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Open Access Publications from the University of California


InterActions is an open access journal hosted by the eScholarship initiative of the California Digital Library, edited and managed by graduate students, based at the UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies. Our publication’s authors foster an open and critical dialogue with readers and colleagues through applying diverse social justice frameworks to the discussion of pressing issues in the fields of education and information.

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Ref/lecciones: lessons for my hijo and other children of Indigenous immigrants

This essay is an autohistoria, an autohistory (Anzaldúa, 1999), in which I share my experiencesand understandings of being Maya and an immigrant in the United States and the discriminationthat other indigenous people like me experience from Latin Americans and Latinxs One purposeof autohistorias is to speak from lived experience and create theories that help us understandourselves and those like us. I write this essay to my son and the many other children in theUnited States who are born to Indigenous immigrant parents. One purpose for sharing myhistorias is to heal from intergenerational trauma caused by colonialism (Brave Heart, 2000). Itis my responsibility to share such stories in order to provide lessons and roadmaps for my son,other children of Indigenous immigrants, and future generations (Brayboy, 2005; Vizenor, 2008).I structure this paper to reflect the spiral (Grande, San Pedro, & Windchief, 2015) ways ofsharing, learning, and storytelling that are often absent in linear accounts of history andstorytelling (Deloria, 2004; Smith, 1999). There are many stories that I share and interweavewith one another in this paper. I hope that my son and other children of Indigenous immigrantslearn from them, as I too am learning by sharing them.

From Invisible to Visible: Documenting the Voices and Resilience of Central American Students in U.S. Schools

Historically, scholars have researched and discussed Central Americans in fields such as sociology, migration studies, and anthropology. However, there is a limited amount of literature in the field of education and more so in higher education, that addresses the unique experiences of Central Americans in the U.S. educational system (Torres, 2004). As an part of a larger study, this paper documents and analyzes the testimonios of thirty-five first and second generation Central American youth who have attended high school and college in the U.S. By applying a Critical Race Theory (CRT) analysis (in conjunction with other frameworks) to the testimonios of the thirty-five youth, we find that amidst severe class, race, and gender discrimination in schools, the youth are able to be extremely resilient. Through their testimonios, we also argue that it is important for education systems to pay closer to attention to the heterogeneity of the Latinx population in the U.S. to not further marginalization already marginalized communities.

Paul Kwiatkowski’s And Every Day Was Overcast and Redefining Young Adult Literature

This paper seeks to reframe what is considered to be legitimate sexual content for teens and, by extension, to redefine the boundaries of what is considered to be Young Adult Literature. Using And Every Day Was Overcast, a semi-autobiographical illustrated novel written by Paul Kwiatkowski, as an example of a book that captures the lived-experience of teens, yet has been deemed unsuitable for a teen readership, the author argues that conventional definitions of Young Adult Literature are too restrictive, reinforce problematic cultural ideals, and limit the reading experiences of teens. This paper acknowledges that librarians have a place in the line of production and distribution of books and contribute to the legitimization of content and knowledge, both accepted and controversial. Scholars such as Jeanie Austin (2016) have pushed for a centering of library practice on the lived-experience of teens, which recognizes teens as experts on their own lives and aids in abating problematic approaches to adolescence that guide teens towards what adults think they ought to become. The author suggests that when classifying fiction there are only two essential characteristics of Young Adult Literature: that the text is “Written About Teens” and “Written in a Teen Voice”. Redefining the boundaries of Young Adult Literature in this way and using it in daily practice is one of the ways in which librarians can begin to transform YA Literature into a genre that better reflects the lived-experience of teens and legitimize the inclusion of important works of literature in the Young Adult canon which may have otherwise been excluded.

Book Reviews

Book review about Christopher G. Brinton, Mung Chiang (2016): The Power of Networks: Six Principles That Connect Our Lives

Networks are everywhere, they are the essentials of our lives. The main questions are, how they work and why it is necessary to understand them. These are the initial remarks in Christopher G. Brinton and Mung Chiang’s brand new book. Christopher G. Brinton is the Head of Advanced Research at Zoomi Inc., where he works on big-data analytics, social learning networks, and personalized learning. He holds a PhD in electrical engineering from Princeton University. Mung Chiang is the Arthur LeGrand Doty Professor of Princeton, where he also serves as chairman of the Princeton Entrepreneurship Council and director of the Keller Center for Innovation in Engineering Education. In their new book they try to show the most important six principles that connect people’s lives. The main purpose of this book, beside entertainment and being a popular science book, is to be a basis for a network introductory course in college or high school.

Book Review: Critical race spatial analysis: Mapping to understand and address educational inequity

Researchers who produce social-justice scholarship often situate their studies within frameworks that examine the nexus of race, ethnicity, gender, socio-economic status, and history. Across disciplines, such scholars will use the tools of Critical Race Theory to analyze how various social systems in the U.S. legitimize oppressive structures as a strategy for upholding white supremacy. In the field of Education, Critical Race scholarship is vibrantly expanding as it continues to interrogate how racialized educational inequities are created and sustained both temporally and socially. However, CRT scholars in Education have yet to systematically examine the intersections of race, power, and privilege while interrogating geographies that perpetuate inequities within various educational settings.

The editors of Critical Race Spatial Analysis: Mapping to Understand and Address Educational Inequity respond to this gap as they offer an anthology that bridges the fields of spatial studies, geography, and CRT in Education. This collection, edited by scholar Deb Morrison, Subini Ancy Annamma, and Darrell D. Jackson, engages a discussion on how race, racism, and white supremacy are intricately connected to educational geographies and social spaces.  The work of an interdisciplinary set of junior and senior scholars from various fields of study featured in this work ultimately interrogates geographies of racialized oppression by using a Critical Race Spatial Analysis (CRSA) lens and inform larger understandings of race, space, and education.