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“Yes, and … ”: continuing the scholarly conversation about immigration and higher education

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Communication Education
ISSN: 0363-4523 (Print) 1479-5795 (Online) Journal homepage:
“Yes, and … ”: continuing the scholarly
conversation about immigration and higher
C. Kyle Rudick & Deanna P. Dannels
To cite this article: C. Kyle Rudick & Deanna P. Dannels (2018) “Yes, and … ”: continuing the
scholarly conversation about immigration and higher education, Communication Education, 67:1,
120-123, DOI: 10.1080/03634523.2017.1392584
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Migrating pedagogy in American universities: cultivating
moral imagination and social justice
Omar Swartz
and Lucy Ware McGuffey
Master of Humanities/Master of Social Science Program (MHMSS), University of Colorado Denver, Denver,
Department of Political Science, University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO, USA
One moment, there seems no way forward, and the next everything is within our grasp. One
moment, we are lost in a snake-infested desert, and the next we are wandering city streets.
Either we travel on or we are taken forever from our intended paths. All the beginnings
and all the endings are in the hands of the great unknown, whose merciless ways remain
an eternal mystery.
The character in Abu Bakr Khalls novel, African Titanics, describes the world of illegal
African migrants as they take their risky journeys to Europe. Sadly, the characters
above description of his journey echoes the feelings of uncertainty and unpredictability
many of our own immigrant students have told us they face. And it is not hard to under-
stand why. The current climate in which the university nds itself is dominated by laws,
policies, and political discourse that dehumanize certain students (Blow, 2016; Giroux,
2016; Kellner, 2016; Maker, 2016).
Many of our students are otheredin todays
America by virtue of their economic class, ethnicity, and sexuality; however, immigrants,
and particularly Muslim immigrants, are at specic risk from both the policies and dis-
courses of the current administration. It would be naïve to think that our current historic
moment is unique, though. Speaking in 1931, United States Secretary of Labor William
A. Doak expressed a similar sentiment: My conviction is that by strict limitation and a
wise selection of immigration, we can make America stronger in every way, hastening
the day when our population shall be more homogenous(Watkins, 2000).
In short, his-
torically and today, the crafted identities in the international refugee and the American
immigration regimes hinder recognition of the basic rights and humanity of migrants,
thus institutionalizing oppression through supporting programs that prevent global mobi-
lity and serve to reinforce racism at home. This external racism of our immigration pol-
icies mirrors the internal one by naturalizing socially constituted subject positions that
foster fear and hatred of the other,thus emboldening exclusionary politics.
This is not an abstract issue for the academy. Since TrumpselectioninNovember
2016, institutions of higher education have been struggling to deal with the surge in pol-
itical, legal, and interpersonal threats toward immigrant students (Alexander, 2016;
© 2017 National Communication Association
CONTACT Omar Swartz Master of Humanities/Master of Social Science Program
(MHMSS), University of Colorado Denver, Denver, CO, USA
VOL. 67, NO. 1, 102123
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Braaten, 2017). Given the injurious effects on students, the current uncertainty regard-
ing DACA and other immigration and refugee policies only confirms the importance of
engaged pedagogy around these issues. These students and their allies look to us for
support and assurances.
The academy can, and should, help our studentsregardless
of their immigration statuscontest increased social inequality and exclusionary dis-
course toward immigrants that is now being amplified by the Trump Administration.
It is in this context that we view the classroom as a site of cultural and political engage-
ment, one that implicates, as well as critiques, university culture as well as our own sense
of humanity. Here, we have the opportunity to labor for freedom, to demand of our-
selves and our comrades, an openness of mind and heart that allows us to face reality
even as we collectively imagine ways to move beyond boundaries, to transgress
(hooks, 1994,p.207).
This essay investigates the challenges involved with enacting hooks vision of edu-
cation as the practice of freedomin the midst of the current intensification of societal
inequality for immigrants. Based on our scholarly analysis of the current political and
educational setting, and on our experiences, we organize this essay in two sections.
First, we bring our backgrounds to bear to explain how the recurring history of exclu-
sionist immigration and refugee policies can provide insight into the situation facing
the academy today. We examine how problems of the present are fundamentally
similar to the injustices of the past. By examining contending positions in the debates
with particular focus to the rhetorical strategies and the subject positions constituted,
we accentuate the communicative factors that construct community on exclusionary
grounds. Second, we discuss a pedagogical approach to this issue that is situated in
the concept of moral imagination(Lederach, 2005): listening to the voices of migrants
articulated in the literature and statements of activists and contextualizing those voices
in the lives of our students, enabling us to focus on learning as a joyful immersion and
integration of life and knowledge.
Current and recurrent US immigrant policy and public discourse
Although the players are new, we encourage contemplation on how much is truly new in
the current US policy debates regarding the Trump Administrations proposed travel ban
and his uncompromising antagonism toward undocumented persons. We do recognize
that the issues are much larger than that of a single individual. Whether or not President
Trumps travel ban is ever enacted (or how it becomes enacted) or if his wall on the
southern border is constructed is not the point. There has been and continues to be exclu-
sionary rhetoric of which different minority groups are the victims (in this case, Latinx and
Muslims); exclusionary immigration laws have long followed exclusionary rhetoric
throughout the history of the United States with catastrophic results for the people
involved. To take two examples: during the Great Depression (19311934) between half
a million and a million Mexicans were returned to Mexico (approximately one-third of
the population of people of Mexican descent living in the U.S. at the time, including chil-
dren born here in the U.S.). Sixty percent of this population were people who were legal
citizens of the U.S. Better known is the internment of Japanese and Japanese Americans
during the Second World War (Balderrama & Rodriguez, 1995; Ngai, 2004; Schrag,
2010). This historical context is why Kevin R. Johnson is able to argue convincingly
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that an important nexus exists (what he calls a mirror) between immigration law and the
domestic treatment of minorities; in other words, we cannot ignore how we treat immi-
grants because, historically, it says something about how we treat (or define) our own
people (Johnson, 2004).
International pressures and events have also affected immigration policies and laws
(Dudziak, 2000). Who actually falls into the category of legitimatehas varied histori-
cally, depending on politics. Groups, such as the Irish and Italian, became whiteonly
in the twentieth century when they were needed to bolster a united front against black
people (Ignatiev, 1995), while Eastern European migrants counted as refugees because
they were fleeing the Soviet Bloc (Schrag, 2010). Tightly restrictive immigration measures
have been embedded in scientific discourse (e.g., eugenics) (Pasco, 2000) and the hier-
archical structures of our society, as well as manifested domestically in our criminal
justice system (Cole, 1999). Indeed, the Black Lives Matter movement has arisen in
response to the persistent and acute discrimination against people of color in American
society (Alexander, 2012). The Trump Administrations proposed wall, the attacks on
undocumented immigrants, and the proposed travel ban, with the associated demonizing
rhetoric, cannot be understood outside of this national and international historical
context. And today, as the Administrations approaches curtail the human rights of immi-
grants, they produce what Hannah Arendt called the loss of the right to have rights
(Arendt, 1976, p. 296297). Having left their state of origin, migrants become de facto
if not de jure stateless, and thus right-less. They are reduced to their religion in the
case of refugees from Syria and other Middle Eastern countries, or to their race in the
case of migrants from Mexico, Central America, and Africa, classifications that mark
them as threatening to the wellbeing of U.S. society. They appear as alien others, who
at best can hope for acts of charity which may be provided by individuals of good
There is a contrast between our countrys stated respect for human rights and the rule
of law, on the one hand, and its nearly complete disregard for them in cases of socially
accepted inequalities (e.g., those levied at immigrants) on the other. Despite U.S. accession
to the International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, for example, the government
does not secure the rights of marginalized communities even within our borders. This con-
firms the assessment that the nation of laws is not always committed to an international
rule of law(Hoffer, 2010, p. 14), particularly when international law appears to conflict
with national interests.
