Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions
The Penn Center for Minority Serving Institutions brings together researchers and practitioners from Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Tribal Colleges and Universities, Hispanic Serving Institutions, and Asian American, Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions. Based at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education, the Center's goals include: elevating the educational contributions of MSIs; ensuring that they are a part of national conversations; bringing awareness to the vital role MSIs play in the nation's economic development; increasing the rigorous scholarship of MSIs; connecting MSIs' academic and administrative leadership to promote reform initiatives; and strengthening efforts to close educational achievement gaps among disadvantaged communities.
PublicationFans in the Gutter: People of Color in Comics Fandom(2020-01-13) Espinoza-Zemlicka, Liam AFandom and so called “geek culture” have often been characterized as a haven for the marginalized, a place where those who fit in nowhere else have been able to form communities around a shared appreciation of media. I am interested in understanding the experiences of people of color in comic book fandom and how they differ from the experiences of white comic fans. I did a pilot study in Los Angeles in the summer of 2018. I conducted five semi structured interviews of Los Angeles area comic book fans who identified as people of color. This data was augmented by data from an online survey of 31 self-identified comic fans over eighteen of any ethnicity which sought to identify how fans reacted to the idea of racial diversity among comic book characters, and in what contexts most fan interactions took place. PublicationThe Shame Framework: Queer Faith in Ana Castillo’s So Far from God(2021-02-17) Montes, Isabella MThis work focuses on queer faith and how queer persons who have struggled with traditional values, public opinion, and lingering violence due to their sexuality, can reclaim their space and voices within religious communities. By redefining purity, exploring an alternative belief system though hybrid spirituality, and understanding the connection between pride and shame, queer persons can establish a dynamic framework, that allows for queer faith to be employed as a method of agency. This is analyzed through a literary perspective, focusing on the work of Ana Castillo’s novel, So Far From God. PublicationSecuritizing Immigrants: Applying Securitization Theory in German Politics(2021-02-17) Uranga, Aaron AThis manuscript demonstrates how the use of securitization by the German political party the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) has gained them votes in the German federal elections. The securitization focused on the refugee crisis and the effects that the refugees would have on Germany and its citizens. While mainstream German political parties adopted a neutral stance towards the crisis, the AfD separated themselves by adopting a strong anti-immigrant stance. The concept of securitization has not been fully applied to the German political parties. As a proxy for the political party, the paper analyzes the policy platforms and statements regarding immigration, designed to gain popularity and votes. In order to do this, the paper first defines securitization and then analyzes a variety of sources, including the political parties’ manifestos, in order to show how they have developed and changed their political agendas and beliefs between the years of 2013-2019. This paper compares voting polls and statistics to examine how the party’s use of securitization has garnered them popularity and votes and to find which groups tend to vote for them. The research showed that the party’s shift to securitizing the refugee crisis resulted in the increase of votes in the German federal elections. The AfD placed a sizable focus on their campaign towards immigration after the beginning of the crisis in 2015. For the AfD whose whole campaign focused on immigration, it saw a huge boost of votes during the 2017 German Federal election, managing to reach third place in the number of votes it received. PublicationAn Autopsy of the Black Revolution: Looking at Henri Christophe through the Césairean lens(2020-01-13) Piard, Johanna MIn his play The Tragedy of King Christophe, Aimé Césaire shows how Henri Christophe is incapable of establishing an anti-colonial black state because he adopts the colonial structure where his subjects are forced into free labor therefore perpetuating slavery. Instead of considering the immediate needs of the country, Christophe attempts to bring Haiti up as an equal competitor in the industrialized West despite its embargo and looming threat of reoccupation. Christophe becomes a slave master (the ultimate capitalist), thriving on the exploitation of his subjects to build the Citadel. This article looks at how Césaire's play brings nuance to "post-colonial" discourse, showing how the initial victims of colonialism can perpetuate this framework if they profit from it.It also highlights the significance this piece of Haitian Revolutionary literature has on global black liberation literary movement. While the play goes beyond the accuracy of true historical events, Césaire contextualizes what dismantling colonialism potentially means. PublicationDeconstructing Cultural Food Borders: The Creation of New Latinidades in Latina Literature through Consumption(2019-02-19) Vigil, ElizabethThis research explores contemporary Latinx literature to examine the way discourse about food is presented as a form of socio-cultural control through the demand for culturally regulated forms of consumption. Judgmental discourse in what is said about food, how it is said, and expected behaviors of consumption are tied to the creation of a collective Latinx cultural identity. This cultural identity and its expected authenticity