“AM I NORTH AMERICAN OR SOUTH AMERICAN?”THEORIZING AND STUDYING LIVING CURRICULA OF THE GLOBAL

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“AM I NORTH AMERICAN OR SOUTH AMERICAN?”THEORIZING AND STUDYING LIVING CURRICULA OF THE GLOBAL

ABSTRACT

Education about the world in K-12 schools frequently emphasizes the interconnectedness of nation-states. The curricular aim is often to prepare citizens for a world community with shared values, ethics and goals in order to maintain world peace. However, this notion of global education exists almost entirely outside the lived experiences of teachers and students; the notion lacks consideration of the specificity of people’s relations to world systems of power and to the historicities of the place(s) they inhabit. Moreover, questions about community and belonging are often prioritized solely in relation to the nation-state, eliding alternative forms of identification and citizenship that are articulated via other associations of political belonging and systems of power. Thus, definitions of citizenship in global and international education lack a framework of power that engages with how the everyday lives of citizens in different places and communities are related to global systems of power.

This dissertation is a curricular study of global citizenship education that is attuned to those missing lived experiences. The study is based on narratives of citizenship and belonging in Hazleton, Pennsylvania. Specifically, it maps an inquiry into the lived experiences of citizenship for transnational immigrant Latina/o youth in Hazleton, and also incorporates my own experiences. I story personal narratives by implementing a narrative research approach: I interweave collective history, theory, vignettes and drawings to offer a form of curriculum for global education that is situated in lived experiences and that questions predominant assumptions of citizenship framed by the nation-state.

Ultimately, I theorize and argue for a living curriculum of the global: a course of learning that attends closely to the lived experiences of students and teachers in the specificity of their place(s) and historicities. In doing this work, I aim to respond to oversimplified and restrictive forms of identity sanctioned by a Euro and US-centric curricula of the global. Such curricula of the global is better defined as a curriculum of dislocation because it assimilates “others” into systems of power that seclude citizens from the place(s) and historicities that configure their lives. A living curriculum of the global is an important antidote to this curriculum of dislocation.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF FIGURES………………………………………………………………………………………………. vii

LIST OF TABLES………………………………………………………………………………………………. viii

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS…………………………………………………………………………………….. ix

Dedication……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. x

 

Introduction …………………………………………………………………………………………………….   School-In-A Box ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 1

Chapter 1  The Problems of an Abstract Curriculum of the Global …………………………………. 6

In A World In Motion, Where …………………………………………………………………………….. 7

Do You Belong? ……………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7

Complicating “the Global” as One Place of Sameness……………………………………………. 9

Complicating Essentialist Narratives of Culture ……………………………………………………. 14

A Curriculum of the Global Outside the Lives of Students and Teachers………………….. 16

Key Concepts ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 19

Layout of the Dissertation…………………………………………………………………………………… 21

Chapter 2  Theorizing Living Curriculum of the Global ………………………………………………… 24

Curriculum and Lived Experience ……………………………………………………………………….. 24

Curriculum as Living Experience …………………………………………………………………. 24

Currere: Curriculum as Autobiographical Study ……………………………………………. 28

A Living Curriculum From the Borderlands ………………………………………………….. 29

Curriculum and Difference …………………………………………………………………………………. 31

Decolonizing a Eurocentric & US-Centric Curriculum of the Global……………………….. 32

A Living Curriculum of the Global ……………………………………………………………………… 36

Chapter 3  A Methodology for a Lived Curriculum of the Global …………………………………… 37

The Role of Stories ……………………………………………………………………………………………. 37

Stories as Sites of Transformation ……………………………………………………………………….. 39

Narratives of Erasure: Replacement Narratives ……………………………………………… 41

Healing Narratives: Curandera History…………………………………………………………. 42

Stories and the Study of Curriculum…………………………………………………………………….. 46

Currere as Method ……………………………………………………………………………………… 47

Autoethnography………………………………………………………………………………………… 50

Autohistoria and Autohistoria-Teoría ……………………………………………………………. 56

My Living Curriculum of the Global ……………………………………………………………………. 58

The Study …………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 64

Site Selection …………………………………………………………………………………………….. 64

Research Questions …………………………………………………………………………………….. 70 Participants ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 71

