For the 2014 Latin American Studies Association conference, I am Track Chair for International Relations. It's been time consuming but also enjoyable to read through all the paper and panel proposals, which I am not quite done with. I am seeing a few trends about hot topics in academic these days. These are not in rank order:
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
1. U.S.-Cuban relations. It never gets old! It does, however, get tougher to come up with novel angles.
2. Brazil's role in the world. This topic is definitely getting much more attention, and there are all sorts of different ways to approach it--regional, global, United States, etc.
3. China-Latin America relations. Lots of ways to look at this relationship too, which in my opinion for too long was dominated simply by how the U.S. could view it as a security threat.
One thing I don't see much is how Latin America IR generally fits into the broader academic literature on IR. That's too bad. A lot of the panels and papers are great, but a broader theoretical context could both contribute to the literature and provide us a firmer foundation for understanding what's going on in particular cases.