"Chicano writers from El Paso are the most progressive, open-minded, far-reaching, and inclusive writers of them all."

Octavio Romano

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Spotlight: Cynthia Bejerano

Cynthia Bejerano was getting her doctorate at the same time my sister was getting her law degree at ASU. She is one of the founders of Amigos de Las Mujeres de Cd. Juarez. I'm alway forgetting if she is from Gaston or from Anthony. For those of you not from the tri-state region. Going up Interstate 10 from El Paso there are many small towns between El Paso and Las Cruces. Gaston and Anthony are two of these.

Text below is from the New Mexico State University website:
Dr. Bejarano received her Ph.D. from the School of Justice Studies at Arizona State University in 2001 and her Master of Criminal Justice from New Mexico State University in 1997. Dr. Bejarano joined the faculty at New Mexico State University in 2001. Her research interests include youth and justice, U.S. border studies and violence, and race, class, and gender issues within the criminal justice system. Dr. Bejarano was involved with community-based groups in the metropolitan Phoenix area and hopes to continue strong community advocacy in the New Mexico, Texas, and Chihuahua tri-state area.

Cynthia also directs a federal program assisting migrant and seasonal farmworker children to attend the university.

Here's the info on her forthcoming book on University of Arizona Press:

To be published in October 2005.
“This is the only book that deals with both Chicana/o and Mexican youth, with a sophisticated theoretical perspective: border theory, cultural citizenship, and internal colonialism. . . . An innovative approach to the field.” —C. Alejandra Elenes, Arizona State University

Angel was born in Arizona and is part of the in-crowd. She likes clubbing, dancing, and going to car shows. Betzayra is from Mexico City and, despite polio-related disabilities, is the confident group leader of the Mexican girls. Arturo is also from Mexico City; he dresses more fashionably than most other boys and is taunted by the Chicanos. Evelyn was born in Arizona, but her mother was from Mexico and she hangs out with Mexican kids because she thinks they’re nicer than Chicanos. How these and some two dozen other young Latinas and Latinos interact forms the basis of a penetrating new study of identity formation among Mexican-origin border youths, taking readers directly into their world to reveal the labyrinth they navigate to shape their identities.

For Latina/o adolescents who already find life challenging, the borderland is a place that presents continual affirmations of and contradictions about identity—questions of who is more Mexican than American or vice versa. This book analyzes the construction of Mexicana/o and Chicana/o identities through a four-year ethnographic study in a representative American high school. It reveals how identity politics impacts young people’s forms of communication and the cultural spaces they occupy in the school setting. By showing how identities are created and directly influenced by the complexities of geopolitics and sociocultural influences, it stresses the largely unexplored divisions among youths whose identities are located along a wide continuum of “Mexicanness.”
Through in-depth interviews and focus groups with both Mexicana/o and Chicana/o students, Cynthia Bejarano explores such topics as the creation of distinct styles that reinforce differences between the two groups; the use of language to further distinguish themselves from one another; and social stratification perpetuated by internal colonialism and the “Othering” process. These and other issues are shown to complicate how Latinas/os ethnically identify as Mexicanas/os or Chicanas/os and help explain how they get to this point.

In contrast to research that views identity as a reflection of immigration or educational experiences, this study embraces border theory to frame the complex and conflicted relations of adolescents as a result of their identity-making processes. This intimate glimpse into their lives provides valuable information about the diversity among youths and their constant efforts to create, define, and shape their identities according to cultural and social structures.


The link we share with you today is:

Chusma House Press

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