Losing Sonia Sotomayor: A Public Lecture with Lázaro Lima

Professor Lázaro Lima, the E. Claiborne Robins Distinguished Chair in the Liberal Arts and professor of Latin American and Iberian Studies and American Studies at the University of Richmond, delivered a public lecture for the Program in Latino/a Studies in the Global South on 23 October 2014.

Drawing on his highly anticipated forthcoming monograph, Losing Sonia Sotomayor: An American Life After Multiculturalism, Professor Lima’s talk at Duke University was entitled “Losing Sonia Sotomayor: On the Political Limits of Representative Latinidad.” Professor Lima raised questions around issues of social mobility and American accomplishment in connection to U.S. Latinos––in this instance, the profound cultural and historical significance of Sotomayor, the 111th appointment to the nation’s highest court and its first Latina judge––and what it means for the incorporation of Latinos into the fiber of American civic institutions.

Sotomayor’s 2009 confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court, Professor Lima informed us, “represented the fulfillment of a promise of equality of access to opportunity that underwrites the American dream.” He goes on to say that: “Astonishingly, and for the first time in the history of the country, Latinos had proof that despite their over 500 year presence in what is now the United States, they were at last a part of the nation’s official cultural history and institutions.” In this clip, Professor Lima addresses the “Latino question” (0:42); the legitimation of Latinos in American civic life (1:52); and Sotomayor as mediapheme (3:48).