Today we’re celebrating the fabulous collection Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture, edited by
In our dystopian present it is all the more imperative that we not only work together toward liberation in the present and toward a future for Latinxs, but also that we closely attend to instances in which the term “Latinx” is used but fails to represent a diversity of Latinxs. To that end, this cluster is in conversation with the foundational anthology Altermundos: Latin@ Speculative Literature, Film, and Popular Culture (2017). While Altermundos is a ground-breaking work that crucially expands the scholarship on speculative fiction, the anthology, as cluster contributor Maia Gil’Adí pointed out to me one day, is also dominated by Chicanx authors and neglects to include other Latinx voices in the discussion of Latinx speculative fiction. I confess that, as a Chicana, I had not noticed the Chicanx focus of the anthology; the ability to not notice, of course, is already a sign of privilege. Moments like these render visible how specific Latinx identities can become subsumed under the general framework of Latinx, especially when, as in the case of the anthology, Latinx does not appropriately name the peoples and cultural productions in question. If we are going to use the term Latinx, then it is imperative that the work we are describing is Latinx, rather than Chicanx under a presumably more inclusive term. While Chicanx imaginaries have done much to imagine more liberatory futures, as Rosaura Sánchez and Beatrice Pita’s Lunar Braceros: 2125-2148 demonstrates by reviving a hemispheric history of revolution, we must take seriously the imaginaries that a more broadly inclusive Latinx framework allows.
The increasing use of Latinx over Latina/o or Latin@ exemplifies such an inclusive, expansive latinidad as it foregrounds queerness in its formation. While merely changing department names to “Latinx Studies” is a misnomer for departments that do not offer gender and sexuality for frames of thinking about latinidad, “Latinx” highlights the speculative possibilities of latinidad. It may not describe our present, but it can describe a future we can work towards. The “x” invites speculation. Alan Pelaez Lopez’s argument that the x is “a scar that exposes four wounds signified by each corner of the ‘X’” which are “settlement, anti-Blackness, femicides, and inarticulation” is a speculative one that asks us to reinscribe historical specificity onto the x, effectively mapping this history onto the gender inclusivity initially marked by the x.