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The 14th Inter-American Symposium on Ethnography and Education kicks off at UTEP


Close to 300 researchers, scholars, and students from all across the Americas are expected to converge at UTEP over the next three days.

UTEP is co-hosting the 14th Inter-American Symposium on Ethnography and Education with the Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juarez (UACJ), which kicked off this morning.

The Symposium will feature several presentations and discussions on ethnography across the Americas in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

This year’s theme is “Crossing Borders: Disciplines, Languages/Cultures, and Spaces/Places.” The presentations and discussions will focus on crossing epistemological and methodological borders, language borders, national borders and school-community borders.

“We knew it was important to host this conference on the border, in part because of the anti-immigrant rhetoric that is predominant now,” said Char Ullman, associate professor in teacher education.

Ullman and Maria De La Piedra, chair of the bachelor of interdisciplinary studies program, have been prepping for this event for over a year. The University of California, Los Angeles hosted the last symposium back in 2013 and “passed the baton” over to UTEP.

“The organizers asked [De La Piedra and I] to host the next [symposium]. We have written grants, found co-organizers in Mexico, Peru, and the American southwest,” Ullman said.

UTEP also partnered with the Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (DIE-CINVESTAV, Mexico), the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Peru and Arizona State University to put this conference together.

The conference started off with opening remarks from the college of education interim dean, William Robertson.

“The presence, both here and in Cuidad Juárez, is a statement of unity and solidarity so needed in this time when there is heightened talk of walls along our border,” Robertson said.

On Friday, Sept. 22, participants will cross into Cuidad Juárez where UACJ will host presentations for the day.

UTEP decided to co-host with UACJ because of the location.

“It’s more accessible to come [to this region] for scholars from Latin America. Many Latin American scholars knew it would be difficult to acquire a visa, and others said they did not want to enter the U.S. because of President Trump’s anti-Mexican stance. That’s when we decided to have the conference both in Juarez at UACJ and here at UTEP,” Ullman said.

The conference will conclude at UTEP on Saturday, Sept. 23.

“We hope that people will use the symposium as a chance to share their work across linguistic and national boundaries. Usually, that doesn’t happen. We tend to talk to the people in our field, in our dominant language, and in our nation. This symposium turns those norms on its head,” Ullman said.




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The 14th Inter-American Symposium on Ethnography and Education kicks off at UTEP