RUPTURES, CONTINUITIES AND RE-LEARNING:
THE CIVIC AND POLITICAL PARTICIPATION OF LATIN AMERICAN-CANADIANS
Deadline: May 16, 2005
“Citizen Participation and Political Learnings
of Latin American Immigrants in Canada”, a research
effort that brings together faculty and students from
the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the
University of Toronto (OISE/UT) and the Université du
Québec à Montréal (UQAM).
de Estudios sobre Latinoamericanos en Canadá,
American Research, Education and Development (LARED)
Congreso Hispano Canadiense
Para la Gente de Habla Hispana
Grupo Mujer www.mujer.ca
Revista Cultural Mapale,
American Coalition Against Racism (LACAR)
American Women Feminist Collective Centro Cultural
Voces Latinas (AM 1610)
for Migrant Workers (JxMW)
El Correo Canadiense,
Centre for Research on Latin America and the Caribbean,
Learning Centre, OISE/UT
In Latin America citizen participation in political,
civic and community affairs plays an important role
in the daily lives of many people. When immigrating
to Canada, Latin Americans experience significant changes
in civic and political participation. For example,
there are cases of immigrants who, having had a high
level of political participation in their country of
origin, lose interest in politics, abandon all types
of public participation, and retreat to private life.
Sometimes the opposite occurs. For instance some that
did not participate in political or civic affairs in
their country of origin, become interested and involved
in civic life in Canada.
Likewise, there are examples of continuity, in which
both the type and level of political participation
remains the same (though with certain adaptations),
in spite of important changes experienced in other
areas as a result of immigration. In general, in the
cases of rupture as well as in those of continuity,
the immigration process requires re-learning certain
aspects of citizen participation, political involvement,
and the way in which we relate to others in community
In this call we invite everyone (not only those of
Latin American origin) who would like to express their
opinions and experiences about these issues. We encourage
people to communicate their ideas and feelings through
different means. The call includes eight categories:
Essay, Life Story, Short Story, Opinion Column, Journalistic
Article, Poetry, Theatre or Radio-Theatre Script and
For the purpose of this initiative we define political
participation in a broad sense, including not only
electoral politics but also any kind of citizen participation
that has a special meaning for Latin American Canadians.
These include, but are not limited to, participation
in women’s Latin American groups, schools, the
church, neighborhood, or community gardens. It might
also be participation in environmentalist or international
solidarity organizations, in an organization that supports
grassroots movements in a Latin American country, or
in a group that protects immigrants’ rights.
It could also be about participation in a political
party in Canada or in the home country. In those cases
in which there is a change in the level of participation,
causes and impacts of these changes can also be explored.
In any case, the theme opens up innumerable possibilities.
In addressing these issues, participants may consider
some of the following questions:
How are the political and civic participation of Latin
Americans in Latin America different from that of Latin
Americans in Canada? How are they similar?
How do Latin Americans participate civically and politically
What are the differences within the Latin American
community regarding the ways and levels of participation?
Why do some Latin Americans prefer participating in
community groups, while others prefer doing so in settlement
agencies, international solidarity movements, and political
Why do many Latin Americans who used to have a high
level of political interest and participation in their
home countries reduce considerably those levels when
coming to Canada?
Why do many Latin Americans who used to have a low
level of political interest and participation in their
home countries increase considerably those levels when
coming to Canada?
Why do some Latin Americans manage to participate with
the same level, interest and intensity as before?
What are the barriers for our participation in our
home countries and in Canada? What factors encourage
us to participate? How important is the issue of language?
What is the meaning of immigrant citizen participation
within the Canadian context of multiculturalism?
What is the impact of the dual identity (Latin American – Canadian)
in the civic and political participation? How does
identity complicate and enrich civic participation?
Does Canadian citizenship represent any change in the
type and level of participation when obtained?
What is the impact of the experience of political participation
in Latin America (successes, failures, joys and traumatic
experiences) in the civic and political participation
To which extent do information and communication technologies
Internet) facilitate the civic participation at local
and international levels?
