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Category: latin@s & ed (Page 1 of 2)

New Date: 4.16.15 Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon – Book Talk by Author Vanessa Pérez Rosario

Becoming Julia de Burgos  Cover, courtesy VPerezRosario

Becoming Julia de Burgos Cover, courtesy VPerezRosario

The Latin American Studies program, the Department of Educational Studies, ENLACE, the program in Spanish, the Gender & Sexualities Studies program, and the Department of English present:

Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon

A Book Talk by
Dr. Vanessa Pérez Rosario

Note new date & room:

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Kohlberg Room 115, Swarthmore College 

While it is rare for a poet to become a cultural icon, Julia de Burgos has evoked feelings of bonding and identification in Puerto Ricans and Latinos in the United States for over half a century. In the first book-length study written in English, Vanessa Pérez-Rosario examines poet and political activist Julia de Burgos’s development as a writer, her experience of migration, and her legacy in New York City, the poet’s home after 1940. Pérez Rosario situates Julia de Burgos as part of a transitional generation that helps bridge the historical divide between Puerto Rican nationalist writers of the 1930s and the Nuyorican writers of the 1970s. Becoming Julia de Burgos departs from the prevailing emphasis on the poet and intellectual as a nationalist writer to focus on her contributions to New York Latino/a literary and visual culture. It moves beyond the standard tragedy-centered narratives of Burgos’s life to place her within a nuanced historical understanding of Puerto Rico’s peoples and culture to consider more carefully the complex history of the island and the diaspora. Pérez Rosario unravels the cultural and political dynamics at work when contemporary Latina/o writers and artists in New York revise, reinvent, and riff off of Julia de Burgos as they imagine new possibilities for themselves and their communities. This talk will also feature newly discovered archival material not included in the book that focuses on the poet’s legacy in the New York City Public Schools in the 1970s.

Follow: #LatinoLit, #LatinoEdu,  #TeacherLives

For questions:

About the Author

Courtesy of VPerezRosario

Courtesy of VPerezRosario

Vanessa Pérez Rosario (@VanessaYPerez) is Associate Professor of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies at Brooklyn College—City University of New York. Her research and teaching interests include Transnational Feminism, Latino Cultural Studies and Spanish in the United States. She is the author of Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon (University of Illinois Press, 2014) and the editor of Hispanic Caribbean Literature of Migration: Narratives of Displacement (Palgrave 2010). She has received numerous fellowships including the Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellowship, a Post-Doctoral Fellowship at the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, an American Association of University Women fellowship and a library fellowship at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University. Her work has appeared in Centro Journal, Meridians, and Translation Review. She currently serves on the board of Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage project at the University of Houston. She is Interim co-Principal Investigator of the CUNY—New York State Initiative on Emergent Bilinguals.


Information on Julia de Burgos

García, N. Julia de Burgos (en Español). La Respuesta Magazine

Relevant Curricular Material

Pérez, V. (2015). CUNY-NYSIEB Guide to Translanguaging in Latino/a Literature. Retrieved February 4, 2015, from

Book reviews:

Book Review: Becoming Julia de Burgos: The Making of a Puerto Rican Icon by Vanessa Pérez Rosario

Sun 11.16.14: José Luis Vilson – This is Not a Test: #TeacherLives Speaker @Swarthmore

José Luis Vilson, courtesy of @theJLV

José Luis Vilson, courtesy of @theJLV

Free and Open to Public

#TeacherLives Speaker Series

José Luis Vilson: This is Not a Test

Sunday, November 16th

4:00 – 5:00p: Book Talk, Q & A

5:00- 6:00p: Light Food and Refreshments

Scheuer Room, Kohlberg Hall, Swarthmore College

In his book This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education, José Vilson writes about race, class, and education through stories from the classroom and researched essays. In this talk he will describe his rise from rookie math teacher to prominent teacher leader which takes a twist when he takes on education reform through his now-blocked eponymous blog, He calls for the reclaiming of the education profession while seeking social justice.

José Luis Vilson is a math educator for a middle school in the Inwood / Washington Heights neighborhood of New York, NY. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Syracuse University and a master’s degree in mathematics education from the City College of New York. He is also a committed writer, activist, web designer, and father.

Follow on Twitter: #TeacherLives

For questions about the series please contact Edwin Mayorga or @eimayorga



Educational Studies, Sociology & Anthropology, Latin American Studies & The Lang Center for Civic & Social Responsibility (all at Swarthmore College)

Reviews of This is Not a Test

Through the book runs references to rap music, to Hip-Hop, to other cultural references that flow naturally among those a generation far younger than mine and in a culture that is not mine. And yet, of course, it works for Vilson, because it is his generation and his culture. These references help to illustrate one of his central themes: that teachers must be able to identify with their students to understand them, to get below their surface, to make connections beyond academics, in order to reach them and teach them. He cares deeply what his students think and feel.

