Introduction
Many of the contributors to this volume have at some point or another
participated in, or even organized, panels on some aspect of queer schol-
arship related to Hispanic cultures. The mid- to late eighties were the
heady days of the Lesbian and Gay Conferences at Yale, when we had
panels with tides ranging from the academic dowdy ("Lesbian and Gay
Literature in Latin America") to-as we got more brassy-the flamboyant:
"Readers on the Verge of a Textual Breakdown:' The question that lurked
in the back of our minds was why we were having those panels in the first
place, but in the thrill of what for many of us amounted to an academic
coming out, the question more often than not went unanswered. Besides a
random conjunction of more or less anecdotal facts-that many of us,
panelists and audience, were queer, that the organizers and speakers were
often Spanish, Latin Americans, or Latinos, that all of us taught Spanish or
Latin American literatures and wrote about those literatures-was there
anything, we asked ourselves, that justified the conjunction of nationality
and homosexuality in specifically Hispanic terms? Were we really reflect-
ing on an intersection that would further our intellectual practices, or
were we creating a culture-specific space to which we could repair and into
which we could fit queries that did not quite conform to hegemonic
cultural formations and, within those formations, to constructions of
sexualities that did not quite suit us? And who were "we;' to begin with?
That these questions went unanswered-that they may always go unan-
swered-does not preclude their being asked yet once again.
If the gesture that these Hispanic panels had in common was an aca-
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