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Border Thinking

Latinx Youth Decolonizing Citizenship

2020
Authors:

Andrea Dyrness and Enrique Sepúlveda III

Border Thinking

Rich accounts of how Latinx migrant youth experience belonging across borders


As anti-immigrant nationalist discourses escalate globally, Border Thinking offers critical insights into how young people in the Latinx diaspora experience belonging, make sense of racism, and long for change. Andrea Dyrness and Enrique Sepúlveda III ask not how to help the diaspora youth assimilate but what the United States and Europe can learn about citizenship from these diasporic youth.

As anti-immigrant nationalist discourses escalate globally, Border Thinking offers critical insights into how young people in the Latinx diaspora experience belonging, make sense of racism, and long for change. Every year thousands of youth leave Latin America for the United States and Europe, and often the young migrants are portrayed as invaders and, if able to stay, told to integrate into their new society. Border Thinkingasks not how to help the diaspora youth assimilate but what the United States and Europe can learn about citizenship from these diasporic youth.

 

Working in the United States, Spain, and El Salvador, Andrea Dyrness and Enrique Sepúlveda III use participatory action research to collaborate with these young people to analyze how they make sense of their experiences in the borderlands. Dyrness and Sepúlveda engage them in reflecting on their feelings of belonging in multiple places—including some places that treat them as outsiders and criminals. Because of their transnational existence and connections to both home and host countries, diaspora youth have a critical perspective on national citizenship and yearn for new forms of belonging not restricted to national borders. The authors demonstrate how acompañamiento—spaces for solidarity and community-building among migrants—allow youth to critically reflect on their experiences and create support among one another.

 

Even as national borders grow more restricted and the subject of immigration becomes ever more politically fraught, young people’s identities are increasingly diasporic. As the so-called migrant crisis continues, change in how citizenship and belonging are constructed is necessary, and urgent, to create inclusive and sustainable futures. In Border Thinking, Dyrness and Sepúlveda decouple citizenship from the nation-state, calling for new understandings of civic engagement and belonging.

Border Thinking

Andrea Dyrness is associate professor in the School of Education at the University of Colorado, Boulder. She is author of Mothers United: An Immigrant Struggle for Socially Just Education (Minnesota, 2011).



Enrique Sepúlveda III is assistant professor in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is coeditor of Global Latin(o) Americanos: Transoceanic Diasporas and Regional Migrations.


Border Thinking

Contents


Introduction: Rethinking Youth Citizenship in the Diaspora


1. Acompañamiento in the Borderlands: Toward a Communal, Relational, and Humanizing Pedagogy 


Enrique Sepúlveda


2. In the Shadow of U.S. Empire: Diasporic Citizenship in El Salvador


3. Negotiating Race and the Politics of Integration: Latinx and Caribbean Youth in Madrid


4. Transnational Belongings: The Cultural Knowledge of Lives in Between


5. Feminists in Transition: Transnational Latina Activists in Madrid 


Andrea Dyrness


Conclusion: Reflections on Acompañamiento in the Borderlands


Acknowledgments


Notes


Bibliography


Index