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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.


Latino Youth as Information Leaders: Implications for Family Interaction and Civic Engagement in Immigrant Communities

This study contemplates implications of Latino adolescents acting as information leaders in helping immigrant families to cope in a new culture. We highlight the heuristic value of thinking about the family as a venue for exchanges of information that, in turn, promote educational aspiration and civic inclinations. This framework is refined by insights obtained from an immigrant community in northern Colorado. We recruited high school students for a survey that documented media use, deliberative dispositions, and orientations toward political participation. Results from the survey guided focus group sessions in which youth and parents conveyed how they experience information flow in family interaction. We find that assimilation is both embraced and resisted in family communication, as parents and children work out tensions between Latino and Anglo values. Information with life-enhancing implications must flow through the family for it to be meaningfully shared, evaluated, comprehended, and acted upon. The vetting process is thwarted when parents and youth live in separate information ecologies, or when parents perceive information as a challenge to their authority. We conclude with recommendations for initiatives that enhance adolescents’ capacity as information leaders while also enlisting parents in the sharing of information.

The 500 Windows Campaign: A Case Study of a Youth Movement for Educational Resources in South Africa

This case study seeks to examine what organizing methods and ethos helped Equal Education (EE), a community-based youth organization, convince government officials to repair 500 broken windows at Luhlaza School in Khayelitsha, an impoverished township near Cape Town, South Africa. Through various methods, including petitions, op-ed articles, and a rally, the group succeeded in its campaign. EE takes inspiration from apartheid-era youth movements. In the burgeoning democracy of the "New" South Africa, EE constitutes the next generation of youth civic engagement.

The U.S. Research University as a Global Model: Some Fundamental Problems to Consider

This paper examines the development of the U.S. research university, highlighting both its great success as well as some fundamental problems. Arguing that the U.S. research university is often looked to globally as a model for other nations, the author offers some cautionary concerns. More specifically, the author identifies four critical stages in the development of the U.S. research university: the Germanic influence of the 1800s, the rise of government sponsorship of research during World Wars I and II, the emergence of the multiversity, and the rise of the entrepreneurial university under neoliberalism. The author argues that critical flaws related to each of these stages are evident in the contemporary rendition of the U.S. research university and that such flaws must be considered in either drawing from the U.S. model or in seeking to recast it.

Featured Commentary

The Disruptive Dialogue Project: Crafting Critical Space in Higher Education

The Disruptive Dialogue Project (DDP) is a dialogic network of education scholars committed to fostering conversations that trouble normative practices of critical qualitative scholarship, pedagogy, and methodology, within an interstice of the contemporary educational inquiry landscape. In this essay, we describe the origins of the DDP as well as present a conceptual framework of the Project based on four spatial understandings of our disruptive activity (i.e., the DDP space as energy, alternative, critique, and possibility). Building on this conceptual model, we provide an overview two specific strategies / spaces the DDP intentionally cultivates as means of transformation and resilience – “disruptive” academic conference symposia and bi-weekly DDP teleconferences –and discuss the role these activities play in the development of our critical colleagueship. Our intent in sharing the DDP narrative is not to promote imitation of our project, but rather to encourage other critical scholars to create, seek out, produce and pull apart interstices of their own; spaces that disrupt the hegemonic narratives of educational research and faculty life.

Archival Activism: Independent and Community-led Archives, Radical Public History and the Heritage Professions

Drawing on recent research (mainly focused on the UK) this article explores developments in independent, non-professionalized archival and heritage activity and reflects on two dimensions of archival activism. First, this article examines those projects and endeavors which are actively engaged in radical or counter-hegemonic public history-making activities. These non-professional archival initiatives are best understood not as a form of leisure activity or antiquarianism but as social movement archival activism, often allied to a progressive, democratizing, and anti-discrimination political agenda. Second, this article also addresses the attitude of professional archivists and other heritage workers to these social movements. Whilst acknowledging the challenges involved, it suggests that if heritage workers are concerned with fostering more democratized and diverse historical collections then the archive and heritage professionals need to be prepared to actively seek out collaborations and form equitable partnerships with these social movements.

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