Modes of Inquiry………………………………………………………………………………………… 73

Interpretive Method: Storying………………………………………………………………………. 75

Limitations of the Study………………………………………………………………………………. 81

Chapter 4  Narratives About Citizenship and Belonging in Hazleton ………………………………. 82

A “Multicultural Future” in Hazleton …………………………………………………………………… 82

Hazleton: An “All-American Small-town” With “Legal, Hardworking Citizens”………. 87

Belonging in K-12 Settings…………………………………………………………………………………. 89

“A Small School With Small School Planning,” ……………………………………………………. 90

“Non-Speakers” ………………………………………………………………………………………………… 94

Expectations for Latina/o Youth and Their Families………………………………………………. 97

Discussion ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 100

Chapter 5  Experiences of Citizenship of Latina/o Youth in Hazleton …………………………….. 104

Flags ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 105

La Vega ……………………………………………………………………………………………………………. 109

“So, I Am—” ……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 112 President’s Day …………………………………………………………………………………………………. 118

Discussion ………………………………………………………………………………………………………… 121

Chapter 6  Conclusion ………………………………………………………………………………………………. 123

Dissertation Summary………………………………………………………………………………………… 123

Narratives of Citizenship and Belonging in Hazleton …………………………………………….. 126

Transnational Latina/o Immigrant Youth’s Experiences of Citizenship ……………………. 130

Significance of the Study and Contributions to the Field of Curriculum Theory………… 134

Limitations of the Study …………………………………………………………………………………….. 136

Teaching and Curricular Implications ………………………………………………………………….. 137

Appendix A  Methods and Texts Generated…………………………………………………………………. 139

Appendix B  Afterschool Club Session Programing ……………………………………………………… 140

References……………………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 141

Chapter 1

 

The Problems of an Abstract Curriculum of the Global

. . . what gives a place its specificity is not some long internalized history but the fact that is constructed out of a particular constellation of social relations, meeting and weaving together at a particular locus. If one moves in from the satellite towards the globe, holding all those networks of social relations and movements and communications in one’s head, then each ‘place’ can be seen as a particular, unique, point of their intersection. It is, indeed, a meeting place. Instead then, of thinking of places as areas with boundaries around, they can be imagined as articulated moments in networks of social relations and understandings, but where a large proportion of those relations, experiences and understandings are constructed on a far larger scale than what we happen to define for that moment as the place itself, whether that be a street, or a region or even a continent ( . . . ) the point is that there are real relations with real content, economic, political, cultural-between any local place and the wider world in which it is set. (Massey, 1994, p. 155)

 

In this chapter, I challenge the idea of a curriculum of global citizenship that aims to prepare students for a world as “one” place. I discuss homogeneizing conceptions of culture that are based on ideas of sameness, and that disregard the role that global processes play in the production of these conceptions. Next, I problematize curriculum plans that articulate community and belonging solely through nation-state frameworks, ignoring other forms of membership and participation. Finally, I introduce key concepts and the organization of the remainder of the dissertation.

 

In A World In Motion, Where  Do You Belong?

 

Historically and contemporarily, the terms “international” and “global” have been treated abstractly in relation to education, as if these notions existed outside the lives of students and teachers. In this dissertation, I refer to “global citizenship” as the way we learn to belong and participate in transnational networks, in the circulation of capital, and to make decisions that affect local communities. The curriculum of global citizenship is often hidden; it tends to be addressed through abstract representations of the world itself as place, whose many cultures live elsewhere, whose communities are made of “others” that speak other languages and practice other religions in faraway places. When the “global” is seen through the borders of nation-states, we educators and scholars miss out on other forms through which we interact with the “global” as a places we are familiar with in our everyday lives.

