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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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Learning ethnolinguistic borders: Language and diaspora in the socialization of U.S.Latinas/os



(Tato Laviera, from “AmeRícan”)

The rapid rise of the U.S. Latina/o population, now the nation’s largest demographic minority group, has heightened concerns about the future of American identity and brought increased attention to the management of ethnolinguistic diversity. As institutions charged with the interrelated tasks of facilitating language socialization and reproducing the nation’s identity, schools become central sites in which to track processes of ethnolinguistic identity formation. The educational experiences of U.S. Latinas/os, whose identities are constructed in close relation to ideas about linguistic practices (Zentella, 2009), involve learning the ways that minute features of language are positioned as powerful emblems of national affiliation.

This chapter explores the school-based creation of Latina/o ethnolinguistic identities by drawing on the theoretical lens of language ideologies. Defined broadly, language ideologies are “models that link types of linguistic forms with the types of people who stereotypically use them” (Wortham, 2008, p. 43). Latina/o students are often faced with language ideologies that ← 39 | 40 → stigmatize their English and Spanish linguistic practices, and promote their assimilation to English monolingualism. This stigmatization positions Latinas/os on the margins of the U.S., regardless of whether they are born and raised within its borders. Thus, language, education, and U.S. Latinas/os become linked as part of an ideological bundle that is articulated in generic models of assimilation. These models define assimilation as a binary process through which (im)migrants and their descendents come to identify as “American” by dis-identifying with...

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