited and maltreated but also disdained as "illegal immigrants"); Gerald P. Lopez, Undocumented Mexican Migration: In Search of a Just Immigration Law and Policy, 28 UCLA L. Rev. 615 (1981) (evaluating the structural dis/incentives to immigration from Mexico to the United States); Marifeli Perez-Stable, The Cuban Revolution: Origins, Course, Legacy 14-60 (2d ed. 1999) (outlining the "mediated sovereignty" of Cuba under the tutelage of the United States following its "independence" from Spain after the conclusion of the Spanish-American War in 1898); Maria de los Angeles Torres, In the Land of Mirrors: Cuban Exile Politics in the United States 74-83 (1999); Ediberto Roman, Empire Forgotten: The United States" Colonization of Puerto Rico, 42 Vill. L. Rev. 1119 (1997) (critiquing the colonial position of Puerto Rico as a "commonwealth of the United States, also resulting from the conclusion of the Spanish-American War in 1898); see also Symposium, Understanding the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo on Its 150th Anniversary , 5 S.W.J.L. & Trade Am. 1 (1998). American adventurism and interventionism throughout the Americas under policy imperatives such as the Monroe Doctrine and the Cold War similarly has catalyzed Latinas/os" presence in the United States - it is no coincidence that Latina/o groups in the United States hail mostly from the places in which the United States has most interfered, such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Nicaragua, Guatemala, the Dominican Republic and El Salvador. See generally Arlene M. Davila, Sponsored Identities: Cultural Politics in Puerto Rico (1997); Walter LaFeber, Inevitable Revolutions: The United States in Central America (2d ed. 1993); The Puerto Rican Movement: Voices from the Diaspora (Andres Torres & Jose E. Velazques eds., 1998) ; The Dominican Americans (Silvio Torres-Saillant & Ramona Hernandez eds., 1998): s ee also generally Rubin Francis Weston, Racism in U.S. Imperialism (1972) (providing a comprehensive account of U.S. imperialism and white supremacy, and illustrating how the areas targeted by those imperialist ventures now are the sources of today"s immigrant communities, including Cuba, Puerto Rico, Hispaniola, the Phillipines and other areas in and beyond the Americas).
10 Because the "OutCrit" denomination is an effort to conceptualize and operationalize the social justice analyses and struggles of varied and overlapping yet "different" subordinated groups in an interconnective way, "OutCrit" refers (at least initially) to those scholars who identify and align themselves with outgroups in this country, as well as globally, including most notably those who in recent times have launched lines of critical inquiry within legal culture, including critical legal studies. Thus, while "outsider jurisprudence" may be, but is not always nor necessarily, "critical" in perspective, the OutCrit stance is, by definition, critical in nature. OutCrit positionality, then, is framed around the need to critique and combat, in collective and coordinated ways, the mutually-reinforcing systems of subordination and domination that construct both outgroups and ingroups. For further discussion of this designation, see Francisco Valdes, Outsider Scholars, Legal Theory and OutCrit Perspectivity: Postsubordination Vision as Jurisprudential Method, 49 DePaul L. Rev. 831 (2000) (hereinafter Postsubordination Vision) .
