Undocumented Desires: On Day Labor, Sex Work, and Neoliberal Queer Politics

Award-winning author and UCSC alumnus, Richard T. Rodríguez, discusses his forthcoming book on queer Latino representation in visual culture and literature and the politics of social space on Thursday, October 23, 2014, 4:00-6:00pm, in the Charles E. Merrill Lounge.

September 22, 2014


In this talk, Professor Rodríguez focuses on the work of the Los Angeles-based artist John Sonsini, whose classically inspired paintings of Latino migrant workers have excited a great deal of attention from art critics, even as his method of recruiting subjects for his portraits has come under fire:  the artist pays them a going day-labor wage to sit for him.  The talk is drawn from Professor Rodríguez's new book in progress, Fantasizing Latinos: Sexuality, Space, and the Politics of Latino Male Representation, which is concerned with the sexual, political, and economic demands for Latino men in contemporary American culture.  Drawing from a number of critical trajectories, the book closely and critically assesses Latino male representation in the interrelated contexts of labor, media, literature, and social space.

Richard T. Rodriguez HeadshotRichard T. Rodríguez is Associate Professor of English and Latina/Latino Studies at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he is also affiliated with the Department of Gender and Women's Studies and the Unit for Criticism and Interpretive Theory.  He received his BA in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and his PhD in History of Consciousness from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  His research, teaching, and writing are grounded in Latina/o cultural studies, literary and film studies, and queer theory.  The author of numerous articles and reviews, his book, Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics (Duke University Press, 2009), won the 2011 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies Book Award.  Recently named a Conrad Humanities Scholar, a designation supporting the work of promising associate professors in the humanities within the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at Illinois, he is currently writing a book on queer Latino representation in visual culture and literature and the politics of social space.

The Chicano Latino Research Center is proud to cosponsor this free, public lecture with the Center for Labor Studies, Feminist Studies Department, History of Art and Visual Culture Department, Institute for Humanities Research, and Literature Department.