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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.


“My Feelings Are Not About You”: Personal Experience as a Move of Whiteness

The concept of speaking from experience in order to prevent universalized claims and maintain awareness of positionality has figured prominently in educational practices oriented toward social justice. History has taught us, however, that any resistive practice can come to serve the very interests it was developed to oppose. This paper examines one such situation: In interracial discussions of racism, White participants in our study used the discourse of personal experience to inoculate their racial claims against interrogation or critique. Our goals in analyzing the use of this discourse are to explicate how it functioned to hold white privilege in place, and to unsettle the discursive authority that this discourse offers. We conclude with suggestions for buffering the impact of experience discourse as a move of whiteness.

Abandon voice? Pedagogy, the body, and late capitalism

The concept of voice—despite important criticism—continues to be one of the most powerful metaphors we have for thinking about agency and authorship in politics and education. In the first part of this article, Timothy Lensmire summarizes his previous work on voice, in which he criticized two popular conceptions and proposed a new one. Then, Nathan Snaza discusses Barbara Kamler’s response, grounded in feminist and poststructuralist commitments, to Lensmire’s work. Despite much agreement with Lensmire, Kamler argues that voice should be abandoned as a leading metaphor in critical pedagogies, in favor of story or text. In the third section, we return to an earlier text by one of the leading figures in writing pedagogy, Peter Elbow, in which he claims that instead of worrying about whether voice or text is best, we need to adopt a both/and approach; however, we find he privileges reception over production. In the final section, we argue for using the metaphor of voice precisely because it can call attention to the moment of production. This moment holds potential, in our account, for a concrete project of democracy.

Over-Represented and De-Minoritized: The Racialization of Asian Americans in Higher Education

Two predominant representations of Asian Americans in higher education are the yellow peril foreigner and the model minority. Using Omi and Winant's (1994) framework of racial formation and racist projects, this essay describes the construction of these representations, articulates their dialectical inter-connection, and demonstrates how their manifestations in higher education reinforce white dominance. The author discusses racist projects of the yellow peril foreigner (which depicts Asian Americans as overrepresented in institutions of higher education) and the model minority (which depicts Asian Americans as no longer needing minority services, essentially de-minoritizing them) in the contexts of the removal of Asian Americans from affirmative action, anti-Asian campus backlash, the Asian admissions controversy, and the representation of Asian Americans as victims of affirmative action.

Formation of Professional Identity at the New Silver Street Kindergarten, 1883

This study focuses on the linguistic strategies utilized by women of the 19th century kindergarten movement in the United States to establish a professional identity within a dominant discourse of separate spheres based on gender. This project takes the form of a case study of the Silver Street Kindergarten in San Francisco and is based on an annual report that records a transitional moment where practitioners took control of the organization by introducing their emerging professional identity to the kindergarten discourse community. Through discourse analysis I demonstrate how the practitioners established themselves and their burgeoning organization, the New Silver Street Kindergarten Society, as a socially and professionally competent member of the discourse community, creating a space “between spheres” wherein they could practice their profession.

Sorting Language Archives Out: Digitization and Its Consequences

Growing awareness of possibilities created by digital technologies coupled with an increasing concern about endangered languages has led to a wide variety of language revitalization, preservation, and documentation projects. Information professionals, who have played a surprisingly small role in these activities, need to cultivate a greater understanding of the specific needs of groups engaged in digital language projects in order to mediate between digital repositories and users. A review of the data from a field study of an endangered indigenous Thai sign language, Ban Khor Sign, serves as a limit example of the complexity of the documentary interventions grouped under the rubric of “language archive.” The language archive problem demands a total information solution involving informaticists, archivists and museologists, and librarians.