The mobilization of populations created by globalization has connected groups of people whose complex realities were not visible to each other before (Hall, 2004). Increasingly, groups of oppressed people have relocated into contexts of great wealth, often with better living conditions (Bajaj & Bartlett, 2017; Skilton & El-Haj, 2017). For example, in the U.S., many teachers have seen their classroom demographics change dramatically in a short period of time; families who were part of school communities have moved to a completely new destination, and the children who attend these new schools experience an environment where their right to be educated is often openly questioned (Bajaj & Bartlett, 2017). Teachers, students, and parents have seen their lives being transformed by the dynamics of migration created by globalization. Yet the curriculum of global citizenship is mediated by a nation-state framework that limits our understanding of how we participate as global citizens (Maira, 2004; Nguyen, 2012; Stein & Andreotti, 2017).

Current framings of “international” and “global” centralize nations and states as units of analysis (Haydn, 2006; Haydn & Thompson, 2000; Leach, 1969; Terwilliger, 1972), and foreground comparisons between national systems as a methodology to understand what it means to be a citizen in different parts of the world (Cambridge & Thompson, 2004). In the traditional sense, being educated for global citizenship means to be trained specifically for nation-state-based diplomacy (Marshall, 2011) by learning the cultures, history, and languages of other countries. It also means developing skills and knowledge to be competitive in the global market. However, a living curriculum for global citizenship education could be attentive to responses generated by social movements, to people’s resistance from the specificity of their places, and to counterhegemonic narratives that resist the imposition of cultural, political and economic projects. A curriculum of global citizenship should center movement rather than boundaries, difference rather than sameness, and create the opportunity to see “new and distinctive spaces, sites, practices and discourses that cannot or should not be grasped within the analytical lens of nations and states.” (Fernandes, 2013, p.103).

Being a citizen goes beyond being ruled by a nation-state. It may also refer to a form of affiliation with local, regional, national, transnational, communities based on ethnicity, faith, culture and other forms of identification. In other words, a person is often (if not always) a citizen of multiple communities. However, beyond a sense of belonging, there is a participatory aspect to citizenship (Yuval-Davis, 2006). Citizens may participate in governance of their communities and may be invested in projects that the collectivities to which they belong are developing in society. In order to participate in those communities, there may be a need to share the same culture, language, origin, and values so that individuals may be communally recognized and access shared resources. But what happens when people whose lives have been framed by histories of colonialism, imperialism, capitalism — people whose lives involve constant border-crossings between cultures, places, languages, nationalities — become part of communities of people who, in the words of geographer Doreen Massey (1994), “are more in-charge of [mobility] than others”? What do you learn about who you are as a citizen? Where do you belong?

 

Complicating “the Global” as One Place of Sameness

 

The representation of “the globe” as one place became very popular in the 1980s, a little over a decade after Neil Armstrong was the first human to walk on the moon and about 20 years after the first picture of the earth was taken from outer space (McGregor,

1996). This representation of “the globe” as “one place” is heavily influenced by the concerns, interests, and geopolitical configuration of the world in the era after World War II (McGregor, 1996). The conversations about co-existence and world peace during that period started to dominate the framings of the world as “one place” and “one humankind.” Wolfgang Sachs’ “One World,” a piece in The development dictionary: A guide to knowledge as power (2010) describes specific moments, contexts, and people who came to the idea of “the world as one” in 1945, when 48 countries signed the United Nations Charter that created a future post-World War II:

The Charter, in fact, conceptualized peace not just as the non-violent regulation of conflicts, but as the result of a global leap forward. Violence breaks out when progress is blocked. This was the conclusion the victorious powers drew from the past experience of economic depression and ensuing totalitarianism. Consequently, in the Preamble to the Charter, the United Nations solemnly announce the determination ‘to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom….and to employ international machinery for the promotion of the economic and social advancement of all peoples. (p. 112)

Sachs continues to describe how making decisions about how “all peoples” should achieve the same goals in order to “progress,” erased the recognition of distinct epistemological and cultural communities. He writes,

The delegates in Room 210 were not timid in their vision. In their eyes, Austrians and Australians, Zulus as well as Zapotecos, share the same aspiration for ‘social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom. The histories of the world were seen as converging into one history, having one direction, and the UN was seen as a motor propelling less advanced countries to move ahead. The project to banish violence and ware from the face of the earth was clearly linked to the vision of mankind marching forward and upward along the road of progress.

