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Majorities, minorities and migrations in comparative perspective

The theme of the symposium invites us to examine and question social categories and educational practices that define populations as “majorities,” “minorities” or “migrants” in different contexts across the hemisphere. It raises questions such as: What happens when a population that makes up the ‘majority’ in its land of origin gets converted into a ‘minority’ in another country? Or when so-called ‘minorities’ become in fact the majority in their cities or regions, as is the case with many indigenous groups, with those called ‘Hispanics” in Southern California, or with Francophone Canadians in Quebec? Or when tensions arise over the access of ‘majority’ populations (rural or working-class) to compulsory and universal schooling, or even to the university? What processes of inclusion, exclusion, distinction, discrimination, oppression or resistance, among others, take place within the experiences and educational trajectories of populations like those? How do the axes of inequality and diversity intersect in their academic journeys?

Moreover, how to compare the traditions of educational thinking and ethnographic research across different countries of the Americas, given that they reflect very different sociocultural realities? Presenting ethnographic studies carried out in very different contexts, both inside and outside of schools, with very diverse populations, can contribute to this general discussion. See "Possible session themes" for specific suggested areas within this larger theme.

(A note to U.S. and Canadian scholars: This conference offers the opportunity to share your work with colleagues in Latin America, and to learn from their work. It is for all ethnographic research addressing the theme, and is by no means limited to ethnographers who work in Latin America or those who work with Latino populations in the United States and Canada.)