Espiritu, an undocumented college student, narrates her journey of hyperdocumentation – the excessive production of documents, texts, and papers in an effort to compensate for undocumented status or feelings unworthiness – through her own drawings. Her story is one among so many that need to be told.
Doing research, or storytelling, in this age of post-truth feels entirely demoralizing and … necessary. In a time when any utterance of text is suspect, it can be downright frightening at most and risky, at least, to document anything. When we see powerful leaders spewing personal beliefs and emotions in lieu of facts and evidence, and people embracing this approach to the world, what are we left with? But the irony of all of this is that right when we find ourselves discouraged to speak is the same time when we must bring our stories to the forefront because they are most threatened. We must also find and provide outlets for young people to share their stories – telling our truths is still the best defense against despair.
Espiritu’s big, round, enveloping eyes are dark brown, almost black. Her shiny hair, done up in the most precise tresses, hangs easily below her waist. Soaking wet, she is maybe one hundred pounds. There is a shyness to her toothy smile and an eagerness for knowledge that is palpable. An unaccompanied minor, she hyperdocumented her way through high school, community college and then to a prestigious four-year university on full scholarship. “Hyperdocumentation” is a term I use to define the excessive production of documents, texts, and papers in an effort to compensate for undocumented status or feelings of unworthiness – something I experienced and continue to experience as a once undocumented immigrant myself.
Latin American youth leaders come to the U.S. every summer to gain skills to take back to their home countries. Over the twentieth century, American nation-states cultivated children and youth as cultural diplomats to promote capitalist-oriented development under the guise of hemispheric brotherhood. But upending the historical flow of knowledge production, this generation is prepared to engage and to defend their local realities and traditions.
A Virtual Reunion
From Panama, Nathanael—Natha, for short—leaned into his headset microphone, his face projected on the wall of a Miami University classroom bursting beyond capacity: “You all have a beautiful campus, wonderful working infrastructure, and incredible access to resources,” he affirmed. The Ohio students nodded—they’ve been told this since first setting foot on Miami’s campus. Indeed, institutional lore attributes an oft-repeated quote to Robert Frost, who hailed it as “the most beautiful campus that there ever was.” “We don’t have that here in Panama,” Natha emphasized, “but we do have ideas for social and political change.”
Roger chimed in to the virtual session from Ecuador, affable but pressing: “We have great projects going on, but our resources are constantly imperiled. Find ways to partner with us so that we can work together to effect change at the local level.” A political science major at the Universidad Central de Ecuador, Roger is also a member of the Colectivo Nueva Democracia, which encourages political engagement premised on fomenting cultures of dialogue and consent among emerging young leaders from differing political ideologies. On the side, he’s developing an app to promote eco-tourism in the Ecuadorian Amazon.
CFP: RETHINKING CHILD AND YOUTH MARGINALITIES: MOVEMENTS, NARRATIVES, AND EXCHANGES
Conference information is now available! Click here to visit the conference website, access registration, and view details.
Anthropology of Childhood and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG) Biennial Conference
March 7-9, 2019
Rutgers University—Camden, NJ
Co-Sponsored by: AAA Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group, Department of Childhood Studies (Rutgers-Camden), Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice (Rutgers-Camden), and The Graduate School (Rutgers-Camden)
Here are some other exciting conference highlights:
Three professional development sessions: Publishing in an academic journal, Publishing a book manuscript; Navigating the job market
Youth-led panels: Camden and Philadelphia activism, LGBTQ+ narratives and experiences, visual and multi-media arts, social entrepreneurism, youth Radio & creative writing
Community experiences: Youth-led discussion of Camden-based documentary at Hopeworks, https://hopeworks.org & Stedman Gallery exhibit tour: Camden: Past, Present and Future, which features artwork from children & youth (sign-up onsite at conference)
Optional “Taste of Camden” conference dinner Friday evening ($45)
Call for Submissions – February 2019 Issue (for Call as a PDF click here)
Dear ACYIG Members,
ACYIG is now soliciting submissions for the February 2019 issue of Neos. We are accepting submissions on a rolling basis between Monday, December 17, and Monday, January 7. The final deadline for submission is Monday, January 7, 2019. If possible, please notify me of your intent to submit by the start of the rolling period (December 17), so that I can identify peer reviewers in a timely manner.
New Submission Process: To submit an article or feature, please use this form. For any questions about the submission process or about the form, please email the Neos Editor at [email protected].
We accept two types of submission: Peer-Reviewed Articles and Features. Details for each can be found in the following.
Co-edited by Kristen Cheney and Aviva Sinervo (SFSU), containing chapters from up-and-coming childhood and development studies scholars, and covering most regions of the world, the volume critically considers how transnational charitable industries are created and mobilized around childhood need by exploring how humanitarian interventions for children in difficult circumstances engage in affective commodification and objectification of disadvantaged childhoods. The authors argue that, though these processes can help achieve the goals of donors and aid organizations, they can also perpetuate the conditions that organizations seek to alleviate—thereby endangering the very children they intend to help.
Buenos Aires is multicultural. Buenos Aires is cosmopolitan. Buenos Aires is welcoming and inclusive. Buenos Aires is a city of migrants. These were the messages I heard from state officials while conducting research in Buenos Aires during 2016 and 2017. Such narratives circulated through the city government’s monthly cultural programing—programing that attracts thousands to iconic parks and streets to eat ethnic food and to celebrate immigrant communities: Buenos Aires Celebra Colombia, Buenos Aires Celebra Italia, Buenos Aires Celebra Paraguay, and so on and so forth. This programing is complemented by commemorative events organized by the national immigration office at the city’s historic museum of immigration.
This robust programming resembles what Lugones (2014) calls “ornamental multiculturalism,” or a multiculturalism that “reduces non-Western cultures to ornaments to be enjoyed touristically,” while ignoring and obscuring structures of power. These events each generate colorful flyers, professional photographs, short videoclips and hashtags through which the message of an inclusive, multicultural state are circulated via Facebook, Twitter, and government websites.
Yet amid these messages is another, also incredibly robust scene of cultural production, one assembled by migrant youth living in Buenos Aires. This scene involves theater performances, books published with carton and fabric scraps, and radio programing. It is multicultural, multilingual and transnational, and it creates an alternative to the state’s ornamental multiculturalism. It does not shy away from analyzing power relations and deliberately enlists culture as a vehicle for resistance.
Neos is looking for volunteers to peer-review article submissions! We are currently in the process revamping our database of reviewers and require you to opt in!
Neos is a bi-annual publication of the Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG) of the American Anthropological Association (AAA). This publication consists of peer-reviewed short articles as well as editor-reviewed feature pieces.
Neos relies on the work of many volunteers, including the editor, assistant editors (copy editor, layout editor, and more), the ACYIG communication team, and a multitude of advisory board members for both Neos and ACYIG, and, importantly, article reviewers!
If you are interested in the peer-review process, willing and able to review one or two short articles (~1000 words!), have great attention to detail, and can respond within a short turnaround, you would be a great asset to Neos!