Dr. Lourdes Torres has devoted her career to shining a light on the Latino community’s least visible populations and inner workings.

Torres will share some of the insights gleaned from her research at her Chautauqua lecture on Thursday, Oct. 8 at Eastern Kentucky University. A Vincent de Paul professor and director of Latin American and Latino Studies at DePaul University and editor of the journal Latino Studies, she will present “What if We Change the Conversation About Latinos?: Towards a New National Discourse” at 7:30 p.m. in O’Donnell Hall of the Whitlock Building. Her talk, free and open to the public, also serves as the keynote address for Hispanic Heritage Month.

Torres was selected as the 2009-10 Women and Gender Research Initiative Faculty Fellow for her work documenting the history of Latina lesbian organizing in the Midwest. The project traced the efforts of Latina lesbians to represent themselves and create and occupy public spaces in Chicago from the 1980s to the present.

Her work describes the founding of Llena and Amigas Latinas, two organizations that attempted to bridge the Latino and lesbian social and political cultures in Chicago and the organizations’ efforts to negotiate divergent national and ethnic histories, class and linguistic differences and the diverse political stances of their membership.

Torres is also engaged in a long-term project in the field of Spanish sociolinguistics that will offer a comparative analysis of the use of the Spanish language by some of the Latino communities, such as the Mexican or Puerto Rican communities, in Chicago. The collaborative project will offer insight into the evolution of Spanish dialects in a contact situation.

Torres is also a published author, including “Puerto Rican Discourse: A Sociolinguistic Study of a New York Suburb,” published in 1997, and “Third World Women and the Politics of Feminism,” published in 1991. She was co-editor of “Tortilleras: Hispanic and Latina Lesbian Expression,” published in 2003.

Torres’ lecture is sponsored by the Office of Diversity; the Department of Languages, Cultures and Humanities; and the Honors Program.

For more information, visit www.chautauqua.eku.eduor contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Dr. Erik Liddell at erik.liddell@eku.edu.