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Diaspora Studies in Education

Toward a Framework for Understanding the Experiences of Transnational Communities


Edited By Rosalie Rolón-Dow and Jason G. Irizarry

The Latino/a diaspora is undoubtedly transforming the demographics and cultural geographies of the United States. Diaspora Studies in Education advances an active use of the concept of «diaspora», focusing on processes that impact the diasporization of the Latino/a population, and more specifically, examining those diasporization processes in the arena of education. Focusing on the education of Puerto Ricans, the second largest Latino/a subgroup, the authors of this volume elucidate themes that are useful not only for those concerned with the education of Puerto Rican youth but also applicable to the study of other diasporic communities. The book is useful as a text in a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses, including foundations of education, multicultural education, anthropology of education, and introductory courses in Latino and ethnic studies departments.
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← viii | ix → Foreword



The story of diaspora is the study of the United States of America. Most of us have been people of some diaspora or other, beginning a couple of hundred thousand years ago with the earliest pilgrimages of our African ancestors to other areas of the globe, and many centuries later moving on to the English pilgrims on the Mayflower, and more recently to the latter-day pilgrims arriving by foot, plane, or ship from countries around the world. As a result, historically, all of us, either personally or through our heritage, have confronted what it means to live and learn as immigrants, refugees, or displaced and dispersed people.

Puerto Ricans, or Boricuas, are a small subsection of this diaspora, yet they provide a dramatic example of it. There are, for instance, more Puerto Ricans living in the continental United States than on the Island. The reasons for this diaspora are complicated and multifaceted, and they include colonization, imperialism, the displacement of farmers to urban areas in Puerto Rico, the scarcity of jobs on the Island, the direct recruitment of Puerto Ricans to the farms of the Northeast United States, the pull of the promise of “streets paved with gold,” and the search for better educational opportunities, among others. Currently numbering over 4,600,000 in the United States—compared with just over 3,700,000 on the Island itself—Puerto Ricans represent a striking modern-day case of immigration, displacement, and diaspora. The implications...

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