(Sachs, 2010, p. 112)

In the eyes of the U.N. charter, a peaceful world could only exist in sharing the same ideas about humanity that originated in the Enlightenment: that of a Christian, liberal, Western, modern centered worldview; a peaceful world could only exist by achieving the same goals for different peoples and communities around the world (McGregor, 1996;

Sachs, 2010).

Contrary to this idea of the world as “one place,” and to the idea that it is necessary to achieve a shared model of justice for world peace, political theorist Nancy Fraser (2009) argues there is a need to reimagine the map of global spaces of justice. The world model of nation-state, based in a Westphalian model of justice, assumes that there is a common recognizable discourse of what “normal justice” should look like in the world. However, contemporary conflicts, political struggles, and even academic theories demonstrate that there is no such shared discourse of justice or world order, for that matter.

The tens of thousands of unaccompanied children that immigrated from the Northern Triangle of Central America into the U.S. in 2014 illustrate how the assumption that there is a shared understanding of justice, citizenship and world order among nations affects the lives of people. This case of massive immigration could be interpreted as the failure of the state of El Salvador to provide economic support to its citizens. In theory, an effective modern state should be capable of making sure that justice is equally distributed to its citizens. The solution to this failure, then, would be to address the problems of unequal economic distribution within the Salvadoran state. However, if we look at this issue beyond the Salvadoran state borders, and instead contextualize the issue historically and in terms of current forms of global economy, the way that we understand and address the mass migration of unaccompanied children might be framed differently.

For example: in relation to the issue of violence and general lack of safety in El Salvador, we might find that a nation-state model is insufficient to understand this phenomenon historically. There is a growing presence of “la Mara Salvatrucha,” a gang also known as “MS-13” in El Salvador, which has a history of strong connections to U.S. international policy. The MS-13 originated in the neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California in the 1980s among Salvadoran immigrants who were fleeing from their country’s civil war. Salvadorans immigrated to the U.S. in the 1980s after the U.S. government supported the military government of El Salvador in their fight against the guerrilla group Frente Faribundo Martí de Liberación Nacional (FMLN). In this way, the U.S. enabled both the civil war in El Salvador and the immigration of Salvadorans to the US who were trying to flee the war. Deported members of the MS-13 formed powerful crime organizations in El Salvador as they rebuilt in their parents’ home country. This gang exercises great control over Salvadoran public institutions today, and has influence in other Central American countries as well. Further, it is also connected to the national context of the U.S. Today MS-13 members in El Salvador and in different cities in the U.S. are connected through these cross-border crime networks (Hinojosa, 2014).

From this perspective, then, the problem of the immigration of children to the US in 2014, is a transnational issue that can hardly be understood or addressed through a nation-state framework of world order and justice. For this reason, as Fraser argues, a transnational framework of justice is necessary in order to address the effects of a set of underlying problems behind the immigration of Salvadorans to the US. Yet, as Fraser describes, we live in “abnormal” times with a justice system based on a state model of jurisdiction that does not reflect the reality of growing numbers of real people. For instance, Salvadoran children that illegally immigrate to the U.S., are caught in the middle of conflicting discourses of justice that leave them unrecognized as political refugees. As a result, this population is trapped in the middle of an ineffective Salvadoran state on one side and U.S. immigration laws on the other. These children’s lives depend

“on processes that trespass the borders of territorial states as on those contained within them” (Fraser, 2009, p.113). Both economic maldistribution and the lack of recognition of their status as citizens (though they are Salvadorans, they are not recognized as subjects of justice in El Salvador) demonstrate the way structures across nation-states contribute to the injustices and danger shaping their lives.

Fraser advocates for a different way of theorizing justice, one that takes into consideration social movements, networks of solidarity, and other emancipatory projects against forms of oppression and injustice; in other words, we must theorize justice by looking into the lived experiences of people and their forms of resistance across national borders.

Complicating Essentialist Narratives of Culture

A curriculum of the global that bases understandings of culture on ideas of sameness, on shared values, territories, race, language, and religion counteracts global processes such as colonialism and its influence in the creation of national cultures. Third World feminist scholar Uma Narayan (1997, 1998) problematizes essentialism in

Western “universalist” ideas of culture, understood as fixed sets of characteristics from a group. Conceptions of culture that identify entire groups of people with one practice erase contestations regarding those practices within the same group. This tendency is seen in relation to, for example, the sati tradition or, “widow immolation,” “African Genital

Mutilation,” and other practices that are used as representations of an entire culture (Narayan, 1997, 1998).

