Where Is the Geography? The Geographical Predicaments of the Panethnic Terms Hispanic and Latino

Abstract / Resumen / Resumo


In this article I outline the geographical and political problems associated with the terms, “Hispanic/Latino.” To this end, I offer a four-tiered framework to help address these problems. Ultimately, I illustrate how the (mis)perceptions of Latin American populations stemming from these terms are deeply ingrained in academic and political imageries. I discuss how these panethnic terms relate to a geographical predicament, and claim that the myopic perpetuation within academia, feeds itself as much as it feeds U.S. policies. A plea is made here for the demythologization of a continent that is viewed as exclusively Spanish-speaking with an exclusive colonial heritage tied to Spain, and, show how these perceptions sustain powerful intuitive, yet inaccurate misrepresentations of Latin America. I conclude that it behooves geographers and scholars to re-think, contest, and ultimately revise the interpretation and navigation of the terms, “Hispanic/Latino” as they have been taken for granted. I propose and invite future and new geographies in order to carefully address this predicament.