1 March 2021

Dear Everyone:

My first note of this message is an offering of thanks to Sonali Perera for organizing this past Friday’s event, “Where is the Indian in Aztlá​n?”, María Josefina Saldaña-Portillo’s rich and incisive lecture, with brilliant response by Chandan Reddy.  By urging us to consider the exigences for and meaningfulness of efforts to decolonize mestizaje, by insisting we acknowledge indigeneity and refuse and refute obfuscation of its presence, by prompting us to pause around habits of reading and knowledge production, and through all of this, by asking us to consider, are we up to this task? which refers to all of it in its entangled form, Professors Saldaña-Portillo and Reddy provided precisely the kinds of insight and enjoinder that both challenge and inspire! An energizing event in all the best ways.

I’m deliberately trying to hold onto that energy as we move into March. We have a busy month ahead, as we continue the searches for consortial appointments in rhetoric and composition and U.S. Latinx studies, host prospective students day (virtually) for admitted and waitlisted students, celebrate/participate/support what looks to be a fantastic ESA conference coming up, and even welcome the start of spring in a few weeks’ time.  More specifics will follow on all of this.

I can’t quite tell if I’m relieved finally to have reached March, or shocked that we’ve already hurtled our way through this year to March — probably both, and with equal intensity. I’ve been grateful for the things that mark not so much progress but simply still-here-ness: every person I hear of who finally gets vaccinated; each person who finds a landing spot in a house or job or school; each occasion to gather — as at last Friday’s lecture; every time you all show up for a class, a meeting, from the sometimes far flung places we’re distributed just now; each occasion I have to wonder at the amount of food the teenagers with whom I share my home are able to consume and at all hours of day and night…! I’m not trying to encourage solace or optimism — though if those are available and helpful to your still-here-ness, so great — so much as offering a windy-road way of marking time on the scale of the every day, the ordinary rather than the normal, with ample gratitude that you’re still here with me!

Abundant well wishes, as ever —


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