Lack of attention to contestation and resistance within cultural groups leads to problematic positions that advocate for the protection of cultural practices over resistance to oppressive structures within that culture. For example, Narayan argues that some feminist discourses are culturally essentialist and ascribe women’s equality and women’s rights to Western values. Portraying the struggles and efforts of groups of peoples from the Global South as “Westernized” contributes to the reproduction of oppressive systems from a “cultural relativist” stance. Democracy, equality, and rights do not solely belong to Western culture. Such position contributes to essentialist visions of “the West” and the “non-West.” Moreover, this position contributes to Western cultural supremacist ideologies.

For example, in relation to the practice of excision in Sierra Leone, there were initiation rites and forms of training that usually took one to two years before the excision itself and were part of the support and preparation for female circumcision. These rites disappeared as a consequence of lack of resources, changes in social infrastructure, and sometimes due to lack of time. Yet the event of the female circumcision itself became emblematic of “preserving tradition” and was strongly defended by members of social groups in positions of power (Koso-Thomas in Narayan, 1998). Scholars in places of power err in advocating for the preservation of a practice that is, in fact, contested within the social and cultural groups to whom it belongs. Narayan (1998) writes,

I would argue that what postcolonial feminists need to do is not to endorse

“cultural relativism” but to resist various forms of cultural essentialism, including relativist versions (…) feminists need to resist cultural essentialism by pointing to the internal plurality, dissention and contestation over values, and ongoing changes in practices in virtually all communities that comprise modern nationstates. This critique of cultural essentialism would reject the idea that there is anything that can solidly and uncontroversially be defined as “Indian culture” or “African culture,” or “Western culture” for that matter.” It would proceed by challenging a “picture of the world” that some versions of cultural relativism assume to be true: that there are neat packages called “different cultures,” each of which is internally consistent and monolithic, and which disagrees only with

“Other cultures.” (p. 102)

Following this argument that cultures are not fixed in unchanging groups, Narayan states that contestation happens within cultures. She describes how practices and values are in constant negotiation in their groups:

The position I am endorsing does not deny the existence of “cultural differences” per se (. . . ) Rather, the position I endorse denies that “actual cultural differences” correspond very neatly to the “packages” that are currently individuated as

“separate cultures” or manifest themselves as evenly distributed across particular “cultures.” It insists that virtually all contemporary contexts are full of political debate and dissension about their practices and values, and it refuses to grant any of these perspectives the status of being the sole “authentic representative” of the views and values of a particular culture. (p. 102)

Sameness advocates for essentialist definitions of culture and for the generalization of culture as “universal.” This argument has been used in processes of colonization where these universalist definitions are imposed onto others in the name of “civilization,” “progress,” “modernization” or “globalization”; the universalist definitions that advocate for sameness become a lens of deficit to the recognition of difference.

 

A Curriculum of the Global Outside the Lives of Students and Teachers

 

Schools often articulate questions of community and belonging within a nationstate framework; as a consequence, everything from local issues that are “complexly interconnected within the axis of power and politics” to global events are ignored

(Subedi, 2013, pp. 622-623). A curriculum that privileges a nation-state framework, particularly one that frequently promotes patriotic stances, results in the absence of critical global knowledge. A nation-state framework that lacks a critical stance fails to provide an understanding of how nation-states came to exist and how nation-state structures are related to global processes of colonialism, racism, sexism, and dispossession. Furthermore, this kind of approach promotes a form of citizenship that focuses on nation-state commitments and alliances over global responsibility (Subedi, 2013).