revolve around eating foods that are considered static segments of Puerto Rican cultural tradition. It works to assess expectations of identity which are forced upon individuals. This investigation looks at how the refusal of cultural foods and the consumption of cross-cultural foods is linked to the crossing of cultural food borders and thereby physical borders. It examines the concept of cultural loyalty through food and the creation of new Latinidades through consumption in Esmeralda Santiago’s, When I Was Puerto Rican. PublicationInternet Memes and Desensitization(2020-01-13) Sanchez, Barbara CInternet memes (IMs) have been used as a visual form of online rhetoric since the early 2000s. With hundreds of thousands now in circulation, IMs have become a prominent method of communication across the Internet. In this essay, I analyze the characteristics that have made IMs a mainstay in online communication. Understanding the definitions and structures of IMs aid in explaining their online success, especially on social platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I use these understandings as a basis from which to theorize how both the creative process in making IMs and the prominence of IMs that utilize images of originally violent or sensitive contexts may relate to existing research correlating violent media and desensitization. The use of these images often involves a disconnection from their original contexts in order to create a new and distinct— in many cases irrelevant— message and meaning. These IMs, in turn, exemplify the belittlement of distress depicted in such images—often for the sake of humor. This essay’s main goal is to propose a new theoretical lens from which to analyze the social and cultural influences on IMs. PublicationOn Being as Passage and Plurality of Self: Postcolonial Caribbean Identity in Merle Hodge's Crick Crack, Monkey(2019-02-15) González Izquierdo, AmandaThis essay examines questions of home and identity in a postcolonial Caribbean context. Situating itself in the dialogue between continental philosophy and postcolonial theory, this research explores how identity formations are processes which negotiate fragmentary demands of being as well as the various ruptures and dislocations that are resultants of colonization. This paper proposes that in thinking of postcolonial identities, we must explicitly and necessarily consider multiplicity, alterity, diaspora, and interstitial spaces. Focusing on Merle Hodge's novel Crick Crack, Monkey, this essay thinks through protagonist Tee's process of becoming, a process which is fluid, dynamic, and never complete. In doing so, this research explores questions about race, enslavement, bearing witness, language, space and place, and (literal and metaphoric) diasporic movements. PublicationSymbol, Signification, and Hashtags as Violence Against Black Bodies; A Comparative Analysis of Michelle Cliff’s No Telephone to Heaven and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen(2021-02-17) Edouard, Lynn SIn Michelle Cliff’s No Telephone to Heaven and Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American lyric the concept of Black subjectivity rendered as symbol is represented through the narratives of Harriet and Trayvon Martin. By using Harriet’s explanation of becoming symbolic in Cliff’s No Telephone To Heaven as a lens to examine Trayvon Martin’s life and death as narrated in Rankine’s Citizen, I expand the conversation of symbolic rendering. In Cliff’s work, symbolic rendering is achieved through sexual violence in the post-colonial Caribbean context. For Rankine, the post-colonial carceral state in U.S. society becomes the site for the symbolic rendering of policy brutality and racial profiling. Using Saussure’s General Linguistics, Foucault’s concept of the PanOpticon, and bell hooks’s Loving Blackness as Political Action, I argue that Cliff and Rankine’s works illuminate how symbolism becomes violence against Black bodies by rendering the lived experiences of the individual as an object. PublicationEstablishing a Fixed Home: The Attempt at Identity Completion in Alvarez’s "Antojos" and Menéndez’s "Her Mother's House"(2021-02-17) Molina, Anaridia RImmigrant experiences are often characterized by identity anxiety and a corresponding longing to identify a single place to call “home.” In Julia Alvarez’s "Antojos" and Ana Menéndez’s "Her Mother's House," the main characters return to their native or ancestral land in search of a space to claim as home, and relatedly, a permanent location for a fixed identity in the Caribbean. This paper examines how in these works, typically unbeknownst to the protagonists themselves, establishing a home regularly takes the form of securing what they perceive to be “wholeness” and “completion.” I argue that the texts reveal that the protagonists’ search for a fixed and static place to call home, derived from desires of identity completion, cannot be found, and rather their place of arrival can solely exist in the ambiguity of language and memory. As such, eventually, the reader is prompted to understand that not having a traditional essentialized notion of home to guide the protagonists frees them and allows them to embrace rather than reject their linguistic and spatial multiplicities. PublicationNo Estoy Sola (I Am Not Alone): Addressing Gender-Based Violence through Community-Based Theater(2021-02-17) Mena, Annel AIn this article, I analyze how women at the border city of El Paso address the #MeToo movement and gender-based violence through community-based theatre. By using testimonios and performance ethnography, I analyze the power of storytelling to create awareness of gender-based violence on the border and ability to create solidarity. The theater has become an effective way of addressing such a stigmatized topic. The performance of the theater has inspired a workshop that is now used to help survivors heal their wounds by understanding that they are not alone.