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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.

Research & Inquiry Conference Special Issue

Special Section Articles

A Qualitative Study on Queer College Student Desire

While much work in the realm of higher education research has concerned LGB(T)/queer identity development, little work has sought to explore the experiences of queer students with particular attention to their sexual and romantic habits and desires. Moreover, little to no attention has been paid to how the sexual and romantic desires of queer college students are shaped by normative discourses of race, sexuality, and gender. In this qualitative study, I have sought to elucidate the experiences of queer masculine college students to better understand how their sexual desires and performances intersect with systems of domination. The findings of this work suggest that oppressive systems—such as racism, patriarchy, and trans/queerphobia—are pervasive discourses in the sexual and romantic desires of queer, masculine college students. Such findings indicate that higher education practitioners should center discussions of racism and internalized queerphobia within educational interventions meant to address topics such as healthy relationships, “hook up culture,” and safer sexual practices.

Shooting Spitballs at Tanks: Some Thoughts on the Limits of Open Access

The gold model of open access, in which an author/sponsoring institution must pay an Article Processing Charge (“APC”) is merely another instance of the neoliberalization of the university. However, this can be combatted by an expansion of the role of the library in the university, as well as wider agitation beyond it.

Promoting Student Discourse in a Linguistically Diverse Community-of-Learners Classroom

This autoethnographic inquiry explored the effects of a positive classroom culture in a South Los Angeles high school by addressing the questions, “How might efforts to establish a community-of-learners classroom affect frequency of student discourse (both oral and written) and understanding of science content? Furthermore, how might the results of these efforts differ within the Emergent Bilingual and Non-Emergent Bilingual student populations?” The focus group consisted of three biology classes with a mixture of Emergent Bilingual (EB) students and Non-EB students; each class was composed of about 30% EB students whose primary language was most commonly Spanish. A multitude of techniques, such as community circles and consistent group work within heterogeneous EB and Non-EB groups, were utilized to create a community-of-learners in each class. Students participated in an independent weekly survey that examined their frequency of participation and confidence levels regarding oral discourse. Students were also surveyed weekly regarding their preferred method of expressing content knowledge with options encompassing verbal, written, and visual opportunities. Data was collected for this inquiry through the analysis of the student surveys, written observations (field notes) of classroom and group discussions, and a final community circle. The results showed that a positive classroom culture and access to varied opportunities for discourse allowed students of various backgrounds to share their knowledge more readily and consistently.

Cross-Cultural Mentoring: Cultural Awareness & Identity Empowerment

Practices of mentoring programs often match mentors and mentees who are from similar backgrounds (i.e., same-culture mentoring). Both practices and studies on mentoring disregard possibilities in cross-cultural mentoring (CCM) where mentors or mentees are from different cultural (i.e., national or racial) backgrounds. This paper investigates students’ experiences in CCM in terms of the influence of mentors’/mentees’ cultural backgrounds on their identity development and cultural awareness. Five in-depth interviews were conducted with CCM mentors and mentees. Vignettes of CCM experiences are presented that reflect the impact and meaning of CCM for mentors and mentees. Types of CCM are identified and learning opportunities and challenges for students in CCM are revealed. This study challenges the status quo that only same-culture mentoring could benefit students since CCM is proven to empower the identity of mentors and mentees and cultivate their social skills including self-awareness and cultural recognition. Strategies are offered for students engaging in CCM to navigate opportunities and challenges. Recommendations are provided for higher education institutions to build community, diversity, and inclusion in higher education.

Race, Space, and the Built Pedagogical Environment

In light of recent events of racialized violence across the United States, there has been renewed calls for schools to address issues of racism in head-on ways. In these efforts, teachers have engaged in critical reflection on their teaching practices and curricular materials. In doing so, however, they often overlook an important pedagogical tool for fostering critical conversations about race: the school space itself. In this article, the author presents spatial ethnographic data from a larger immersive study of racial pedagogies at a school in South Central Los Angeles. In order to address the overlooked value of the school space as pedagogue, the article focuses on the highly racialized hallway iconography present at the school. In particular, the article interrogates the racial politics embedded in the content and theorizes a means of understanding school design choices as a form of public pedagogy. Building on Torin Monahan’s theory of “built pedagogy,” the author puts forth a theory of the “built pedagogical environment.”

Anger as a Tool for Decolonization and Student Empowerment

My research centers anger, the emotions that 12th grade students of color exhibit as a response to and in solidarity with an anti-capitalist, anti-racist curriculum. As a social studies instructor in an urban Title I public school, i analyzed scholar performance on cumulative and summative assessments, auto-ethnographic journal entries, and class discussions as qualitative data. The purpose of this research is to reconceptualize “anger” and “disruption” in the urban classroom through a decolonial theoretical lens grounded in the work of Franz Fanon, bell hooks, Na’im Akbar, and Antonia Darder. I place culturally relevant pedagogy in conversation with decolonial, anti-capitalist authors, in order to perceive differently, or even perhaps embrace, anger within the classroom as a pedagogical tool for decolonization. While i focused on race, racism, racial violence and the U.S. political system in the first semester of Government, in Economics we tackled the system of global capitalism. I discuss a particular unit i constructed which explores the development of capitalism, and how the system is innately intertwined with the exploitation and destruction of our environment. At the end of the unit, my scholars’ written and oral performances on the final assessments indicate a critical understanding of capitalism, political change and the means by which that change may be erected.

Undergraduates mediating kids’ college knowledge

There is little research that explores young children’s understandings of college. Scholarship that focuses on developing college readiness among youth, especially those from underrepresented backgrounds, notes that formation of college aspirations by fifth grade is critical. Utilizing fieldnotes from undergraduates who participated in after-school club at a local community school, this paper aims to answer the following question: How do undergraduate students mediate kids’ understandings of college and build on their college knowledge? The findings will better inform educators about how to better develop elementary aged children’s college readiness.

The Persistence and Success of Latino Men in Community College

Guided by a phenomenological approach, this qualitative study examines the resilience and cultural wealth of Latino men as they navigate the transfer process at a two-year community college. This study conducted four semi-structured interviews to highlight how, despite facing difficult circumstances, individual factors along with their aspirational and navigational capital positively impact Latino men in higher education. Ultimately, this study aims for four things (a) to add to the limited amount of research of Latino men in community college (b) to display the success of Latino men in higher education (c) to challenge deficit notions of Latino men in higher education and (d) to provide findings that will inform the community college sector of the Latino men transfer experience.