An essentialist curriculum of the global that lacks a critical approach in schools frequently results in biased learning that perpetuates deficit approaches to interpreting global events and issues. As Binaya Subedi writes,

A recurring theme within the monocultural interpretation of the curriculum of the global is its foregrounding of deficit ways of formulating global events and issues. Because of its investment in whiteness or Eurocentrism, the framework of deficit represents certain societies as lacking “better” cultural values. In other words, deficit interpretation is invested in reinforcing colonial, White ideology. The deficit curriculum places emphasis on “problems” in the world and often relies on dichotomous narratives to explain how certain societies are culturally superior while some other societies are inferior. (Subedi, 2013, p. 623)

In the case of immigrant children, a curriculum of the global only offers a deficit narrative on children’s cultural backgrounds and their communities. Essentialist approaches to a curriculum of the global privilege knowledge production from the West over other forms of knowledge production and reinforce the idea that Western frameworks are neutral and universal. A deficit narrative is based on essentialized and fixed versions of national cultures. Instead of focusing on complex historicized understandings of global issues, deficit narratives produce what Narayan (1997) has referred to as “death by culture,” blaming the culture, or representing oppressed peoples as victims of their own culture.

This dissertation is a curricular study of global citizenship education attuned to the living and lived experiences of Latina/o youths in a semirural town in the U.S. undergoing drastic demographic change. In it, I story the coexistence of narratives of citizenship that are based on shared language, origin, place of birth, land; narratives of citizenship based on multi-lingualism, experiences of border-crossing, transcultural lived experiences of citizenship; or narratives that are based on difference. In this dissertation, curriculum is understood as a living and lived experience, as an ongoing course of learning that happens inside and outside formal academic contexts (Aoki, 1986/1991;

Kissling, 2014). In distinction from common conceptions of “the global,” as one community with shared values and geopolitical borders based on nation-states, here “global” is multiple, contextual, and situated in place(s); “global” is here defined as border-crossing, as an indicator of mobility in relation to place. In other words, this dissertation is a curricular study of an ongoing course of learning about what it means to be a global citizen in the lives of a group of transnational Latina/o youth in Hazleton, Pennsylvania, inside and outside formal academic contexts. For this study, I implemented a methodological approach of narrative research, ethnographic methods of data

collection, and thick-description (Geertz, 1973), storying (Denzin, 1997), and restorying

(Ollerenshaw & Cresswell, 2002) as interpretative methods.

 

Key Concepts

 

Citizenship. Is a form of affiliation or belonging to a social group(s). Belonging can refer to self-identification with a particular group; in other words, belonging means to feel part of social groups or intersections based on gender, race, class, nation and other axes of difference (Yuval-Davis, 2006). Yet, beyond its experience as a sense of community, the politics of belonging refer to the possibilities of participation and to the investment in particular projects that are part of collectivities and social groups. Belonging also encompasses the struggles related to the costs of being recognized as part of a collectivity, as well as the access to resources that belonging enables (Rosaldo, 2000; 2008; Yuval-Davis, 2006). The status of belonging provides rights to be recognized, to participate, and to access resources. Citizenship can be defined in terms of political belonging or the possibility of participating in a community’s governance, through the framework of the nation-state (Yuval-Davis, 2006). This framework defines citizenship or political belonging in terms of the relationship between the individual and the state, and also in terms of the relationship between citizens (Rosaldo, 2000).

Place. A “meaningful location” (Agnew in Cresswell, 2004, p. 7). There are three aspects to place that makes it a “meaningful location”: location, locale and a sense of place (Cresswell 2004, pp. 7-8). Location refers to a geographical space; locale denotes the “material settings for social relations” (Cresswell 2004, p. 7), including buildings, tables, and material things; sense of place indicates an emotional relation to place (Cresswell 2004, p. 7). However, place also describes the roots of epistemologies, the locus of enunciation of knowledges. Place speaks to the geographical location, historicity, material forms, the order that gives birth to a form of knowledge. A place is made out of social relations, networks, and understandings that makes it unique (Massey, 1993). Thus, places are in a constant process of being produced by cultural practices (Massey, 1993). In this dissertation, place is not defined by a boundary but by the relations that produce that boundary.

Curriculum. Set(s) of knowledge(s) that are considered valuable or worth knowing in particular contexts, “curriculum understood as a symbolic representation refers to those institutional and discursive practices, structures, images, and experiences” (Pinar, Reynolds, Slattery & Taubman, 2008, p. 16). Our lives, our upbringings, represent a course of learning, a curriculum of what was worth knowing at home, in school, in our hometowns, in our travel, in our relationships to others, to living and non-living beings. However, value is determined by past, present and future tensions, relations of power, configurations of time, place, and beings.

