Conference Highlights


Andrea Sanderson

Plenary, (Thursday, March 30, at 5:00pm)

Andrea Sanderson, San Antonio, TX. Poet Laureate 2020-2023, performs as “Vocab” in her hometown of San Antonio, Texas. “Watching her perform, the word “hero” comes to mind. And not “hero” for the sake of just skill, but for her work in her community: Sanderson teaches poetry workshops, mentors, builds up and encourages artists to pursue their art, and gives them platforms to showcase their talent.

Norma Elia Cantú 

ALL CONFERENCE LUNCHEON, (Saturday, April 1, at 12:50pm; Pre-registration Required)

Born in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas and raised in Laredo, Texas, I am intimately bound to the US-Mexico border region. As a scholar, I focus on issues of borders and boundaries whether in academic disciplines or the geopolitical borderlands of Mexico and the United States, all through a Chicana feminist theoretical lens. I write poetry and prose, what I call creative autobioethnography, also with a focus on the borderlands and heavily rooted in the cultural traditions of the region. My life formation as a working-class Chicana shapes my intellectual and aesthetic endeavors and impels me to act to deconstruct the oppressive structures that exist in society. I passionately believe that words have power and that literature has the potential to create the change we need. I work with my students to use the power of their stories and their words to create a better world for all sentient beings.

Image Credit: Sara Blanco

Elaine Ayala

Women’s Connection, (Friday, March 31, at 7:00pm; Preregistration required)

A newspaper journalist for almost 40 years, Elaine Ayala has held a variety of journalism jobs, including news reporter, features editor, blogger and editorial page editor. She covers San Antonio and Bexar County with special focus on communities of color, demographic change, Latino politics, migration, education and arts and culture.

Juanita Luna Lawhn

DIVERSITY LUNCHEON (Friday, March 31, at 12:30pm; Preregistration required)

Juanita Luna Lawhn is a professor of English at San Antonio College (SAC). She has two MA’s, one from Southwest Texas State University and one from the University of Texas at San Antonio. She co-founded the journal, Voices: San Antonio College Multicultural Journal and was a founding organizer of the annual SAC Multicultural Conference. Her poetry and short stories have appeared in, among others, Texas Journal, Langdon Review of the Arts in Texas, Body Signs: The Latino/a Body in Cultural Production. A Fulbright Scholar, her research interests revolve around the Mexican women of El México de Afuera and also the labor movement of Mexican American women in San Antonio in the 1930’s.

The Alamo

Visit The Alamo, just a short distance from the conference hotel!


CEA Conferences feature a number of engaging events and speakers, many hailing from and reflecting the conference site’s diverse cultures. The 2022 conference in Birmingham, AL, featured these speakers:

Photography of Qiana Whitted

Qiana Whitted

Plenary, Thursday, March 31, 5:00 p.m. (preregistration required for reception that follows)

Qiana Whitted will give the Plenary Address on Thursday, March 31. Dr. Whitted is a Professor of English at the University of South Carolina and the editor of Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society. She specializes in 20th-Century African-American Literature as well as representations of race in graphic novels and comics. Her most recent book, EC Comics: Race, Shock, and Social Protest, was published by Rutgers University Press in 2019.

Photograph of Jennifer Horne

Jennifer Horne

Women’s Connection Reception, Friday, April 1, 12:30 p.m. (preregistration required)

Jennifer Horne, former Poet Laureate of Alabama (2017–2021), is the author of three collections of poems, a collection of short stories, and has edited four volumes of poetry, essays, and stories. Her latest work is a biography of the writer Sara Mayfield, forthcoming from the University of Alabama Press.

Photograph of the Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Reception and tour, Friday, April 1, 6:15 p.m. (preregistration required)

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute is a large interpretive museum and research center that depicts the struggles of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1950s and 1960s. The Institute, which opened in 1992, is located in the Civil Rights District, including the historic 16th Street Baptist Church, Kelly Ingram Park, Fourth Avenue Business District, and the Alabama Jazz Hall of Fame. The permanent exhibitions are a self-directed journey through Birmingham’s contributions to the Civil Rights Movement and human rights struggles.

Photograph of the statue of Vulcan overlooking the city of Birmingham.
Photograph of the statue of Vulcan overlooking the city of Birmingham.

Common Grounds

Breakfast reception for contingent faculty and emerging scholars, Saturday, April 1, 9:00 a.m. (preregistration required).

Photograph of Andre Brock

André Brock

All-Conference Luncheon, Saturday, April 2, 12:50 p.m. (preregistration required)

André Brock, the speaker for the All-Conference Luncheon on Saturday, April 2, is an Associate Professor in the School of Literature, Media, and Communication at Georgia Tech. His research centers on representations of race in in digital spaces, particularly in videogames, blogs, and Twitter. His book, Distributed Blackness: African American Cybercultures was published by New York University Press in February 2020.