More to the point, The concept of a nation of laws is not self-
actuating. It is a contested ideal(Hoffer, 2010, p. xiii) for which social movements
have historically struggled. Not since the turbulence of the 1960s has this nations
common commitment to embedded liberalism been so tested. A Gallup Poll from Novem-
ber 21, 2016 claims that 77% of Americans perceive the United States as divided on the
most important values(Jones, 2016). While this has been the case for at least the past 20
years, according to Jeffrey M. Jones in his report, it has become increasingly so recently.
Within this political context, the academy is, has, and will continue to be for the concei-
vable future contested ground, demanding teachers and studentsattention and engage-
ment. We in the academy have the knowledge and empathy to raise discussions
within this contested groundthat help our students see the realities that face their immi-
grant peers. And, if the university does not speak to these issues, who in our society will?
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Moral imagination pedagogy and immigration
The academy has a clear obligationand capacityto respond to these events, not only
with our scholarship, but also with our teaching. In order to circumvent historical and
continued marginalization, we argue, a pragmatic and creative approach to social
justice theorizing and teaching allows communities and their allies to codefine the
process and strategy of challenging institutionalized oppression through creating material
change in their own lives (Swartz, 1997,2005). Crucial to this approach is the cultivation of
moral imagination,which entails the capacity to see ourselves within a network of
relationships that encompasses the alleged other,to accept the ambiguities and para-
doxes intrinsic to that web, and to affirm and engage in creative acts (Lederach, 2005;
Mills, 1959). Fostering a moral imaginationinvolves cultivating our ability to articulate
and name the constraints placed on us by language and/or conceptual barriers to become
morally intelligent agents in our relationships with others, as well as to be more conscien-
tious citizens in our increasingly heterogeneous, multicultural, and interdependent society.
Critical here is the ability to imagine the experiences of others and to dialogically reflect
on the ambiguities and paradoxes of interpretations of justice. If we are to contribute to
that equalizing mission in service of social justice and a vital democracy, we need to
inspire our students to deconstruct the dominant discoursesdemonization of the
otherand to develop the empathic capacity to recognize their humanity. Thus, we advo-
cate for the import of classroom conversations (what the literature calls dialogic peda-
gogy) in which students listen carefully and critically assess the assumptions, internal
logic, and factual claims embedded within the immigration debates, while working to
create a safe and respectful environment in which these conversations can take place
(see Skidmore & Murakami, 2016). By cultivating dialogic pedagogy and moral imagin-
ation, teachers can strengthen analytical, deliberative, and empathic abilities of students.
A pedagogy committed to moral imagination would aim to reframe our studentscol-
lective understanding of culture to emphasize we-nessand mutuality. This can involve
critical, historical, legal, narrative, rhetorical, philosophical, and sociological approaches to
integrate past and contemporary accounts of subjectification in the United States, depend-
ing on the course. Informing this pedagogical stance is a conviction that social justice,
democracy, and scholarly integrity demand not only institutional and legal measures,
but also the rethinking of adversarial identities by modeling and supporting capacities
for empathy and moral imagination. These capacities can be cultivated by all teachers,
with a commitment to embracing a humanistic approach to understanding immigrants
Toward the above end, we encourage teachers and students to attend to the lived
experiences of migrants about leaving home in search of refuge.
There are countless
courses within which these narratives and expressions could be woven in and contextua-
lized appropriately with the course content. These narratives can inspire empathy and
moral imagination (Rorty, 1989). Our responsibility is to perceive how different subjectiv-
ities give meaning to the moral and political crises of our times. Recognizing the social
contingency of subjectivities in fictional or autobiographical cases could deepen students
understanding of the power operating in the current American discourses about immi-
grants and refugees, and the dilemmas facing colleagues and students who lack U.S. citi-
zenship. Additionally, art can play a critical part in bringing narratives to life, cultivating
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empathy and justice because it arises from human experience and then shapes, gives
expression and meaning to that experience(Lederach, 2005, p. 34). In so doing, art
arouses awareness of the network of relationships which sustain us. When we acknowl-
edge the creative expressions of those deemed other,we can recognize the falsity of
the demonizing subjectivities, and thus understand the partiality of our own experiences
as well as the common humanity that binds us to each other. We can recognize the ambi-
guities and paradoxes endemic to societal arrangement and reject the binaries that proble-
matically divide and polarize our world. Historical evidence shows that this existential
(and pedagogical) stance has nurtured movements for social justice and peaceand so
has an essential part to play in the academy (Lederach, 2005). Such an approach
enables us as teachers and learners to relish education as a joyful immersion and inte-
gration of life and knowledge. Ideally, the tapestry of narrative and experience can serve
as a carnival of the mind leading to compassionate action.
Why? Because we know knowledge connected to social justice can lead to breaking
silence around the marginalization of various identities or status, as well as highlight-
ing the structures and institutions that create and reify their marginalization. We
know this approach can generate awareness by way of consciousness-raising with
the end of promoting equity through creating structures that bring disenfranchised
communities out of the perimeters and into society where resources and opportunities
are readily accessible. Such consciousness-raising allows for advocates and commu-
nities to identify their oppressors, their own privilege and power, and the structures
they and/or their oppressors utilize to maintain their disparate power and privilege,
which ultimately depends on continued disenfranchisement. We know the importance
of collective action and community involvement, as disenfranchised voices within the
university must be heard and respected alongside their allies who conscientiously work
for change (Bonnycastle, 2011; DeMatthews & Mawhinney, 2014; Hytten & Bettez,
2011). And finally, we know the power of a communication activism pedagogy
(Frey & Palmer, 2017) that respond[s] to significant social justice issues facing
societies(p. 365).
Looking ahead
We recognize that neither we (as teachers) nor our students exist above or outside the con-
flicts of the world outside of the academy. We are that world in all of our glorious diversity.
While as faculty we experience some degree of privilege, our studentsand in particular,
our immigrant studentslargely do not. They have much to lose.
Increasingly, we feel
similarly, as our long-held faith in steady moral and political progress in this nation has
been called into question by the 2016 election. As a result, we have become aware that
the tone within the classroom matters as well as the content matter studied. The scholarly
virtues of careful theoretical and empirical research, of listening deeply and respectfully to
diverse perspectives, and of moral imagination have assumed greater import in the
academy today.
Our critical attention is important not only for the sake of intellectual integrity but also
for the sake of activism, to help the academy become a place where we work to restore the
right to have rightsto the strangers at our door and to our neighbors across the street.