Latina@/a/o/x/ex youth. The young participants in this study are between the ages of 12-15 years old and self-identify as Hispanic, Latina/o, or of national descent from a country in Latin America. The use of transnational immigrant Latina/o youth as a term at different points in this dissertation, refers to the youths’ connections and relationships to border-crossing, transcultural communities that include but are not limited to networks in the U.S. Some of the youths were born in the U.S., others came when they were younger and some of them arrived only a few years before this study took place. Though I am aware of gender-inclusive terminology such as

Latine/Latinx/Latinex, I choose to describe the participants in this study as Latina/o youth based on the youths’ form of self-identification. I have also used this term throughout the text considering that it is not enough to add an “x” to recognize non-binary, gender neutral, and gender nonconforming individuals (Rodríguez, 2017). Even though all participants are first, 1.5, and second-generation immigrant youths, in this study I use the term “transnational” to point out their sustained linkages and networks of relationships within and outside nation-state borders. In this study, “transnational” refers to movement and also to practices that sustain relationships in different locales (Vertovec, 2009; Warriner, 2017). Here, “youth” describes young people beyond biological developmental stages since personal history and experiences play a significant role in young people’s ability to analyze their social context and to be critical, active participants in their communities. I use the term Latino/a youth, students, and transnational youth interchangeably. This research is respectful of non-confirming forms of gender identification but does not center gender in its conceptualization or methodological approach.

Layout of the Dissertation

 

Chapter One, “The Problems of an Abstract Curriculum of the Global,” describes the problem of a curriculum of global citizenship education based on abstract representations of the global and conceptualizations of culture based on sameness. I briefly discuss the effects of a curriculum of global citizenship that lacks consideration of the lives of students and teachers. Finally, I introduce key concepts and description of methodology.

Chapter Two, “Theorizing Living Curriculum of the Global,” introduces curriculum theorists who conceptualize curriculum as critical reflection, lived experience, and relation to the world. First, I discuss the work of scholars who offer approaches to difference and decolonization in curriculum theory. Next, I introduce the work of scholars who conceptualize curriculum as autobiographical text and as living experience.

Finally, I provide a definition of living curriculum of the global.

Chapter Three, “A Methodology for a Living Curriculum of the Global,” aims to answer the question of how can a curriculum of our lived experiences of being in the world be studied. This chapter describes the role of stories as a method of inquiry into the relationship between the individual and global structures of power. Based on the work of feminist scholars of color and critical performative ethnographers, I elaborate on the role of stories in social transformation and change. The chapter describes the methods implemented to study narratives of citizenship in Hazleton and in the lives of Latina/o youth. The latest part of the chapter is an overview of participants, methods, research questions, and site descriptions. I also provide a brief contextualization of Hazleton in terms of its history, recent demographic changes, and social and political environment at the time of this study.

Chapter Four, “Narratives About Citizenship and Belonging in Hazleton,” is a data chapter based on the narratives of citizenship and belonging offered by social studies teachers in their classrooms and in interviews. These serve as context to understand the experiences of citizenship of transnational Latina/o youths, shared in the following chapter. These narratives of citizenship and belonging center sameness as possible paths for citizenship for Latinas/os (i.e. shared language, history, culture, and territory).

Chapter Five, “Experiences of Citizenship and Belonging of Latina/o Youth in

Hazleton,” focuses on four stories about the lived experiences of citizenship of transnational Latina/o youths in Hazleton. The stories in this chapter are constructed through difference, or the youths’ multi-layered, border-crossing, multi-lingual, multiethnic lived experiences. They portray moments of youths’ authentic inquiry and resistance to topics of citizenship, identity, and origin that can be both threatening and essential to their identification processes.

Chapter Six, “Conclusion,” provides a summary of the study, summary of findings, limitations of the study, and contributions to the literature of curriculum theory and social studies education.

“AM I NORTH AMERICAN OR SOUTH AMERICAN?”THEORIZING AND STUDYING LIVING CURRICULA OF THE GLOBAL

 

 

 

 

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