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Center for the Study of Latino/a Catholicism

Future Projects and Future Needs

It is the Center's intention to start and/or continue the projects listed below. However, new funding will be necessary for each and every one of the listed projects (and needs) because the Center at present does not count on either an endowment or other permanent funding source. Indeed, a permanent endowment to fund the projects below, as well as to cover the administrative requirements of the Center, is a clearly felt and urgent need.-

a) Continue the project on the "re-invention" of Catholic systematic theology from the Latino/a perspective.-

Specifically, the Center needs to conclude the project it began on epistemology (see above), and begin other necessary parts of this ongoing research project. The final intent is that, after covering most key topics within systematic theology, a series of thirteen or fourteen original volumes will have been published. In other words, this implies thirteen or fourteen distinct projects (each involving one or two years' research).

b) Start a national study of Latino/a popular Christianity.-

The Center wants to conduct a national project to study popular religion among U.S. Latino/a Catholics and Protestants. Interdisciplinary in character (theology, social sciences, history), and ecumenical in scope, this new project will seek to gather a select group of specialists to research the field of popular religion among U.S. Latinos/as. Several colloquia (with the invited scholars) will be held to share and evaluate the ongoing research, and to discuss and delineate the most recent and fruitful methodological approaches to the study of popular Christianity. The colloquia will be followed by a major national conference to further the project and help disseminate its results. A book of original contributions will also be published.

c) Implement new projects, according to the Center's stated research interests.-

Other new projects will need to be started and funded, guided by the Center's stated interests and assumptions. We are specifically thinking of new research projects that relate U.S. Latino/a Catholicism to/with migration, globalization and intercultural theology, and a U.S. Latino/a ecumenical theology. Interest has also risen in a thorough study of the theological foundations and implications of the three very important Encuentros de Pastoral Hispana, held in Washington, DC.

d) Sponsor annual public lectures on U.S. Latino/a theology and/or religion.-

The Center wants to sponsor and host one public lecture every year at USD, by renown scholars, on topics related to U.S. Latino/a Catholicism. Ideally the texts of the lectures will be published and distributed nationally and internationally.

e) Establish a program of "Fellows" at the Center.-

Twelve to eighteen nationally and internationally recognized scholars would be appointed "Center Fellows" for four-year renewable terms. The Fellows will also act as the Center's programming advisory committee.

Appointment as Fellow would require of the appointee a research project, funded and published by the Center, as well as participation in the Fellows' annual seminar.

The Center intends to appoint as Fellows men and women whose work clearly contributes to the study of U.S. Latino/a Catholicism, or whose research and publications have engaged U.S. Latino/a Catholicism and theology. Consequently, Latino/a and non-Latino/a Fellows will be appointed, as well as Catholic and non-Catholic scholars in several disciplines (e.g., theology, history, social sciences, philosophy).

f) Broaden and support the Center's publications.-

Publication and dissemination of the results of the Center's sponsored research projects is very important. One important objective of the Center's publications is to contribute to the broader theological and pastoral/ministerial communities, as well as to U.S. society as a whole, because religion is an extremely crucial element in U.S. Latino/a cultures and communities.

There are two immediate needs that require funding:

i) We have established the need for some sort of annual publication by the Center, perhaps in the form of a yearly volume of Annals . In this new series we intend to publish (and nationally and internationally distribute) at least the texts of the annual public lectures and the texts resulting from the Fellows' research projects.

ii) We have also discovered the need for funds to assist in the publication of the books produced by the Center's several current research projects. Publishers are increasingly requesting financial assistance in order to publish multi-author research volumes, and although the Center has never financially assisted any of its publications, the demand to partially do so is increasing (especially for volumes which require translations to/from languages other than English), potentially placing at risk the publication of current-research volumes.

g) Increase support for Copley Library collection.-

Although USD's Copley Library already has a solid collection of publications on U.S. Latino/a and Latin American theology, there is a growing need (given the Center's research interests and projects) to further expand this collection, making sure that the Library always holds the books and journals necessary for the Center's work, while at the same time expanding the collection to include more titles from Spain and Latin America (as these impinge on the understanding of U.S. Latino/a religion). Copley Library also needs to expand its holdings on overall Latino/a studies and religious studies.

h) Provide administrative and website assistance.-

The Center has, since its inception, counted on the volunteer work of USD faculty members who have formed its "core team." However, the very success and growing number of projects sponsored by the Center make it increasingly difficult for faculty members (who continue to serve as full-time professors, with extensive research and service commitments) to work as the Center's "core team" directing and guiding every single project and activity. Constant seeking after grants is also time consuming for the faculty members involved. Consequently, we have come to realize that some permanent funding is needed in order to lower the teaching load of the faculty members who have for years volunteered their services to the Center.

We further realize that secretarial/administrative assistance is increasingly required, as well as development and maintenance of our ever-growing website.