There are challenges, indeed, as we try to foster education as the practice of freedom.
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We can only hope that we are up to the challenge, not only to live out our pedagogical and
scholarly commitments to students, but also to reinvigorate the democratic norms of the
common good and equal citizenship upon which democracy depends. As political theor-
ists have generally argued, education plays an essential role because democracy cannot
survive the peoples wholesale ignorance of the forces shaping their lives and limning
their future(Brown, 2015, p. 179). We can and must do this. Valeria Luiselli, a green
card holder, novelist, and immigration activist has noted that social justice is only possible
in dealing with issues of national wrongdoing
by hearing and recording these stories over and over again so that they come back, always, to
haunt and shame us . Because we cannot allow ourselves to go on normalizing horror and
violence. Because we can all be held accountable if something happens under our noses and
we dont dare to even look. (Luiselli, 2017, p. 30)
We as educators can contribute to immigration justice if we dare to become aware and
encourage our students to dare to look and listen to the others.After all, America is
immigrationour strength and our uniqueness as a nation lies here in heterogeneity
and all the benets it portends.
1. We recognize that this is not a blanket statement for all immigrant students. From our
experience with our students, though, this is how they feel.
2. As part of his responsibilities, Doak oversaw the Immigration and Nationalization Service
and was responsible for many raids and deportations in the 1930s.
3. Difficulties for students are particularly acute on our urban campus that serves primarily
first-generation college students with strong minority and low social economic class back-
grounds as well as contested sexual and gender orientations, and so are among the more vul-
nerable members of society.
4. While discussing migrants in the previous sentence, we are struck by how much what we
wrote applies to our domestic African American and Chicano/a populations who often
live in material and social conditions approximating that of the worlds most impoverished
nations (McElwee, 2014).
5. An infamous example of this occurred in 1986 when the U.S. lost against Nicaragua before
the International Court of Justice, which held their secretContra war on the Sandinista
Government illegal. It ordered the U.S. to stop and pay reparations. The U.S. responded
by withdrawing the courts compulsory jurisdiction over it.
6. It is important here to pause and acknowledge the context within which we advocate for this
approach. Together, we have over 50 years of teaching experience at a range of institutions
and regions across the United States. We have taught Communication Studies, Legal Studies,
Political Science, Religion, and Sociology courses at both the graduate and undergraduate
levels. We both see ourselves as interdisciplinary, social justice-oriented thinkers and enact
our interdisciplinarity and social justice through all aspects of our professional life. We are
both advocates and activists for marginalized communities in our classrooms and in the com-
munity with campus reputations for our engagement with students and for pushing back
against neo-liberalism in academia.
7. Relevant novels include Abdourahman WaberisTransit and Yuri Herrera, Signs Preceding
the End of the World, and activist reports, such as Valeria LuisellisTell Me How It Ends:
An Essay in Forty Questions and David Herd and Anna PincussRefugee Tales, but the selec-
tion across a curriculum is nearly limitless.
8. The July 2017 Communication Education forum on Communication Activism Pedagogy pro-
vides an excellent conversation on this issue.
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9. During the week we wrote this essay, Omar met with a homeless graduate student. Since
2008, he has had more than a few such meetings. As the case previously, he was inclined
to invite the student home to live in his basement, but did not. Perhaps other faculty do
this. Perhaps some harbor students who are facing deportation. It may come to that.
Omar Swartz
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From me to we: embracing coperformative witnessing and
critical love in the classroom
Bernadette Marie Calafell
and Andy Kai-chun Chuang
Communication Studies, University of Denver, Denver, CO, USA;
Communication Studies, La Guardia
Community College, Long Island City, NY, USA
Swartz and Ware McGuffeys essay in this issue offer an overview of the current landscape
in higher education and, in particular, the challenges immigrant students face, historically
and in the present moment. They draw on hookss(1994) discussion of education as the
practice of freedom, gesturing toward dialogic pedagogy as a social justice imperative to
enact empathy and understanding. As educators invested in a critical performative peda-
gogy, we echo this call, an appeal similar to those made by Conquergood (1985) and
Fassett and Warren (2006). We are committed to the ethics of dialogic performance to
create more just spaces in higher education. We adapt the guiding ideals of the dialogic
performative to a performative pedagogy, specifically intersectional reflexivity and
radical honesty, as a way of being or witnessing in the face of injustice and violence
against undocumented students and other immigrants. While we realize there are no
easy answers, and our pedagogical practices must always be informed by critical reflexivity
and context, we draw upon some of the ways we work toward creating the dialogic per-
formative or coperformative witnessing in our classrooms with the hope that we can
© 2017 National Communication Association
CONTACT Bernadette Marie Calafell Communication Studies, University of Denver,
Denver, CO, USA
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model dialogue for immigrant and nonimmigrant students alike (Conquergood, 1985;
Madison, 2007). Our commitment to coperformative witnessing in our classrooms,
though, cannot be disentangled from our own histories and hence we share them here.
Several years ago, I (Bernadette) asked, When will we all matter?(Calafell, 2010). Seven
years later, I am still asking that question. When that question was initially asked, I was a newly
tenured associate professor who had moved back to the Southwest after spending three years
as a facultymember in the Northeast. Because of the gendered and racialized violence I experi-
enced as an outsider, a Chicana teacher and scholar, I started writing about racism, sexism,
and classism in academia (see Calafell, 2007,2010,2015). In the midst of all of that, I was
dealing with extreme scrutiny by Homeland Security of my relationship with my Egyptian
partner who I had legally sponsored to stay in the U.S. (see Calafell, 2008). The intense scrutiny
and demand for social and financial proof about the legitimacy of our relationship not only
were emotionally and physically taxing but caused me to reflect upon my own familys
journey to what is now the U.S. and was formerly Mexico (Calafell, 2012). Growing up in
Arizona, the U.S.Mexico border was omnipresent; it was in everyday conversations. It was
evoked in the hateful words and actions of former local Sherriff, Joe Arpaio, and it served
to remind me of my place and history. Thus, the border and crossings in various forms
have always been a part of me no matter where I go.
As an Asian tenure-track community college assistant professor in New York City, who
is currently in a long and anxiety-ridden process of becoming a U.S. immigrant(Cheng,
2012, p. 264), I (Andy) often feel the U.S. immigration process forces me to perform in
ways consistent with its ideologies (Calafell, 2008). As my role in the U.S. changes
based on certain labels attached to me, such as international student, temporary nonim-
migrant worker, or permanent resident, the way I view myself in the U.S. society simul-
taneously readjusts (Cheng, 2012). Still, I cannot stop thinking how lucky I am in this
process, in comparison with some of my students. Just last year, a student disclosed to
me that she is undocumented, and she was worried. What if Trump wins the election?
she asked. Sadly, I have not seen her since the presidential election in 2016. She did not
finish my class, and I do not know where she is now. As Moreman and Non Grata
(2011) suggest, the dominant culture consistently wants to remove undocumented stu-
dents, as their bodies are targeted, and on the line for deportation, for being washed
away from the classroom and from within the U.S. national border(p. 315). Unlike
my undocumented student, I am a college faculty who is sponsored by my school for
an H-1B working visa and a U.S. permanent residency application. If I maintain a valid
non/immigration status, I will not have any trouble. I will be honest, though. My experi-
ences with immigration, though challenging at times, reflect class-based and educational
privilege, as well as ethnic privilege (being from Taiwan, which has not been deemed a
threat to the U.S.). Regardless, my history influences my teaching, especially when that
teaching involves interactions with immigrant populations.