What are the causes and effects of the low level of
representation of the Latin American community in Canada?
What are the challenges for the new generations of
Latin American Canadians?
What recommendations could be made to improve the level
of Latin Americans’ civic and political participation
What is the role of education in this process?
The intention of this call is to promote a space of
reflection, free expression and communication on the
political dimension of the migratory experience that
is not limited to the academic world. In the words
of Luis D'Elia, Latin American-Canadian resident in
Edmonton and member of Amnesty International, "this
process itself is an opportunity to engage in a transformative
learning experience since reflecting on our own experiences,
attitudes and perceptions will make us aware of our
relationship with dominant powers and interests. It
will also help us to become dwells conscious of our
socio-political commitments and ideals before and after
We hope that this initiative will allow for the sharing
of satisfactions and frustrations lived by Latin American
immigrants during their citizen and political participation
experiences in Canada. Also, we expect contributions
that will help identify outstanding cases (e.g. somebody
who stood out as a community leader, somebody who held
an elective position at local, provincial or federal
levels, a group that managed to organize a successful
Contributions selected by the jury will be published
in a book edited by the Transformative Learning Centre
of the University of Toronto, and in a special number
of the Mapalé magazine. An electronic version
of these contributions will also be generated and will
form part of RELAC’s digital library. Contributions
will be disseminated through community newspapers and
radio programs. Selected works will be recognized in
a public event to be held in Toronto in September,
1. Contributions can be submitted in either Spanish,
English, French or Portuguese.
2. The deadline to receive contributions is May 16,
3. Contributions can be submitted by an individual
or a group.
4. Opinion columns must have between 500 and 1,000
5. Journalistic articles must have between 1500 and
6. Essays, short stories and life stories must have
a minimum extension of 2000 words and a maximum extension
of 4000 words. Poems should have a maximum extension
of 50 lines.
7. Theater and radio-theatre scripts must have a maximum
performance time of one hour.
8. Photographs can be in black and white or colour,
digital format, and must have a minimum of 300 DPI.
9. Life stories can be autobiographical or not, and
can describe individual or collective histories.
10. Contributions must be signed with a pseudonym
and sent by e-mail to email@example.com, indicating
in the title of the message the pseudonym of the author
and the category in which it participates. In a second
message, the title of the work, the name of the author
or authors, e-mail, telephone and mailing address should
be indicated for contact purposes. Only the organizing
committee will have access to this
11. The members of the jury will not have access to
the names of the participants until a decision has
been made, and will not maintain any type of contact
with the participants.
12. Each participant can send only one contribution
per category. It is possible to submit contributions
to several categories.
13. Both unpublished and published works will be accepted.
14. This call is open to all people who are willing
to participate, without any restrictions such as age,
nationality, birthplace, migratory status, place of
residence, etc. However, members of the coordinating
team are excluded from participating.
15. Awards will be announced on July 30, 2005.
16. Participation in this project implies the acceptance
of these conditions.
University of Toronto (OISE/UT): Daniel Schugurensky
(coordinator), Jorge Arcila, Martha Barriga, Jessica
Bleuer, Mónica Escobar, Evelyn Encalada, Jorge
Ginieniewicz, Aitana Guia, Yina Rivera, Fernando Rouaux,
Vannina Sztainbok, Gisela Vanzaghi.
Université du Québec à Montréal
(UQAM): Víctor Armony (coordinador), Elena Bessa,
Viviana Fridman, Carolina Iacovino, Rosa Amelia Maltez,
Jorge Lazo, Melina Serangelo, Carlos Torres.
For a Spanish version of this call, visit http://home.oise.utoronto.ca/~lared
Neyda H. Long, PhD
Department of Cultures and Languages Studies Renaissance
College Secretary-Treasurer, Citizenship Education
Research Network (CERN) Research Associate for the "Atlantic
Human Rights Center"
Phone: 506- 452 9322