Periphērica is a journal devoted to publishing in-depth research on the literary, social, and cultural histories of Latino-América and the Iberian peninsula. Latino-América is here understood from a hemispheric perspective seeking to defy and challenge the disciplinary barriers imposed both by modern nation-states - their borders and cultural mappings - and the competing categories of Latin American and Latino Studies, which are increasingly obsolete. Our journal questions the nation-based disciplinary categories of Hispanisms and Cold War Latin Americanisms with their entrenched imperial designs over the American hemisphere. Its title, in Latinized Greek, seeks to evoke both the origin of Latinitas as a violent expansive cultural construct with its center as well as its barbaric others - its imagined peripheries. It is from the contentious, marginal, peripheral spaces that critically question the hegemonic impulse of empire at work within culture that our journal seeks to operate and generate new knowledges.
The Pacific Northwest where the journal is incepted was once conceived as the last and ultimate periphery of several empires, including the British, Russian, Spanish, and of course the U.S. continental empire, all of which sought to locate their colonial enclaves, over-impose their cartographies and toponymies over indigenous territories as they encroached onto their lands, and over time exterminated hundreds of thousands of human beings, erasing their languages and cultural traditions. In recognition of the sheer colonial savagery at the points of origin of Latin/Hispanic/Iberian cultures, but also of all forms of "Americanism", in as much as the term echoes the exploratory, cartographic impulse of empire, still latent within all these labels, that our journal seeks to explore peripheral modes of looking at and thinking about literary and cultural histories.
Periphērica is born in the spring of 2016 as a result of the increased collaboration between researchers and institutions throughout the Pacific Northwest working on Latino-América and the cultures of Iberia. Over seventy-five scholars converged at Reed College in April of 2016 to take part in the first conference of LALISA (http://www.lalisa.org), a scholarly organization that "aims to share research, resources, and opportunities in these areas of study and to foster productive professional relationships and exchanges". In this exciting context, a group of LALISA founding members decided to promote the idea of a new open-access electronic journal that would serve as a means to generate new discussions and debates as well as to configure a new space for academic discussion and the production of knowledge about the Americas and the Iberian peninsula.