Though racism and xenophobia have long been entrenched in universities, as Swartz
and Ware McGuffey (2017) suggest, we are at a crucial moment. The challenges faced
by undocumented students, including Dreamers, who are fighting for the right to stay
in the U.S. and have access to affordable education, are at the forefront in higher edu-
cation. Many of us became educators because of hope; however, we often face onslaughts
of hopelessness and, at times, cynicism. But, we must perform what Duggan and Muñoz
(2009) term a critical modality of hope that can lead to concrete utopianism (Duggan &
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Muñoz, 2009). This concrete utopianism becomes a critical map for the future (Muñoz,
2009). As educators committed to critical performative pedagogies, we turn to Conquer-
good to help materialize our concrete utopias. Conquergood (1985) offered the dialogic
performative in light of histories of exploitation in imperialist ethnography. He demanded
that researchers put their voices and bodies in conversation with Others. He understood
the importance of being there to learn through the body and experience (Conquergood,
1985). Conquergood (1985) offered a paradigm shift that was attentive to culture and
power. Madison (2007), one of Conquergoods students, shares that before his death, Con-
quergood felt the urgency to transform the dialogic performative to coperformative wit-
nessing, which is radically engaged and committed a politics of the body deeply in
action with Others(p. 827). Witnessing or bearing witness brings a reverence to the dia-
logic performative, which is ultimately a political actthat requires we be in action with
Others inside the politics of their locations, the economies of their desires and their con-
straints, and, most importantly, inside the materiality of their struggles and the conse-
quences(Madison, 2007, p. 828). Thus, we too focus on the dialogic as a way of
addressing issues, such as immigration; and we see the day-to-day interactions and the
possibilities of mentoring and teaching as sites of critical love, radical intervention, and
coperformative witnessing (Calafell, 2007). Although we focus on this with all students,
our histories and our commitments can be especially important for immigrant students
both documented and undocumentedwho enter our classrooms.
For me (Bernadette), the dialogic performative or coperformative witnessing in the
context of the classroom means meeting students where they are. As a graduate student
instructor, I often felt driven by a sense of urgency that manifested itself in being overly
critical, performing an idea of what I thought an instructor guided by social justice impera-
tive might do. This performance, while creating important spaces for learning for some
students, conversely often put others on the defensive. It also required a lot of emotional
labor that left me drained at the end of the day. It was not until I integrated hookss(1989,
2001) and Olivers(2001) perspectives on love into my pedagogical practices that space
was created for dialogic performance/coperformative witnessing. hooks (2001) under-
stands love as resistive, particularly in the academy (hooks, 1994). Love requires vulner-
ability. As instructors of color, both domestic and international, we make ourselves
vulnerable by simply setting foot in predominately white universities. This vulnerability
is especially heightened for those of us who teach courses that center race, class, gender,
sexuality, and ability. I also recognize the amount of privilege I have as someone who
benefits from white skin privilege, U.S. citizenship, and tenure. Vulnerability comes
easier for some rather than others.
In working toward dialogic performance or coperformative witnessing in my classes, the
first step is to model owning my privilege for students. Drawing on Joness(2010) work on
intersectional reflexivity,I mark the multiple and simultaneous ways I am privileged and mar-
ginalized as a white-skinned, Chicana, cisgender, able-bodied, queer, and now middle-class
woman. It is my hope that this modeling creates moments of symmetry, connection, and
possibility rather than simply defensiveness, moments that can potentiallyimpact immigrant
students and those who interact with them. I am also transparent about my and my familys
relationships to immigration and Homeland Security. I make this visible in solidarity with
those students who may share similar stories as an act of witnessing, and to honestly and vul-
nerably dialogue with those for whom these perspectives are new. While some might claim
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this type of work centerswhiteness, rather than being in dialogue with the Other as Conquer-
goods(1985) work advocated, my approach is about inviting white students at my predomi-
nately white privateinstitution tobe in dialogue with an Other (me) and an Otherexperience
that may be shared by the historically marginalized students in the class. White instructors
must be critically reflexive about and nominally own their privileges to model for white stu-
dents and tosignal to those from historically marginalized groups, including immigrants, that
they are there to support them.
Williams (2016) offers radical honesty as a concept that describes a pedagogical prac-
tice of truth-telling that seeks to challenge racist and patriarchal institutional cultures in
the academy(p. 72). This radical honesty manifests in her being open about her personal
and academic biography and her beliefs. This kind of radical honesty is necessary for dia-
logic performance/coperformative witnessing in my classroom. Again, it offers a tool for
undocumented and immigrant students to potentially find spaces of connection and ally-
ship with me as an instructor.
I (Andy) started teaching in 2011, as a doctoral candidate both at community and four-
year colleges. I was never offered a graduate teaching assistantship as a doctoral student,
and I never received a reason from the department. Therefore, the only way I was able to
gain teaching experience was to adjunct at local community and four-year colleges in Col-
orado. In 2014, I was hired as an Assistant Professor at a community college in New York
City. My background and experiences with immigration, Homeland Security, and xeno-
phobia allow me to see classroom instruction and student guidance from an Other
angle, especially with the diverse group of students in my current institution. Each seme-
ster, I wonder, What can I do to facilitate conversations about diversity, difference, pri-
vilege, and immigration in my classroom?This question is even more timely now as I
consider the consequences this political environment has for not only me, but my stu-
dents, particularly those who are undocumented.
Conquergood (1986a) and Madison (2005) argue that performance addresses everyday
human experiences that are layered within the social, cultural, and political. In this way,
performance allows me and my students the opportunity to address the complex issues
immigrant students are facing. Conquergood (1986b) further suggests that performance
requires a reflexive self-awareness because the performer plays the role of a We. Perform-
ance helps to reconcile the tension in difference with the Other. I have adopted the per-
formance paradigm in classroom instruction. However, within higher education there
remains a lack of intersectional reflexivity (Jones, 2010) and increasingly disembodied
conversations about diversity, difference, and privilege. Therefore, it is essential to chal-
lenge students to take an intersectional perspective toward social and cultural identities
that privilege knowing through bodies and lived experiences. In the act of performance,
a powerful moment of learning can occur between performers and audiences (Madison,
1998). As Madison (1998) argues, through the performance of Other stories, as well as
our own, performers and audience members are implicated in a performance of possibi-
litiesthat calls for actions (p. 277). In this time and space, what would it mean to trans-
form from a me to a we? What does that mean for students who might not have ever
encountered international students, and for students who have come to the U.S. to
attend universities and are anxious about the current climate?
