Latina/o/x Studies at the University of Iowa is rooted in our mission to offer courses that are steeped in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Latina/o/x Studies at Iowa is informed by faculty, staff, and students’ commitment to develop and offer an intellectual home on campus where Latina/o/x experiences in the United States are centered. During the mid-2000s, faculty from across campus came together in a series of meetings, and in consultation with Latina/o/x students, to develop an interdisciplinary minor in Latina/o/x Studies. The minor was offered for the first time in 2015, and has been successful in offering innovative teaching and experiential learning experiences. As they were building the new minor, University of Iowa faculty partnered with the Obermann Center to build Latina/o/x Studies at Iowa.
The Latina/o/x minor was developed during the 2013 Obermann Summer Seminar, Teaching the Latino Midwest, which was co-directed by English Professor Claire Fox and fellow University of Iowa professors Omar Valerio-Jiménez and Santiago Vaquera-Vásquez (former UI faculty who are now, respectively, at the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of New Mexico). The three UI professors joined forces with Professor Frances Aparacio, who directs the Latina and Latino Studies Program at Northwestern University to edit The Latina/o Midwest Reader, a productive outcome of the Obermann Working group that was published by the University of Illinois Press in June 2017. The book is part of the Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest Book Series, which is edited by Frances Aparicio, Omar Valerio-Jiménez and Sujey Vega. Latina/o/x Studies at Iowa has been, from the start, a place where research and teaching interests are combined in ways to benefit students here at The University of Iowa.