Inspired by Jesús Colón's A Puerto Rican in New York and Other Sketches, the introduction highlights the role that history, memoir, and autobiographical fiction invariably play in most empirically sound and theoretically sophisticated Latinx humanistic social sciences. The open-endedness of Colón’s “sketches”—their critical pedagogical aspect and how they lend themselves to pointed yet fluid discussions—drives our approach to the humanistic social sciences in Latinx/a/o studies in the form of critical diálogos. For Colón, sketches were intended to bequeath a historical record and tradition and to provide a tool for critical consciousness-raising. For us, the editors, Colón’s deployment of the sketch serves as a template for how to approach our proposition of critical diálogos in this anthology. Our central concern in Critical Dialogues is not merely to document or do a genealogy of Latinx/a/o studies as an academic field, but to stretch its points of reference and contributions. We continue Colón’s tradition of studying Latinx/a/o populations beyond an exclusive US framework and at the intersection of a Latin American, Caribbean, US empire, global, international, and transnational optics. What we articulate in this volume is an approach to Latinx/a/o Studies that actively and continuously works towards a dialogue-based, multidirectional analysis.
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