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technical paper

AAA Annual Meeting 2021

November 18, 2021

Baltimore, United States

Migration Prevention and Education: Guatemalan indigenous youth, occidental knowledge paradigms and the pursuit of opportunity

keywords:

marginality

epistemology

education

Across geographical contexts, youth from marginalized communities are often rendered objects of moral and political concern (Comaroff & Comaroff 2005). Seen to be in socially and economically precarious positions, these young people are often the targets of various humanitarian and policy interventions. These interventions are frequently aimed at improving their educational outcomes and supporting their meaningful participation within society as productive citizens. Implicit within these projects are highly contested, ever-shifting, and deeply politicized understandings of education, schooling, and success, many of which are entangled in utilitarian, neoliberal, white supremacist, and colonial visions of the world and marginalized youths’ proper place within it. This panel brings together papers that examine how marginalized youth engage, negotiate, and contest normative visions of their education and the types of futures that their formal and informal schooling are envisioned to generate. Drawing from a wide array of geographic contexts and institutional settings, these papers build upon works that have probed how racialized assemblages have disciplined humanity into full humans, not-quite-humans, and nonhumans (Weheliye 2014), and youth as a category that is constantly remade in sociopolitical practice (Durham 2004). Whether through their participation in formal and elective educational settings, their embodied protests on university campuses, or their use of social media to organize and disseminate knowledge, this panel examines how young people from marginalized backgrounds strive to reassert their status as fully human. We ask, how do youth stake their own political claims in educational processes amidst persistent global inequality? How are youth unsettling normative discourses about education, schooling, and success, and making space for the knowledge paradigms and epistemologies that allow them to articulate their own truths and envision alternative futures? In exploring these moves, this panel seeks to generate insights about how young people are engaging in and beyond a world that denies/defies their humanity.

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