Call for panels

The Norwegian Association of Latin America Studies (NALAS) invites scholars from Norway, the Nordic countries and the rest of the world from a broad range of disciplines and theoretical perspectives to present proposals for panels for the 1st NALAS Conference. The panels will be organized in parallel sessions.




2020 will be recorded in the memories of world history as the year marked by the COVID-19 virus. Its appearance and spread throughout the world have led to a profound reconceptualisation of our ways of perceiving not only public health and biopolitics, but also the economy, democracy and culture, the forms of social interaction and the aesthetic languages we knew until then. The world, since then, has manifested itself as a unit where none of its components is immune to the ups and downs of the whole. But, at the same time, in the face of the imaginaries of universal confraternity, the material and symbolic frontiers have been reaffirmed and have acquired a thickness that seemed to have been overcome since the Fall of the Wall and the end of the Cold War. The whole spectrum of views, from the most apocalyptic to the most optimistic, from those that foresaw an unprecedented spread of authoritarian regimes to those that announced the beginning of a new era free from the violence of world capitalism, has been expressed through the beacon thinkers of our times, from Giorgio Agamben to Judith Butler, David Harvey or Byung-Chul Han.

In Latin America, the COVID-19 pandemic has added further complexities and uncertainties to a scenario marked by a chronic economic crisis and a political instability which, after the fracture of the progressive (“pink”) period, has taken the form of major often youth-led protests in countries all over the continent (particularly in Nicaragua, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and more recently in Peru), the isolation of the Bolivarian Venezuela, the breakdown of constitutional order and the subsequent return of the MAS in Bolivia, and a reactionary turn in Brazil where president Bolsonaro  ignores the public health, the mass unemployment as well as the ongoing destruction of the Amazonas rainforests. The deep economic and legitimacy crisis in Cuba, where the final departure of the historic generation from leadership positions is expected in 2021, should also be included in this panorama, along with violence and natural disasters making life almost untenable in Central America.

A short review of the region’s past, however, shows that gloomy scenarios, even with health crises, have been repeated at different times in history. Infectious and contagious diseases have been a constant in Latin America throughout its history and, in an exemplary manner, since the first colonisers acted as importers of measles and smallpox. In several cases, these diseases even became pandemics that affected large areas of the region. Cholera, yellow fever, influenza, dengue, malaria, hanta, tuberculosis, but also AIDS were and are present in the social, political and demographic reality of the population of Latin America. They can also be found in the every-day language of societies, in their memories and in their literary productions, as in La vorágine (1924), El amor en los tiempos del cólera (1985) or Loco afán: crónicas de sidario (1997).

The 1st NALAS Conference, “Latin America before, during, and after the pandemic” invites to reflect on the concept of pandemic in a broad sense, not least metaphorically. It seeks to recall past experiences and the ways to face them, both from state policies, civil society responses and from the symbolic and aesthetic domain, in order to contrast it with the present and better illuminate the future. We welcome in particular panels that propose both disciplinary and interdisciplinary approaches on this theme.

Although we have chosen the title “Latin America before, during, and after the pandemic” as focus for the plenary sessions at the conference, any proposal related to Latin America research is welcome.

Deadline to submit proposals: March 7, 2021

When the panels are decided, a call for abstracts will be announced.


Panel structure

A panel should comprise a minimum of three and a maximum of five presentations.

A panel should comprise presenters, chair, and convener. The chair and the convener might be the same person. In addition, the panels are encouraged to include a discussant.

A participant can only make one panel presentation at the conference. In addition, (s)he might hold the role as chair/convener/discussant in one additional panel.

The panels may be organized in English, Spanish, or Portuguese. Each panel should be held in one language only.


Requirements for proposals

Panel proposals should include:

·       the title

·       a description of max 250 words

·       names of minimum three presenters and the title of their presentations (abstracts can wait, but might well be sent with the proposal)

·       name of chair and convener (might be the same person)


The chairs would be in charge of selecting the panels and organizing them.

The proposal should be written in the language to be used by the panel.

The proposals should be submitted to by March 7, 2021.

The accepted panels will be published on our website by 31 March 2021, together with the call for individual abstracts. Additional contributors might later be added to the panels, if room for it, from the incoming individual abstracts.

Dear fellow Latinamericanists!


I am excited to write to you as the new President of NALAS, the Norwegian Association of Latin American Studies. As you may know, NALAS was founded on 18 June 2020 to become the national association for scholars who research in and on Latin America. It is an honor to be leading such an important professional association, and I look forward to collaborating with you in promoting Latinamericanism in Norway.


While NALAS is a new organization, it follows a long history of dialogue among and between scholars. However, most importantly, it builds on the previous work of NorLARNet, the Norwegian Latin America Research Network. The importance of the network cannot be underestimated. Led by Benedicte Bull, as Academic Contact Person, and Erik Berge, as Coordinator, NorLARNet carried out since 2008 an outstanding work encouraging the production and dissemination of knowledge about Latin America, past and present, in Norway. NorLARNet organized numerous conferences, seminars, workshops, and public events, making our research visible all over the country and abroad. It provided economic support for a myriad of activities related to Latin America, and it informed us about our colleagues' research projects and publications. Together with NALAS' Executive Board, I seek to continue and strengthen this legacy.


All members of NALAS' Executive Board are now working hard to get the association up and running. We are making a program of activities for the next two years and creating a webpage where we will inform you about the association, recruit members, highlight our activities, and announce upcoming events. We can now announce that we plan to have the first NALAS conference October 2021, and that it will be a hybrid conference (on-site and virtual). As soon as all the bureaucratic, administrative, and technical details are in place, we will write to you with further information about joining the association and participating in our activities.


We hope to see many of you become members of NALAS and take advantage of the association's benefits, including its biannual conference, workshops and seminars, and special interest sections in its web page. These activities will provide you with opportunities for academic growth and for contact with other Latinamericanists in Norway. We also hope that you will contribute with your unique knowledge and experience to the organization. The board is always open to suggestions and new projects from NALAS' members. Do not hesitate to contact us!


The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges in our personal and professional lives. Many things are different, and we have had to make adjustments in our research procedures due to, among other things, new travel regulations and the many closed libraries and archives around the world. There is no model for best practices to guide us, but we must all persist in our academic work, making a case for Latin American studies, publishing the best possible scholarship, and letting the public know the unquestionable value of what we do.


On behalf of NALAS, warm regards,



Kari Soriano Salkjelsvik