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Diaspora Studies in Education

Toward a Framework for Understanding the Experiences of Transnational Communities

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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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Introduction: Towards a diaspora framework

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ROSALIE ROLÓN-DOW & JASON G. IRIZARRY

The idea of diaspora offers a ready alternative to the stern discipline of primordial kinship and rooted belonging.… [D]iaspora is a concept that problematizes the cultural and historical mechanics of belonging. It disrupts the fundamental power of territory to determine identity by breaking the simple sequence of explanatory links between place, location, and consciousness. (Gilroy, 2000, p. 123)

What does it mean to live in between? / What does it take to realize / that being Boricua / is a state of mind / a state of heart / a state of soul… / No nací en Puerto Rico. / Puerto Rico nacío en mi. (Fernández, “Ode to the Diasporican”)

Both of the authors writing this introduction identify as Boricua, or Puerto Rican. Through vastly different experiences, Puerto Rico was born in each of our hearts and souls. Having lived in Puerto Rico during her first 12 years of life, Rosalie’s memories include picking mangos with her abuelo from his backyard tree, hearing Spanish songs echoing off the church walls on Sunday mornings, falling in love with the Puerto Rican mountains as she spent countless summer days exploring the natural world around her home with siblings and friends, and writing poems in fourth grade that spoke of Puerto Rico as a tiny island to be cherished and loved. She also remembers the mixed feelings that came along with packing up her home’s...

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