Diane Ravitch (read review)


Perhaps our task as readers and critics can be to see how certain stories might reclaim or decolonize these older genres, how they highlight the power dynamics and the cultural values we don’t often recognize or confront, and how they prompt us to consider not just whose stories get told but how these stories get told.

José Vilson’s soon-to-be-published book This Is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education does just that.

Audrey Watters, Hack Education blog (read review)


But if Vilson has a primary thesis, it’s to be found in the quote above: the “teacher voice” is sorely lacking in our conversations today about education and its role in the perpetual problems of race and class that dog our society.

Jersey Jazzman blog (read review)

Tonight (11/6) Precious Knowledge Screening + Convo with Curtis Acosta


Free and Open to the Public

Screening of Precious Knowledge and Conversation with MAS teacher, Curtis Acosta

November 6, 5:30 pm.

Swarthmore College

Kohlberg Hall, Scheuer Room.

Precious Knowledge portrays one of the final years of the highly successful but controversial Mexican American Studies (MAS) Program at Tucson High School. The program was a national model of educational success—93% of its enrolled students graduated from high school and 85% went on to attend college, bucking a statewide trend that saw only 48% of Latino students graduating at all. The program taught Mexican and American history, as well as Central and South American literature and culture. But the political tide shifted in Arizona in the 2000s, and in the midst of controversial state-level immigration reform lawmakers turned their attention to Tucson High’s ethnic studies program, and MAS in particular. Opponents of the program launched a campaign to convince the public that ethnic studies teach everything from communism to terrorism to “reverse racism.” The film follows some of the students and educators who fought to save their program and to provide Ethnic Studies for everyone.

The movie screening will be followed with a Q&A (via Skype) with Tucson MAS teacher Curtis Acosta* and a discussion of Ethnic Studies here at Swarthmore.

Food provided by Taqueria Michoacana (Norristown)

Sponsored by ENLACE,  Educational Studies, Film and Media Studies, and Latin American Studies.

For more information contact Edwin Mayorga,

Follow: #TeacherLives and #SaveEthnicStudies


*CurtisAcosta was a high school teacher for nearly 20 years in Tucson, where he developed and taught Chican@/Latin@ Literature classes for the renowned Mexican American Studies program in the Tucson Unified School District.In response to the elimination of Mexican American Studies in Tucson, Curtis created the Chican@ Literature, Art and Social Studies (CLASS) program where high school students receive free college credit through a partnership with Prescott College. He is also the founder of the Acosta Latino Learning Partnership; an educational consultation firm committed to help educators create empowering and engaging pedagogical practices in their classrooms and schools, along with being a founding member of the newly established Xican@ Institute for Teaching and Organizing (XITO). XITO is a sponsored program through Prescott College that strives to support the Xican@/Latin@ community through teacher preparation, social justice pedagogy, and community organizing.


In Lak’ech

Luís Valdez

Tú eres mi otro yo.
You are my other me.
Si te hago daño a ti,
If I do harm to you,
Me hago daño a mi mismo.
I do harm to myself.
Si te amo y respeto,
If I love and respect you,
Me amo y respeto yo.
I love and respect myself.

From the poem Pensamiento Serpentino por Luis Valdez

For more go to:’ech-you-are-my-other


precious knowledge poster

Toward Digital, Critical, Participatory Action Research: Lessons from the #BarrioEdProj

In July 2014 the online Journal for Interactive Technology and Pedagogy released its fifth issue. Under the theme of Media and Methods for Opening Education the issue included my first piece on my digital, critical participatory action research (D+CPAR) project (and my dissertation): The Education in our Barrios Project, #barrioedproj. See the abstract below. For the complete article you can go here.

Digital Infrastructure is contested terrain.
This is a map of Free Wi-Fi locations in East Harlem

Edwin Mayorga
Swarthmore College


The Education in our Barrios project, or #BarrioEdProj, is a digital critical participatory action research (D+CPAR) project that examines the interconnected remaking of public education and a New York City Latino core community in an era of racial capitalism. This article is a meditation on the ongoing development of #BarrioEdProj as an example of strategically coupling digital media with the theories and practices of critical participatory action research (CPAR). The author describes the project and the theoretical and political commitments that frame this project as a form of public and participatory science. The author then discusses some of the lessons that have been learned as the research group implemented the project and decided to move to a digital archiving model when our digital media design was initially ineffective. The author argues that rather than dropping digital media, engaged scholars must continue to explore the potentially transformative work that can come from carefully devised D+CPAR.