11 In addition to multidimensional and coalitional work, our collective record to date - principally in the form of our published symposia - demonstrates that LatCrit theorists also have emphasized interdisciplinary and international frames of discourse and action. For a sampling of readings on transnationalism and internationalism in LatCrit theory, see Symposium, International Law, Human Rights and LatCrit Theory, 28 U. Miami Inter-Am. L. Rev . 1 (1996-97); see also Max J. Castro, Democracy in Anti-Subordination Perspective: Local/Global Intersections: An Introduction , 53 U. Miami L. Rev . 863 (1999); Gil Gott, Critical Race Globalism?: Global Political Economy, And The Intersections Of Race, Nation, and Class 33 U.C. Davis L. Rev . 1503 (2000); Ivelaw L. Griffith, Drugs and Democracy in the Caribbean , 53 U. Miami L. Rev . 869 (1999); Sharon K. Hom, Lexicon Dreams and Chinese Rock and Roll: Thoughts on Culture, Language, Translation as Strategies of Resistance and Reconstruction, 53 U. Miami. L. Rev. 1003 (1999); Irwin P. Stotzky, Suppressing the Beast , 53 U. Miami L. Rev . 883 (1999); Ratna Kapur & Tayyab Mahmud, Hegemony, Coercion and Their Teeth-Gritting Harmony: A Commentary on Power, Culture, and Sexuality in Franco"s Spain , 5 Mich. J. Race & L. 995 (2000), 33 U. Mich. J.L. Reform 411 (2000); Tayyab Mahmud, Colonialisim and Modern Constructions of Race: A Preliminary Inquiry , 53 U. Miami L. Rev . 1219 (1999); Mario Martinez , Property as an Instrument of Power in Nicaragua , 53 U. Miami L. Rev . 907 (1999); Julie Mertus, Mapping Civil Society Transplants: A Preliminary Comparison of Eastern Europe and Latin America , 53 U. Miami L. Rev . 921 (1999); Ediberto Roman, Reconstructing Self-Determination: The Role of Critical Theory in Positivist International Law Paradigm , 53 U. Miami L. Rev . 943 (1999); Ediberto Roman, A Race Approach To International Law (Rail): Is There A Need For Yet Another Critique Of International Law? 33 U.C. Davis L. Rev . 1519 (2000); Berta Esperanza Hernandez-Truyol, Building Bridges: Bringing International Human Rights Home , 9 L a Raza L. J. 69 (1996); Ediberto Roman, A Race Approach To International Law (Rail): Is There A Need For Yet Another Critique Of International Law? 33 U.C. Davis L. Rev . 1519 (2000).
12 The challenge grows as we begin to broach inter-generational levels of expansion and inclusion, as reflected in the various student oriented programs in the LatCrit Portfolio of Projects, including the Student Scholar Program, the Community Development Externship Network, the Critical Global Classroom and the Cyber Classroom. For more information on LatCrit student projects, visit the LatCrit website .
13 This expansion is managed, in part, through programmatic initiatives that respond to specific aspirations or needs of individuals within the LatCrit community. See id. (for information of LatCrit projects and plans).
14 This ongoing effort is reflected both in the body of written texts produced through LatCrit conferences, colloquia and the like, see supra note 7 and sources cited therein, as well as in the Portfolio of Projects geared to faculty, students or both. See .
15 By "critical coalitions" I mean alliances based on a thoughtful and reciprocal interest in the goal(s) or purpose(s) of the coalition. A "critical" coalition - unlike strategic forms collaboration - is the sort of collaborative project that results from a careful and caring commitment to the substantive reason(s) for it, and that produces on all sides a reformatory agenda and cooperative dynamic that reflects this mutual commitment. See Valdes, Postsubordination Vision, supra note 10, at 835-38 (elaborating critical coalitions). For further discussion of this concept, see Julie A. Su & Eric K. Yamamoto, Critical Coalitions: Theory and Praxis, in Crossroads, Directions and a New Critical Race Theory 379 (Francisco Valdes, Jerome McCristal Culp & Angela P. Harris eds. 2002); see also Mari J. Matsuda, Beside My Sister, Facing the Enemy: Legal Theory Out of Coalition , 43 Stan. L. Rev. 1183, 1189 (1991) (urging antisubordination analyses to "ask the other question" as a means of theorizing across single-axis group boundaries). Related to community-building, this concern over inter-group relations and collaborations has been a consistently important theme in outsider jurisprudence, including LatCrit theory. See, e.g., Johnson, Some Thoughts on the Future of Latina/o Legal Scholarship, supra note 5, at 117-143 (discussing the challenges facing LatCrit theory); George A. Martinez, African-Americans, Latinos and the Construction of Race: Toward an Epistemic Coalition, 19 Chicano-Latino L. Rev . 213 (1998) (urging Latinas/os, Blacks and other groups of color to coalesce around "race" and our collective, cumulative knowledge of white supremacy); Roman, supra note 5, at 483-84 (urging Latinas/os to focus on our similarities rather than our differences as a way of promoting intra-group justice and solidarity); Eric K. Yamamoto, Conflict and Complicity: Justice Among Communities of Color , 2 Harv. Latino L. Rev. 495 (1997) (analyzing inter-group grievances and relations among groups of color); see also supra notes 3-5 and sources cited therein on community-building and coalition-building in the face of "difference" and diversity.
16 See Valdes, Under Construction, supra note 6.
17 See supra notes 1-10 and accompanying text.
18 See supra notes 11-15 and accompanying text.