Stories from the Field
Edited By David J. Connor and Beth A. Ferri
6. Fictionalized Memories: The Making of a Research Identity in Four Seasons
FEDERICO R. WAITOLLER
It was a sunny, late September morning in 2015—one of the most beautiful months in Chicago. The hot humid summer had passed through the city and the brutal cold winter was not showing any signs of being near. As I drove northwest on Milwaukee Avenue from my home in Humboldt Park, I passed through the now gentrified, hipster, and trendy Logan Square neighborhood, turned left on Diversity and crossed Cicero Ave. My destination was the house of a Latinx family with a child with a disability; my purpose was to interview the mother for a research project. In this particular study, I wanted to understand how parents and their children’s intersecting social locations, such as race and disability, and geographical location in the city shaped their experiences with school choice policies. The purpose of that study, and others I would go on to do, reflected my ongoing research interest into how neoliberal1 informed educational policies (e.g., school choice) affects the educational experiences of students with disabilities from minoritized backgrounds. Indeed, issues of neoliberalism, disability, race, and class-based inequalities are foregrounded in much of my work (see, for example, Waitoller, 2020; Waitoller & Kozleski, 2015; Waitoller & Lubineski, 2019; Waitoller, Nguyen, & Super, 2019).
Chicago has been a great site to understand this topic. As soon as I arrived to the “windy city” in 2011 as an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I was overwhelmed and surprised by how...
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