Read the complete article here:

I am also a contributing author to another article in this issue of JITP:

The InQ13 POOC: A Participatory Experiment in Open, Collaborative Teaching and Learning

Making room for classrooms?: Land grabs and the destruction of school communities

The three sites are truly special opportunities as they present sizable developments within submarkets having limited available land for any substantial development, and are located within neighborhoods exhibiting exceptionally strong residential market fundamentals. They are among the few chances remaining to build large projects in their respective neighborhoods. – RFEI created by CBRE for the NYC Educational Construction Fund

‘As NYCHA announces plans around selling off of pieces of land to condo developers this week, and libraries have begun to sell off their land footprint in order to remain open, the frenzy over real estate has all too quietly continued within the New York City public education system.

In February of this year the Westside Rag broke the story about New York City proposing to demolish three schools and offer the land and air rights to real east developers. These proposed plans have led to east and westside turf wars between real estate developers and local school communities that hardly anyone is talking about.

PS 191 (W. 61st St) and PS 199 (W. 71st St.) on the Upper West Side and CO-OP Tech (CTE) (E. 96th St) on the Upper East Side/East Harlem (depending on who you are talking to) are the targeted schools. In exchange for rights to develop on each school’s footprint and providing city funded support, developers would be required to integrate the schools into the bottom floors of the new condo high rises.

I began following this story in February but little was being said after that initial volley in educational news streams. I was recently re-engaged in the issue when a former teacher education students of mine who is now a teacher at PS 191 asked me to sign a petition in support of saving her school.

This story begins with parents from the schools discovering a glossy 82 page “request for expression of interest” (RFEI) that was prepared by CBRE on behalf of the NYC Education Construction Fund, offering these three sites as some of the last ‘sizable’ pieces land left for speculation in these regions of Manhattan.

The Executive Summary says it best:

On behalf of the New York City Educational Construction Fund (“ECF”), CBRE is pleased to offer for your consideration three prime development sites, two of which are located on the Upper West Side, and one on the Upper East Side. The three sites are truly special opportunities as they present sizable developments within submarkets having limited available land for any substantial development, and are located within neighborhoods exhibiting exceptionally strong residential market fundamentals. They are among the few chances remaining to build large projects in their respective neighborhoods. Prospective respondents are invited to bid on one, two, or all three sites. Prospective respondents should be aware that the number of sites transacted will be largely determined by the quality of the bids and the decision of the ECF.

“On the surface the proposal is being depicted as something wonderful to embrace,” said Madeline Bender, mother of a PS 191 pre-K student and the incoming PTA president, “but there does not seem like there is anything [about this] that is conducive to learning.” In speaking with Ms. Bender and Stacie Lorraine, a teacher at PS 191 one of the co-leaders of the MMS/PS 191 redevelopment committee, there has been no meaningful engagement of the various school communities being affected by this proposal, the plans for providing a temporary educational space for the displaced students has been poorly communicated and potentially inadequate for the students, and undermines the tremendous progress the school has made in recent years.

In this blog posts that follow I want to document what’s been happening (starting with PS 191) in order to encourage others to, first, stand with these school communities and, second, to suggest how this struggle is yet another lesson on the ideas and practices of free-market driven, colorblind, education policy that dominates our time.

For now I want to direct your attention to No Demolition Website, the petition, and today’s march and rally.

Call for Youth Researchers! Education in our Barrios Research Study

Positions have been filled as of 5/23/13

  • Did you grow up in, or go to school in, a Latino-majority community in New York City?

  • Are you a college-aged person (18-24) interested in developing your skills as a researcher and technology expert in the 21st century?

  • Are you interested in learning about, and changing, public education and policies that affect diverse communities?

 Join the Education in our Barrios (EoB) study ( as a youth researcher! This is aresearch study on public education reform in New York City Latino core neighborhoods (neighborhoods that are, or have historically been, majority Latino). The principal investigator for the study is Edwin Mayorga, a doctoral student in Urban Education at the City University of New York- Graduate Center ( EoB is a digitally mediated qualitative study that includes archival research; conducting digitally recorded interviews; editing digital video; developing a website for sharing data; and data transcription, coding and analysis work.Researchers will receive training to develop both research and digital technology skills.

Duration of Internship

  • Data collection will last from June 2013 to December 2013.
  • 10-15 hours per week
  • 30 weeks


  • $1500 stipend  ($250 a month)


  • You must be 18 years of age or older
  • Either be a resident of East Harlem or a person who attended East Harlem schools.


  • Take human subject research certification;
  • Experience with qualitative research;
  • Spanish-English Bilingual;
  • Experience with WordPress

If interested please contact Edwin Mayorga ( or 917-400-6255 and submit either your résumé or CV. Learn more about Edwin at or twitter: @chinolatino78

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