LatCrit: From Critical Legal Legal Theory to Academic Activism

Francisco Valdes and Steven W. Bender (New York University Press, 2021)

Emerging from the US legal academy in 1995, LatCrit theory is a genre of critical outsider jurisprudence—a vital hub of contemporary scholarship that includes Feminist Legal Theory and Critical Race Theory, among other critical schools of legal knowledge. Its basic goals have been: (1) to develop a critical, activist, and inter-disciplinary discourse on law and society affecting Latinas/os/x, and (2) to foster both the development of coalitional theory and practice as well as the accessibility of this knowledge to agents of social and legal transformative change.

This slim volume tells the story of LatCrit’s growth and influence as a scholarly and activist community. Francisco Valdes and Steven W. Bender offer a living example of how critical outsider academics can organize long-term collective action, both in law and society, that will help those similarly inclined to better organize themselves. Part roadmap, part historical record, and part a path forward, LatCrit: From Critical Legal Theory to Academic Activism shows that with coalition, collaboration, and community, social transformation can
take root.


A must-read. Whether you have never read LatCrit literature or are an aficionado, there is much to savor in its transnational and multidimensional approach. The book reflects and celebrates LatCrit’s twenty-five-year commitment to theory, community, pedagogy, and praxis, reinforcing the importance of community building and intellectual evolution. ~Adrien K. Wing, Associate Dean and Bessie Dutton Murray Professor at the University of Iowa College of Law

Many have been waiting for just such a comprehensive history of the emergence and flourishing of LatCrit. Built into the legal writings is the collective development of an intellectual movement spurring academic activism. ~Mary Romero, Professor Emerita in Justice & Social Inquiry, Arizona State University

Valdes and Bender have performed an amazing service; not only have they summarized and amplified the mission of Critical Race Theory in its expression as LatCrit, but they have provided access to a methodology of grounded and engaged scholarship. This is significant work. ~Gerald Torres, Professor of Environmental Justice, Yale School of the Environment and Yale Law School

To Order a Copy (all author royalties go to LatCrit):

Earlier versions of the 2021 LatCrit Primer were developed early on to help folks interested in LatCrit theory to become acquainted with our works, projects, plans and hopes. The initial Volume 1 of this Primer assembled selections from among the five LatCrit Symposia/Colloquia that had been published in law journals at the time of the planning process for LatCrit IV. Those journals include: La Raza Law Journal, which published proceedings of the initial gathering in Puerto Rico that launched the LatCrit project; the University of Miami Inter-American Law Review, which published the first symposium ever to examine international law and international human rights from a specifically RaceCritical/LatCritical perspective; the Harvard Latino Law Review, which published the articles and essays emerging from the LatCrit I Conference in La Jolla; the California Law Review/La Raza Law Journal, which produced the first standalone volume of LatCrit Scholarship (separate and apart from the LatCrit Annual Conferences) in a major mainstream law review, and the UCLA Chicano-Latino Law Review, which published articles and essays emerging from the LatCrit II Conference in San Antonio. Volume I of the Primer was assembled by Roberto Corrada of the University of Denver College during the planning process for LatCrit IV.

The second Volume of LatCrit scholarship was compiled specifically for the purpose of introducing LatCrit conference participants to the evolving body of LatCrit theory and discourse. This second volume of the Primer was assembled in preparation for the LatCrit VI conference and reflects the editorial selections of Elizabeth Iglesias, Kevin Johnson and Frank Valdes, as well as the logistical support of Pedro Malavet at the University of Florida College of Law and of the support staff of the University of Miami Center for Hispanic and Caribbean Legal Studies. Neither Volume purports to define the parameters of LatCrit theory or discourse, but rather seeks only to reflect some of the major currents that were evolving in LatCrit scholarship during the first five years of the LatCrit project. The second Volume includes articles from the LatCrit symposia in journals including: the University of Miami Law Review Symposium, which published the articles and essays of the LatCrit III Conference in Miami Beach; the University of California at Davis Law Review Symposium, which published the articles and essays of the LatCrit IV Conference in California, as well as the Michigan Journal of Law Reform/Michigan Journal of Race and the Law which produced the second standalone volume of LatCrit scholarship – a symposium, which focused specifically on introducing interdisciplinary
scholarship and centering questions of culture, nation and power in LatCrit discourse.

The third Volume of the LatCrit Primer provided a historical overview of the development of LatCrit legal theory by publishing the Forewords and Afterwords of the various LatCrit Symposia. This volume reflects the growth of the LatCrit theory through the participation of an expanding number of international and interdisciplinary scholars. This Primer also provides a glimpse of content of each symposium.