I run a group performance adapted from an assignment by a friend, Dawn Marie McIn-
tosh, called Performing Difference: Embodying Reflexivityin my Diversity and
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Communication in U.S. and other courses in communication studies. Students are asked
to create poetry or personal narratives of their experiences, points of view, or positional-
ities reflecting upon their everyday societal, cultural, or organizational life. As a group,
they are encouraged to perform each others narratives or poetry. Alexander (2005)
argues, The classroom is a space in which the personal is magnified, not diminished
(p. 251). Therefore, we witness narrative performances addressing inequalities of race,
gender, sexuality, disability, and social class from multiple positionalities. Through embo-
diments that require and enact intersectional reflexivity in these performances, we begin to
challenge ourselves to critically interrogate different cultural codes, experiences and mean-
ings, including studentsown personal narratives, and we further learn to create possibi-
lities for alliance building that moves from the me to the we (Aronowitz & Giroux, 1991;
Jones, 2010). The coperformative witnessing occurs when the unspeakableis spoken,
when the personal becomes political and the pedagogical imperative is to articulate
understanding without silencing voicein the classroom, a liminal space where students
and myself struggle over these contested cultural performances (Alexander, 2005,
p. 253). We strive for conversations on diversity, difference, and privilege to move
beyond individualized location, expanding accountability from self, to others and self
in order to practice coalitional activismfor possible social change (Jones, 2010,
p. 122). Griffin (2012) suggests that to critically love across our identity differences in
the scholarly sense entails bearing witness to struggle, reaching out to nurture, marking
the presence of privilege, and advocating for humanization(p. 216). This is the
essence of dialogic performance/coperformative witnessing. We continue to strive
toward the we by bearing witness, and thus, being implicated.
A common practice in class, also learned from our friend, Dawn Marie, is to end with clos-
ings. We go around the room and offer a reflection on the discussion, or students may
choose to pass. The statements are honored through silence rather than commentary.
In coming togetherimmigrant and nonimmigrant alikewe strive for something more.
We perform for possibility.
We witness with love.
And we hope for radical social justice and dialogic possibilities.
Like Moraga (2000), we will keep loving in the war years.
Alexander, B. K. (2005). Embracing the teachable moment: The black gay body in the classroom as
embodied text. In E. Patrick Johnson & M. G. Henderson (Eds.), Black queer studies: A critical
anthology (pp. 249265). Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
Aronowitz, S., & Giroux, H. (1991). Postmodern education: Politics, culture, and social criticism.
Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.
Calafell, B. M. (2007). Mentoring and love: An open letter. Cultural Studies Critical
Methodologies,7(4), 425441. doi:10.1177/1532708607305123
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Calafell, B. M. (2008). Performing the responsible sponsor: Everything you never wanted to know
about immigration post-9/11. In A. Valdivia (Ed.), Latina/o communication studies today (pp.
6869). New York, NY: Peter Lang.
Calafell, B. M. (2010). When will we all matter? Exploring race, pedagogy, and sustained hope for
the academy. In D. L. Fassett & J. T. Warren (Eds.), The Sage handbook of communication and
instruction (pp. 343359). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Calafell, B. M. (2012). Love, loss, and immigration: Performative reverberations between a great
grandmother and granddaughter. In R. DeChaine (Ed.), Border Rhetorics: Citizenship and iden-
tity on the U.S. Mexico frontier (pp. 151162). Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press.
Calafell, B. M. (2015). Monstrosity, performance, and race in contemporary culture. New York, NY:
Peter Lang.
Cheng, H.-I. (2012). Temporally legal: My traveling across border of im/migration. In A. Gonzalez,
M. Houston, & V. Chen (Eds.), Our voices: Essays in culture, ethnicity, and communication
(pp. 263269). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Conquergood, D. (1985). Performing as a moral act: Ethical dimensions of the ethnography of per-
formance. Literature in Performance,5(2), 113. doi:10.1080/10462938509391578
Conquergood, D. (1986a). Between experience and meaning: Performance as paradigm for mean-
ingful action. In T. Colson (Ed.), Renewal and revision: The future of interpretation (pp. 2659).
Denton, TX: Omega.
Conquergood, D. (1986b). Performance and dialogical understanding: In quest of the other. In J. L.
Palmber (Ed.), Communication as performance (pp. 3037). Tempe, AZ: Arizona State
University Press.
Duggan, L., & Muñoz, J. E. (2009). Hope and hopelessness: A dialogue. Women and Performance: A
Journal of Feminist Theory,19(2), 275283. doi:10.1080/07407700903064946
Fassett, D. L., & Warren, J. T. (2006). Critical communication pedagogy. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Griffin, R. A. (2012). Navigating the politics of identity/identities and exploring the promise of criti-
cal love. In N. Bardham & M. Orbe (Eds.), Identity and communication research: Intercultural
reflections and future directions (pp. 5167). Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
hooks, b. (1989). Talking back: Thinking feminist, thinking black. Boston, MA: South End.
hooks, b. (1994). Teaching to transgress: Education as the practice of freedom. New York, NY:
hooks, b. (2001). All about love: New visions. New York, NY: Perennial.
Jones, R. G. Jr. (2010). Putting privilege into practice through intersectional reflexivity:
Ruminations, interventions, and possibilities. Reflections Formations,27(3), 122125, 114138.
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Madison, D. S. (1998). Performance, personal narratives, and the politics of possibility. In S. J.
Dailey (Ed.), The future of performance studies: Visions and revisions (pp. 276286).
Annandale, VA: National Communication Association.
Madison, D. S. (2005). Critical ethnography: Methods, ethics, and performance. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Madison, D. S. (2007). Co-performative witnessing. Cultural Studies,21(6), 826831. doi:10.1080/
Moraga, C. (2000). Loving in the war years: Lo que nunca paso por sus labios (2nd ed.). Brooklyn,
NY: South End Press.
Moreman, S. T., & Non Grata, P. (2011). Learning from and mentoring the undocumented AB540
student: Hearing an unheard voice. Text and Performance Quarterly,31(3), 303320. doi:10.
Muñoz, J. E. (2009). Cruising utopia: The then and there of queer futurity. New York, NY: New York
University Press.
Oliver, K. (2001). Witnessing: Beyond recognition. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota
Williams, B. C. (2016). Radical honesty: Truth telling as pedagogy for working through shame in
academic spaces. In F. Tuitt, C. Haynes, & S. Stewart (Eds.), Race, equity, and the learning
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Contours of a storied decolonial pedagogy
Devika Chawla
School of Communication Studies, Ohio University, Athens, OH, USA
Is there an immigrant in this classroom?
This is a speech class, and it should be taught by an American instructor. It was fall 1998,
and as I read these words scribbled across the page, my first instinct was to look around to
see if anyone was watching. I do not know what I was more afraid of: the words on the
page or that someone would witness them. I also remember feeling apologetic, as if I
had somehow failed my students, as if this south Asian Indian female body had betrayed
me. I had just finished teaching my first public speaking class that semester and had been
excited to check my course evaluations. My evaluations for that first semester in fall 1998
were excellent. I do not remember specific positive comments or exact statistical averages,
though I do recall they were high. Even now, however, 19 years later in 2017, I can see that
negative comment and I remember the words, verbatim. The negative often defines us, if
and how we let it.
Perhaps this memory persists because it was my first experience being officially
Othered as an immigrant. There it was, spelled out in front of me, fully documented.
