Silvia Rodriguez Vega: Caged Childhoods: Art, Healing, and U.S. Immigration Policy

Event Date: 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021 - 3:00pm to 5:00pm

Join us at the Chicana and Chicano Studies Department for a talk by Dr. Silvia Rodriguez Vega called: "Caged Childhoods: Art, Healing, and U.S. Immigration Policy":

The educational experiences of understudied pre-adolescent immigrant children through creative and critical arts-based mixed-methodologies. Through her partnership with the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and the Social and Public Art Resource Center (SPARC) Rodriguez Vega designed and taught a sixth-grade bilingual arts-based curriculum for a class of newly arrived immigrant students in South Central, Los Angeles.

This curriculum included Luis Valdez’s El Teatro Campesino, Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed, and Paulo Freire’s Problem-Posing Pedagogy. Drawing on three years of ethnographic field work, she also integrated interviews with parents, students, teachers, and administrators; class and home observations; recorded theater performances and practices; visual analysis of drawings; student journal entries; and pre/post-surveys. Rodriguez Vega’s talk will present students’ deep preoccupation with deportation, the border wall, and President Trump’s social media claims.

This work contributes creative approaches for those working with vulnerable and hard to reach populations. It argues that although laws are generally aimed at adults, they ultimately impact children. In so doing, the toxic stress and trauma youth experience weighs heavily on their academic performance, mental health, and well-being. Yet, through an art healing praxis, schools and teachers can help children challenge these power structures and develop tools for coping and resilience.

About Dr. Silvia Rodriguez:

Silvia Rodriguez Vega is a New York University Provost’s Postdoctoral Fellow at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development in the Department of Applied Psychology. She holds a Ph.D. in Chicana/o and Central American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Master’s of Arts in Education from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.
Silvia is an ARTivist scholar of critical education and migration studies with specialization in immigrant children, cross-disciplinary methods of inquiry, and community-engaged research methods. Her research has been funded by the Ford Foundation, UC MEXUS, Institute of American Culture, and in 2019 her dissertation, “Immigrant Children: Resilience and Coping with HeART” won two AERA’s dissertation awards.
Her writing has been published in Latino Studies, the Association of Mexican American Educators Journal, Aztlán, InterActions: UCLA Journal of Education and Information Studies, Teacher’s College Press, and the Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy amongst others. Her upcoming book, Caged Childhoods, is under contract with NYU Press.