Oral Presentation Session
Reviewed by: Council on Anthropology and Education
Of interest to: Practicing and Applied Anthropologists, Students
Primary Theme: Immigration/Migration/Citizenship
Secondary Theme: Teaching
Mexico and the United States have one of the most expansive histories of (im)migration and schooling, which includes bi-directional and circular movement across their shared geopolitical border. Although migration between Mexico and the United States is often assumed to move from South to North, over the past decade this has shifted (Pew Hispanic Center, 2015), and there are at least 500,000 young people with US schooling experiences enrolled in Mexican schools (Gándara, 2016). These transborder/transfronterizo students--- some Mexican-born, some US-born--- often live far from the physical border, and have important experiences crossing fronteras, schooling systems, de facto language polices, and celebrated ways of knowing (Kleyn, 2017; Stephens, 2007). In this panel we take up the 2018 theme of “Change in the Anthropological Imagination” by focusing on the less-explored aspects of (im)migration and schooling between these two countries: we illustrate the ways that transborder children in Mexico enact strategies of “Resistance, Resilience, and Adaptation” as they navigate schooling in a new country.
This session brings together a group of binational scholars working in K-12 Mexican public schools to explore how issues of (im)migration and education policies complexly shape the schooling experiences and trajectories of transborder students. Across these papers we see how varying family members’ access to US Citizenship shapes individual and familial migration decisions, identity formation, and spaces for belonging within their Mexican schools.
By illustrating the textured realties of (im)migration and schooling in Mexico, this panel provide new insights on the ways that transborder families carefully navigate migration and education decisions in the face of anti-Mexican immigration policies in the US. The first paper draws upon two decades of research on binational schooling across both nations to theorize the roles of school in supporting binationally mobile children’s resilience and adaptability. The second paper explores how US-born middle school students in rural, Central Mexico experience and carefully negotiate opportunities for belonging (or exclusion) among their mononational Mexican peers. The third paper, situated in primary and high schools in Puebla, focuses on the ways that official US Citizenship differently shapes mixed-status siblings educational expectations, practices, and binational schooling trajectories while in Mexico. The final paper unearths the ways that transborder students, who often feel “pushed-out” by their Mexican schooling experiences, return to the United States without their caregivers in order to access superior educational or employment opportunities.
Harsh immigration enforcement, an economic recession, and xenophobic policies in the US have increasingly resulted in Mexican nationals returning to Mexico, by force or by choice, where their US-schooled children enroll in Mexican schools. By drawing on ethnographic studies with mixed-status families in Mexico, we illustrate the complexities, challenges, and graceful agency that transfronterizos enact as they figure out schooling. In a politicized context that dehumanizes and often erases Mexican immigrant students and their families, this panel offers a nuanced look at the North-South and circular aspects of (im)migration and schooling.
We allocate five minutes to the chair’s introduction, fifteen minutes per paper, twenty minutes for discussant commentaries and twenty minutes of audience exchange.