Autoethnography: The Preservation and Resiliency of the U.S.-Mexico Border People

Conference: The Barcelona Conference on Education (BCE2022)
Title: Autoethnography: The Preservation and Resiliency of the U.S.-Mexico Border People
Stream: Curriculum Design & Development
Presentation Type: Oral Presentation
Toni Muñoz-Hunt, The University of Texas at Dallas, United States


Offering autoethnography as an interdisciplinary writing course enables educators to provide a self-directed form of ethnomethodology, where the lives and histories of their students become part of the course curriculum and overall scholarship, eliciting societal change. This course allows students to rethink their relationships with those around them as they relate to space and environment. By demonstrating multicultural heritage through a process of reexamination despite a recent push for immigration reform at the country’s southern borders, autoethnography becomes a tool for resiliency and inclusivity across multiple disciplines in the overall American metanarrative. Such an approach is essential to archiving and preserving a border population. According to Rodolfo Acuña, for a narrative to "filter down to the barrios, so as to draw young minds and inspire them", present generations of Latinx and Mexican Americans need to seek ways to tell their stories (Acuña 2007). As Donaldo Macedo explains, in "open societies", omission is a "more sophisticated form of censorship". The selective academic choice of bodies of knowledge, bordering on censorship,” is to blame for the lack of “significant contributions to the field of education" (Freire 16). As such, this course is a significant curricular redesign, where students first examine autoethnography as a qualitative research methodology. Utilizing their personal experiences to understand and critique practices, policies, experiences, and familial and cultural constructions shapes the student’s relationship with the world around them. Therefore, repurposing this material into creative narratives sheds light on knowledge production and how identity is formed in society today.

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