The January 2020 issue of the Journal of Latin American Geography (JLAG) came on the heels of the successful meeting of its parent organization the Conference of Latin American Geography (CLAG) in Antigua, Guatemala, where we were celebrating 50 years of CLAG. The articles in this issue of JLAG extended discussions that occurred at the CLAG conference and that will inform ongoing transformations of the organization and its journal. Some highlights, for me:
This most recent issue includes an introductory essay by Michael Steinberg about 50 years of CLAG, in which he reflects on the communitarian sensibility that characterizes the organization. He also hints at intellectual developments evident in the journal and in the research agendas of CLAG members that promise to productively trouble the object of “Latin Americanist geography.”
As evidence of this, this issue of the journal includes an essay by Joel Correia on the consequences of the organization’s investment in the North/Latin America binary, and the opportunities for engaged, critical scholarship that may emerge from dismantling that separation.
Also significant is Nikolai Alvarado’s essay promoting urban research by CLAGistas, as members of an organization that has apparently (by Alvarado’s survey of the journal since 1972) embraced a Sauerian anti-urban bias in its vision of Latin America. This essay was the inspiration for organizing a panel at the upcoming meeting of the American Association of Geographers, at which we will extend a discussion of promising directions in Latin American urban geography.
Finally, this issue of JLAG includes an essay by John C. Finn, Martha Bell, Jörn Seemann, Gabriela Valdivia, and Eric Carter (translated into Spanish and Portuguese) in which they introduce a new section of the journal, “JLAG in translation.” The authors contextualize their innovation in an epistemological struggle that is structured and constrained in part by the global political economy of academic publishing.