Decentering Americanness: Transnational Youth Experiences of Recognition and Belonging in Two U.S. High Schools

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This qualitative study examines how notions of sociopolitical membership and belonging are constructed in conversations about cultural difference. Drawing upon nine months of participant observation, informal conversation, and interviews with transnational youth at two U.S. high schools during the 2013–2014 academic year, my analysis highlights classroom conversations in which notions of “us” and “them” are delimited. These exchanges reveal tensions over the epistemic authority of teachers and how inquiry spaces of the classroom are constructed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)111-128
Number of pages18
JournalAnthropology and Education Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements. This research was supported by research funds awarded by the College of Education and Human Development (CEHD) and a Faculty Fellowship from the Institute of Advanced Study at the University of Minnesota. I wish to thank my research assistants, Bindu Timiri, Eliel Gebru, Amina Jaafar, and one assistant who must remain anonymous for all of their great work, enthusiasm, and valuable contributions to this study. I am especially grateful to the teachers, staff, and students who participated in this project, shared their stories, and pushed my thinking in new directions.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 by the American Anthropological Association


  • American exceptionalism
  • belonging
  • citizenship
  • decentering
  • transnational youth


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