Through my research with Colombian refugee youth in Ecuador and with Latin American youth affected by the drug war, I have seen how the Colombian armed conflict is embedded in inter- and transnational circuits. This has inspired me to root my pedagogical practice in what I call critical transnationalism.

I conceptualize critical transnationalism as the capacity that learning communities develop to unravel the logics and processes that asymmetrically connect diverse actors across national borders. To cultivate and promote critical transnationalism in my classes, I create a platform from which participants can think critically, creatively, and collectively about borders and their dynamics.

For example, in my Human Rights and Education course, we address child labor and access to education by linking the makeup industry in the United States with mica production in South Asia and South America; in my Education in Emergencies and Refugees course, we discuss the impact of anti-immigration policies in the United States on the educational experiences of South and Central American migrants. In the study-abroad program Human Rights, Armed Conflict, and Education in Colombia, we analyzed human rights violations in relation to the cocaine supply chain flowing from the Colombian Pacific to the street markets of Los Angeles.

By tracing and examining the relationships that link seemingly disparate places and events, I encourage students to question the very concept of the national border and how borders can obscure the rich, complicated, and problematic relationships between distant territories and societies.

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I currently teach the following courses:

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Human Rights & Education (undergraduate level)
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Education in Emergencies. (undergraduate level)
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Education across the Americas: Empire, Capitalism, and Resistance (undergraduate level)
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The State & Ed Policy in a Comparative Perspective (graduate level)
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Conflict, Human Rights and Education in Colombia (study abroad)
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Doctoral Students.

Alison Estudiante
Alison Victoria Shepherd.

Ally is an English educator studying for a PhD in nonformal language education for refugees in Europe. She uses participatory and visual methods in her research methodology.

Kelsey estudiante
Kelsey Dalrymple.

Using qualitative and ethnographic methods, Kelsey’s research focuses on education in emergencies and social-emotional learning with refugees and crisis-affected communities. Her geographic area of interest is East Africa.

Zaira Magan estudiante
Zaira Magana.

Zaira’s doctoral research project analyzes the tension between the impacts that violence has had on Mexican schools in a context of increasing militarization and the war against drug trafficking and the pedagogical practices that allow teachers to continue educating in emergency contexts.

Lina Rangel estudiante de postgrado
Lina Rangel

Lina is an anthropologist from the Universidad de los Andes in Colombia and holds a master’s degree in Comparative Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is currently a doctoral student in educational policy studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison with research interests in migration and educational policies and their impact on students’’ civic identity.

Johanny Amaya Melgar

Johanny has a B.A. in Foreign Languages from the National Autonomous University of Honduras and a Master's in Educational Foundations, Practice, and Policy from the University of Colorado-Boulder through the Fulbright program. She is co-founder of the organization Empower Honduras, where she has worked with young people from vulnerable sectors of Honduras.

Potential students.

For people who are interested in working with me during their PhD, I recommend the following steps:

1. Fill out the application form.

2. Schedule an appointment of no more than 45 minutes
where we can get to know each other and explore opportunities for collaboration.

I am currently open to working with potential students on issues related to the state, political violence, and educational policy.

Please summarize in one paragraph your academic/work background and research interests.

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