Crossing Borders: UTEP to Host Inter-American Ethnographic Symposium

Approximately 150 researchers from across the Americas who are interested in ethnography and education will participate in a unique three-day conference hosted by The University of Texas at El Paso in September 2017.

The 14th Inter-American Symposium on Ethnography and Education, conducted in English, Spanish and Portuguese from Sept. 21-23, will give leading Latin American and Border scholars the chance to share their research. Ethnography is an important field that influences the theory, research and practice of education. The last activity in this continuing series was in 2013 at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The free event’s theme is “Crossing Borders: Disciplines, Languages/Cultures, and Spaces/Places.” The focus, which is uncommon within mainstream educational research, is on the physical and metaphorical practice of crossing borders.
This conference will promote the study of educational practices, processes and policies throughout the Americas with an emphasis on how the educational systems work in relation to immigration and international borders, said Char Ullman, Ph.D., associate professor of teacher education and an event organizer.

“This symposium comes at an opportune time,” Ullman said.

Conference organizers announced the keynote speakers will be Walter D. Mignolo, Ph.D., from Duke University; Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Ph.D., from UCLA; and Ana Maria Rabelo Gomes, Ph.D., from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil.
Mignolo is the William H. Wannamaker professor of romance studies in the Trinity College of Art and Sciences and a professor of literature. He has published extensively on semiotics and literary theory, and worked on different aspects of the modern and colonial world. Mignolo explores concepts such as global coloniality, the geopolitics of knowledge, transmodernity, border thinking and pluriversality.

Faulstich Orellana’s research examines the daily life experiences of the children of immigrants in urban schools and communities. Her research places particular emphasis on children’s work as language and culture brokers for their families. She is a professor of education and associate director of UCLA’s Center for the Study of International Migration. Faulstich Orellana is the author of Immigrant Children in Transcultural Spaces: Language, Learning and Love.

Rabelo Gomes is a professor of anthropology who coordinates an anthropology and education research group and many indigenous education projects. Her research focus is on school culture, indigenous education, learning and culture, and schooling processes. She studied social anthropology as a postdoctoral fellow at the National Museum of Brazil in Rio de Janeiro and the University College London in England.

“We are thrilled to have such prestigious, high-caliber keynote speakers,” said Maria T. de la Piedra, Ph.D., associate dean of graduate studies and research in UTEP’s College of Education and associate professor of bilingual education. “Their work is highly influential across the Americas.”

De la Piedra, one of the event organizers, said the speakers will make their presentations in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Representatives from The University of Texas at El Paso, the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru, Arizona State University, and Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (DIE-CINVESTAV, Mexico) are organizing this event.

Part of the event will be conducted in Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, to provide access to some foreign scholars who may not be able to cross into El Paso.

For more information, please visit the symposium website at