In 2001, the organizers of the Future of Minority Studies national research project organized an intellectual retreat in the Dominican Republic with two aims in mind. Both of these aims had a direct impact on the formation of the Junior Scholars caucus. One aim of the organizers was to change the format of the traditional conference gathering, from a panel presentation format to an intellectual retreat. The goal was to change the model of intellectual exchange, through workshops and reading groups as opposed to panel presentations and to see what might grow from these new forms of interaction. No longer was participation determined solely by needing to present work, but by having come prepared to engage in various forms of facilitated and informal discussions. The primary goal was not to showcase individual work, but to nurture an environment for substantive intellectual exchange. This meant, in great part, inviting a wide range scholars, scholars in various stages of their academic career, to participate. The second aim of the organizers was to secure funds for interested graduate students and junior faculty from all over the country. Previously, FMS conference gathers had mostly tapped into the graduate student and faculty population at the hosting institution. FMS gatherings since Punta Cana have funded students and junior faculty from a variety of institutions. The FMS Junior Scholars Caucus was born out of this retreat and the central role of mentorship within FMS. Formed and organized by graduate students and junior faculty affiliated with FMS, the goals of the forum are the following:

arrowTo provide an informal setting, during our national FMS gatherings, for scholars interested in discussing scholarship that develops realist approaches to minority studies and politics;

arrowTo organize occasional panels foregrounding work-in-progress;

arrowTo encourage conversation among scholars at different stages of their career (including undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty).

In the past, the FMS Junior Scholars Caucus has organized national graduate student conferences at Stanford University and at the University of Michigan. In March '07, the FMS Junior Scholars' Conference was held at University of Madison, Wisconsin. The primary organizers for the FMS Junior Scholars Caucus include:
Ulka Anjaria   Ulka Anjaria is Assistant Professor of English at Brandeis University. Her research interests include South Asian literatures and film, postcolonial literature and theory, narrative theory, the global novel, interdisciplinary approaches, and literary theory.
decoteau   Claire Decoteau is Assistant Professor of Sociology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  Broadly, her research focuses on the social construction of health and disease, health inequalities, and people's grounded experiences with healing ahd health care systems. She is currently working on a book manuscript based on her dissertaiont, entitled Ancestors and Antiretrovirals: The Bio-Politics of HIV/AIDS in Post-Apartheid South Africa.

Ernesto J. Martínez is Assistant Professor of Women’s and Gender Studies, Ethnic Studies, and English at the University of Oregon. He is currently working on a book manuscript, entitled Queers of Color and the Ethics of Social Literacy, which examines the contributions of queer writers of color to contemporary theory. He is also in the process of co-editing, with Michael Hames-García, a volume of gay male Chicano/Latino criticism, entitled Gay Latino Studies: A Critical Reader.

tamiko   Tamiko Nimura is Assistant Professor of English at the
University of Puget Sound. She has published articles and reviews in the areas of Asian American and African American literature, and received a dissertation fellowship from the Ford Foundation. Her current projects include a book manuscript involving contemporary African American/Asian American literatures and coalition politics, as well as a co-edited essay collection about teaching the ethnic literature survey. At Puget Sound she teaches classes in multicultural American literatures, freshman/transfer writing, and food studies.

John Riofrio, "Rio," is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies at The College of William and Mary. He is currently working on a book manuscript which explores how the demographic shift in Latin@ immigration to the U.S. is changing the way we understand Latin@ literary imagination. Rio firmly believes in the power of words and further believes that music and dancing should be an integral part of most, if not all, intellectual exchanges.


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