It was not as if I had not experienced the everyday Othering that all immigrants
but more so immigrants of color from the global southinevitably experience in the
US. For instance, I remember the linguistic Othering that took place when a white
American graduate school classmate did not trust my spelling of a complicated
English word. Or the persistent questioning by peers and students, both then and now,
about how I became so goodat English, which invariably leads to a quick history
lesson about the British colonization of India and linguistic legacies of former English
In 1998, at the age of 24, I was quick to embarrassment and anger. In 2017, as an aca-
demic, a woman, an immigrant, an American citizen, and now a Professor, I continue to
experience vestiges of anger and embarrassment during moments of Othering. But, I
have learned to harness this marginalization of my body/self to transform and disrupt
my classroom pedagogical performances in communication studies, a field that is my
intellectual home. In this paper, I perform and illustrate how I put to use this (my) immi-
grant body by accessing a storytelling mode of teaching and learning rooted in a post-
colonial ethos. My aspiration is Utopianto humanize, to demystify, and, finally, to
strive to create a more decolonized and thus a more large-hearted classroom, one
where I/we continually strive to lessen the gaps between Us and Them, and Native
and Other.
© 2017 National Communication Association
CONTACT Devika Chawla School of Communication Studies, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701,
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Storytelling performance meets postcolonial sensibilities: an immigrant
In his now famous essay,The Storyteller,Benjamin (1969) eloquently notes, the storyteller
takes what he tells from experiencehis own or that reported by others. And he in turn makes
it the experience of those who are listening to him(p. 87). Benjamins storytelling mirror has
been my loyal pedagogical muse for almost two decades. His thinking has enabled me to envi-
sion my own teaching as a performative narrative, an idea rooted in the assumption that nar-
rativeand here I use narrative and storytelling interchangeablyis both a making and a
doing. I enter the classroom as a storyteller who feels impelled to embody her own experiences
of the social world and her postcolonial identity as a South Asian Indian immigrant in the
classroom. I approach this embodiment as a generative encounter that provides an
opening for students to engage with each other (as well as myself) as almost equal human
beings. More importantly, I believe that in telling stories we create selves, cultural under-
standings, and a world(Chawla, 2014a, p. 10; see also Freeman, 2002;Scarry,1985).
My own story, that of an immigrant self, compels me to embrace a pedagogy that intention-
ally disrupts this narrative space. My disruption comes in the form of imbuing my classroom
with postcolonial and decolonial sensibilities. I rely on an understanding of postcolonial work
forwarded by communication scholars, Shome and Hegde (2002) who note that,
Postcolonial scholarship constitutes one of the most central critical lenses through which to
name and theorize cultural conditions of contemporary society. This is because postcolonial
scholarship theorizes the geographical, geopolitical, and historical specificities of modernities
within which other forms of powersuch as race, sexuality, culture, class, and genderare
located. (p. 253)
Inspired by these ideas, I access a few umbrella themes in postcolonial theory to articulate
how to decolonize the college classroom in a time of rising white nationalism and xenopho-
bia. These include acknowledging that all identities are racially, culturally, and ethnically
hybrid, intersectional, and interstitional; questioning dominant representations and narra-
tives; and understanding agency and resistance (Chawla & Atay, in-press). While I do not
think that every class can directly include or articulate all of these themes, my hope is that
instructors learn to infuse their courses with an Other(wise) sensibilityan ethic where the
Other is experienced as familiar, comfortable, and more importantly, human.
Self-storiesautobiographical disruptionsdisrupting narratives
To disrupt a Western, specifically a US classroom, I find it essential to include non-Western
readings in my syllabi. But, on an everyday basis, I/we engage the non-Western by a con-
scious insertion of stories and observations from my life into class discussions to invoke
Other ways of being, knowing, and communicating. Doing so has made me understand
that my presence, my stories about immigration, my life in India, my movement to the
US as a graduate student, and my living a life in between are ways to decenter the whiteness
of the classroom on a mid-sized rural Midwestern campus. It is also fortuitous that my scho-
larly research addresses marriage, family, and refugee identity performance among south
Asian populations with a methodological focus on autobiographical modes of knowing
and representing. More recently, I have consciously begun utilizing two self-storying strat-
egies in my courses: (1) I assign one of my own autobiographical publications early in the
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semester; and (2) I assign one mandatory written or oral assignment in the class that focuses
upon autobiographical storytelling. These strategies generate both expected and unexpected
pedagogical moments in the classroom.
For example, in an undergraduate Family Communication course, when we discuss
extended familial relationships, I share a published story, Walk, Walking, Talking
Homeabout my relationship with my grandmother, which was nurtured around the
activity of walking when I was 7 years old (Chawla, 2013). In the story, I show how child-
hood walks with my grandmother made me privy to my family history of displacement as
a consequence of the British partitioning of India into secular India and Islamic Pakistan
in 1947; my family fled Pakistan to restart their lives in the newly Independent India. The
story is panoramic in that it spans the time period between 1947 and the present. It illus-
trates how walking, a mobile activity that enables us explore our world in visceral ways,
became an important means that I carried home with me to the US, when I made my
own self-propelled migration here in 1997. It is a story about a relationship, but also
about how family histories are passed on in quotidian and mundane moments.
Such a story generates many conversations about families, as it is meant to, but for an immi-
grant in the class, it can become the impetus to talk about their own lives. For instance, some
years ago, encouraged by reading this story, a first-generation Nicaraguan student began to tell
the story of his own familys escape to the US as they fled the violence in Nicaragua in the
1980s. He spoke of how his mothers reluctance in his joining the US military, owing to her
having witnessed firsthand the violence that war unleashes, conflicted with his own desire
to commit to public service. He spoke of his deep loyalty to the US, the county that had
rescued his family by providing them as ylum. His story displayed the complex ways that immi-
grant families engage the present, both with each other and the new country. On a more macro
level, it was a firsthand look at how immigrant populations from Latin America, persistently
demonized in the US media and more recently by the Trump administration, are often fleeing
internal violence and extreme economic distress in their own countries.
In an undergraduate class on Performance Studies, I assign another personal story,
Habit, Home, Threshold,which tells the story of my habit of drinking tea and how fol-
lowing this habit and performing the rituals that surround it (rituals at once British and
Indian), make me feel more at home in the US (Chawla, 2014b). In this essay, I also write
about the objects that I carried with me in my carry-on when I moved to the US as a
student. This essay inevitably generates multiple self-stories among all students
(because habits are, after all, human), yet it often becomes a vehicle for minority students,
often first-generation immigrants, who address these stories by opening up about their
own lives. For example, a quiet female student from Saudi Arabia who wore a headscarf
began speaking in class for the first time after reading the story. She shared stories of com-
munal eating, cooking, and tea-drinking to show how her own community mingled the
past and present in their homes in the US. In fact, she even organized her final staged per-
formance in the class around the moments of her own arrival at a US airport, her longing
for a different kind of education, and her pride in her process of education. Stories such as
hers are crucial vehicles that loosen the grip of stereotypes held about Muslim Americans,
stereotypes that are exacerbated by the anti-Islam rhetoric of current and past adminis-
trations and the most recent controversial Muslim travel ban.
