Preface by Paul Willis
This reader begins a conversation about the many aspects of critical youth studies. Chapters in this volume consider essential issues such as class, gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, cultural capital, and schooling in creating a dialogue about and a conversation with youth. In a society that continues to devalue, demonize, and pathologize young women and men, leading names in the academy and youth communities argue that traditional studies of youth do not consider young people themselves. Engaging with today’s young adults in formal and informal pedagogical settings as an act of respect, social justice, and transgression creates a critical pedagogical path in which to establish a meaningful twenty-first century critical youth studies.
18 Conocimiento: Mixtec Youth sin fronteras
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Conocimiento, for Anzaldúa, is
an overarching theory of consciousness … all the dimensions of life, both inner—mental, emotional, instinctive, imaginal, spiritual, bodily realms—and outer—social, political, lived experiences … the awareness of facultad that sees through all human acts whether of the individual mind and spirit or of the collective, social body. (Hérnandez-Ávila & Anzaldúa, 2000, p. 177)
In this chapter, we explore examples of Conocimiento Theory through the interactions of a senior-level university student working with migrant youth from Mixtec backgrounds (from Oaxaca, Mexico) in an urban high school in southern California. A segment of a conversation between Fabiola Martinez and a high-school student she tutors hints at the need for a theoretical approach such as Conocimiento according to Anzaldúa. This is a way to view and support the strengths and challenges of youth in migrant situations. Fabiola noted in her journal:
A young tenth grader approached me asking about my own living situations. “Maestra, usted vive sola?” she said. I went on to say I had a roommate, then I had to explain what a roommate was, and that I take care of my personal things.
She asked if I missed my family, but specifically, she asked if my missed my mother. At the moment this wasn’t awkward, later I made the connection. A while later that day … she went on to share with me that she had lived in Mexico while her mother lived...
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