Conceptually, these autobiographical disruptionswork in a few ways: they illuminate
storied difference and they become entry points that generate Other stories, thus shifting
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the center of the often majority-white classroom. This process illustrates a central ethos of
postcolonial studies which decenters simple notions and distributions of identityand
forces us to acknowledge the complex and multiple ways in which people can be and are
located in structures of identification and modes of belonging(Grossberg, 2002,p.369).
Individual stories inevitably disrupt dominant narratives about immigrant populationsstu-
dents witness a Latino immigrants loyalty to his adopted country or learn about the grit and
resilience of a female student from Saudi Arabia who has dreams of an education just like
themselves. Moreover, the stories are an invitation to the majority-white students to ask ques-
tions, to learn more about Other realities, and to interrogate their own family histories, rooted
also in multiple migrations. For instance, a few semesters ago, it came as a big surprise to all of
us when a white-identified student began to share stories about his Palestinian Muslim
paternal grandparents, his father, and his Jewish-American mother, all of whom never
forced a religion upon him; as a consequence, he was agnostic.
Such moments allow us to witness that the Other is in Us and while we may never
understand each others experiences, we can find pieces of ourselves in the stories that
we all tell about our lives. Sharing my own story thus becomes an impetus to my students
owning their own stories, and thereby writing in more culturally, socially, and racially con-
scious ways when they engage the penultimate autobiographical assignment for the class. I
want to believe that process leads to an understanding that our stories and therefore our
identities are inherently hybridized, never neutral, and emerge from various complex
locationswhat are quintessentially postcolonial ideas.
Encountering the other/self
My own stories and the ones they generate are certainly one way to encounter the Other
female, immigrantin the classroom. However, generative storytelling still puts the onus
on the immigrant to tell her story, to take the risk of making herself vulnerable. This stance
assumes that the immigrant/Other/foreigner will speak. In an effort to make the pedago-
gical space more egalitarian and for all students to experience a semblance of Otherness,
however short-lived, I believe that ethnographic assignments (informed by postcolonial
sensibilities, specifically the problematization of location, voice, and agency; Shome &
Hegde, 2002) can help undergraduate and graduate students cultivate a large-heartedness.
Ethnography is rooted in the dictum of making the strange familiar and the familiar
strange. This dictum, a refrain among ethnographers, addresses fieldwork and ethnogra-
phy as a process of doing and writing that always straddles the tension between familiarity
and strangeness (Agar, 1996; see also Madison, 2012). From a postcolonial perspective,
this dictum forces the ethnographer to consistently ask: Who speaks? Who listens in a
specific location? Who shapes and represents the speaking Other?
In two undergraduate courses, Communication Among Cultures and Performance
Studies, I structure mini-ethnographic assignments that require students to immerse
themselves in an unfamiliar place/culture for the period of a week. The only condition
for choosing their field site is that they should be completely unfamiliar with it, and there-
fore be Other to the particular space. In the class on culture and communication, students
are able to choose any unfamiliar location, but in the performance course, they are
required to participate in an unfamiliarsacred or secularritual performance. The over-
arching goal of both iterations of the project is to make students experience Otherness,
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discomfort, and to feel out of place. While the assignment asks for thick-description, cul-
tural analysis, and commentary on the purpose of the culture or ritual, there is a manda-
tory requirement to engage reflexively with the following questions:
Did you feel vulnerable in this location? Describe how and why.
How did your body experience this unfamiliar space?
How do you think you were perceived by the group? Did you feel invited in? How? Did
you feel unwelcome? How?
In what overt or subtle ways was your Otherness revealed to you?
Did you make efforts to make the place more familiar? If yes, how? If no,
why not?
I use this assignment to provoke students to step outside of their comfort-zones. In my class-
room experience, a majority embrace the process. A white American student who chose to
observe Friday prayers at the local mosque related feeling like an imposter at first and then
felt changed by the experience because he came to a (un)surprising realization that places of
worship and religions might have different rituals, but the communal and community goals
are universal. A Chinese student, a self-described atheist, attended a Catholic Mass and
found herself transformed by the beauty of the ritual process and began visiting it regularly
as a weekly moment to relax and meditate. A Christian student attended Sunday morning
meditation at the local Tibetan Buddhist center and began to read more about this way of
life, even structuring her final paper for the course around the subject. Not all immersions
are evocative or successful, and I do not know whether these revelations are short-lived or
permanent or have any lasting impact. But, as an educator, I hope that for a window of time,
in my classroom space, students step into a foreign reality, feel somewhat foreign, and
wrestle with how to represent their struggle, a process which inevitably enables them to
lessen the gap between Us and Them. My hope is that they return to their everyday lives
a little different, a little transformed, and perhaps a little more large-hearted than before.
Ongoing lessons and a call
Can a storytelling ethos rooted in postcolonial sensibilities create a decolonized classroom
space where an immigrantfaculty member or studentmight find a foothold, a home?
Perhaps there will never be a concrete answer to this question. In our recent essay, Chawla
and Atay (in-press), we note that decolonization is a process that begins with opening
spaces from which the colonized can speak, thus allowing the inclusion of counternarra-
tives that are written spoken, performed, filmed, or otherwise created by subaltern, colo-
nized, or oppressed groups of people.My pedagogical maneuvers in the classroom are
about opening spaces that bring us closer to some of these goals, even when I know
that the desired outcomes of decolonization are diverse and located at multiple sites in
multiple forms(Sium, Desai, & Ritskes, 2012, p. II). I believe, however, that in our con-
temporary moment with the US under the grip of extremist white nationalism and xeno-
phobia, such pedagogical interventions are no longer an option, but a necessity. Therefore,
I call upon instructors in higher education, regardless of nationality or citizenship, to make
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spaces for multiple stories that can create possibilities for disruptions. I am convinced that
disrupting the space, opening it up to stories, reflections, and autobiography, engenders a
large-heartedness in our students and ourselves. It shows us that how we see and how we
are seen are entwined processes, and the distance between the Self and Other is mostly a
construction we have about ourselves.
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Yes, and …”: continuing the scholarly conversation about
immigration and higher education
C. Kyle Rudick
and Deanna P. Dannels
Department of Communication Studies, University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls, IA, USA;
Department of
Communication, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA
To maintain the flow of the performance, a central rule in improv is to respond with yes,
and …”to lines that come before you (instead of noor yes, but). The idea is to create
an environment where all become involved in keeping an idea or storyline alive and evol-
ving, encouraging players to make associations and to connect things in innovative ways.
© 2017 National Communication Association
CONTACT C. Kyle Rudick
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The concept of yes, and …”has been taken up beyond improvisational theater as a way to
activate collaboration, build synergy, inspire creativity, and foster openness in a variety of
professional contexts (Liu & Noppe-Brandon, 2009). In fact, there are an increasing
number of educational initiatives and curricula outside of the theater tradition that are
grounded, in part, in the yes, and …” concept (e.g., Ali & Cech, 2017; Morris &
Liguori, 2016).
The yes, and …” concept provides a useful heuristic when imagining how to con-
tinue scholarly conversations about the wicked problem (Rittel & Webber, 1973)of
immigration and higher education. Given wicked problems are complex, persistent,
andby definitioncannot be solved by scripted, linear, or reductionist answers
(Rittel & Webber, 1973), they merit ongoing, sensitive, and thorough exploration.
Therefore, we invite you to pursue this conversation with the yes, and …” spirit,
continuing the scholarly and pedagogical conversation about immigration and
higher education and collaboratively imagining a new landscape for communication,
teaching, and learning.
Lets begin, as we often do, with some data. The Pew Research Center (López & Bialik,
2017) reports that there are approximately 43 million immigrants living in the United
States13.4% of the total population. Of those, nearly 1 in 4 are considered unauthorized
or undocumented immigrants. Although the majority of immigrants have come from
Mexico, Asian immigrants surpassed Hispanic immigrants entering the U.S. in 2009, a
trend that has only grown in the intervening years. Furthermore, nearly 3 million refugees
have entered the U.S. since the passage of the Refugee Resettlement Program in 1980,
hailing primarily from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, and Burma. These stat-
istics suggest discussions about immigration policies must be as diverse as the populations
the label signifies.
Of particular note to higher education professionals, recent estimates from the National
Center for Educational Statistics (Arbeit, Staklis, & Horn, 2016) show that nearly 24% of
all undergraduate students are immigrants or second-generation U.S. citizens. As many as
225,000 higher education students are undocumented (The Institute for Immigration,
Globalization, & Education, 2015). Many will navigate legal, racial, ethnic, linguistic,
and religious barriers to their success. Hate crimes, which had been trending downward
between 2010 and 2014, saw a sharp increase in 2015, with instances of anti-Muslim
hate crimes up approximately 67% (FBI, 2015). Therefore, it is increasingly likely that
immigrant students will need to navigate instances of anti-immigrant violence and dis-
crimination. A communicative approach to these complexities on campuses invites us
as the authors in this forum suggestto connect the specific harms that immigrant stu-
dents, instructors, and administrators face to the larger cultural realm of our current his-
toric moment. Why? Because discrimination against immigrants on college and university
campuses signifies a radical rejection of a central democratic principle upon which higher
education is predicated: that every person has the right to pursue education free from
threat or violence.
As Swartz and Ware McGuffy noted, although the current manifestations of hate and
violence have risen dramatically, xenophobia and white nationalism have persistently
guided social and political life in the U.S. Their call to return the right to have rights
to immigrant students encourages citizen-scholars to challenge their governmental repre-
sentatives and campus administrators to pass laws and regulations that provide a renewed
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social contract with those we are meant to serve. Calafell and Chuang remind us of the
power of dialogue, and the importance of imagining a world in which we all matter.
Their call also challenges higher education professionals not only to address the needs
of immigrant students, but also to recognize that many immigrant administrators,
faculty, and staff currently face similar obstacles. Chawlas essay suggests ways that
instructors can build a pedagogy for the Other, and cultivate an ethic of large heartedness
between and among teachers and students. The use of narratives, ethnography, and per-
formance can help students adopt care and vulnerability, propelling them to build deep,
meaningful connections across difference.
The insights provided by forum contributors open new avenues for thinking about and
investigating how communication scholars can address the complexities surrounding
immigration and higher education. And, from such investigations, there is potential to
provide teaching and advocacy tools that respect and affirm immigrant students and
help realize an educational system that resists xenophobia and white nationalism. To
these ends and drawing upon Craig (1999), we offer a series of questions for further
inquiry loosely tethered to seven traditions of our discipline:
(1) How does public discourse (e.g., immigrant policy, laws, and political speeches) sur-
rounding immigrants and immigrant students facilitate historical and cultural forces
that guide higher education policy?
(2) How can immigrant and domestic students, faculty, and administrators create shared
systems of understanding that provide best practices for academic and cocurricular
(3) How can domestic students, faculty, and staff learn to deeply, sensitively, and holisti-
cally come into dialogic contact with the experiences of immigrant students, faculty,
and staff?
(4) How can domestic teachers develop pedagogical taxonomies that address the complex
communicative barriers that face immigrant students in their learning of content
(5) How can portraits of immigrant studentssociopsychological motivations and needs
contribute to creating affirming campus and classroom cultures?
(6) How does communication about immigrants and within higher education draw upon
and (re)produce shared social understandings of citizenship, human rights, and
(7) How can domestic students, instructors, and administrators sensitively work with
immigrant students, instructors, and administrators to identify, challenge, and
change the ways that xenophobia and white nationalism emerge on campuses and
in classrooms?
Yes, and
Ali, O., & Cech, N. (2017, April 8). Yes, andas teaching-learning methodology [Web log post].
Retrieved from
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Arbeit, C. A., Staklis, S., & Horn, L. (2016). New American undergraduates: Enrollment trends and
age at arrival of immigrant and second-generation students. The National Center for Educational
Statistics. Retrieved from
Craig, R. T. (1999). Communication theory as a field. Communication Theory,9, 119161.
FBI. (2015). Hate crime statistics. Retrieved from
Liu, E., & Noppe-Brandon, S. (2009). Imagination first. San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
López, G., & Bialik, K. (2017, May 3). Key findings about U.S. immigrants. Pew Research Center.
Retrieved from
Morris, M., & Liguori, E. (Eds.). (2016). The annals of entrepreneurship education and pedagogy
2016. Northhampton, MA: Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.
Rittel, H. W. J., & Webber, M. M. (1973). Dilemmas in a general theory of planning. Policy Sciences,
4, 155169.
The Institute for Immigration, Globalization, & Education. (2015). In the shadows of the ivory
tower: Undocumented undergraduates and the liminal state of immigration reform. Retrieved
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ResearchGate has not been able to resolve any citations for this publication.
The second edition of Annals of Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy provides entirely new insights into a number of the leading issues surrounding the teaching of entrepreneurship and the building of entrepreneurship programs. Prepared under the auspices of the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship (USASBE), this book features fifteen scholarly perspectives on a range of entrepreneurship education issues. This 2016 edition spans topics ranging from methods for teaching creatively and the value of the lean startup methodology to empirical insights into whether or not entrepreneurship education changes minds. Five premier universities and the key aspects of their superlative entrepreneurship programs are reviewed. In addition, contributors highlight a number of individual innovations that have changed the way entrepreneurship is taught and the manner in which entrepreneurial behavior is facilitated. This book offers an introduction to innovative practices in facilitating entrepreneurial learning both inside and outside the classroom as it investigates critical issues in designing, implementing and assessing experiential learning techniques within entrepreneurship. This timely book uncovers new horizons in the development of entrepreneurship education for students, university campuses, communities and economies. Annals of Entrepreneurship Education and Pedagogy – 2016 is a must-have book for any entrepreneurship professor, scholar or program director across the US.
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Can there be a decolonial autoethnography? If so, what could such an autoethnography look, sound, and feel like? If the possibility of decolonizing this mode of knowing does not exist, then what are the impediments—discursive, material, political, social—that disallow a move to decolonized autoethnographic work? Where would decolonization take us? What does it mean to write the self in and out of colonial historical frameworks? In this special issue, we bring to life such conversations through nine essays and a postscript that perform, ruminate, narrate—with a thoughtful tenderness—some versions of decolonized and postcolonial autoethnography. The essays illustrate the form that emerges when the colonial and postcolonial (both past and present) are taken as central concerns in autoethnographic writing.