Identities-in-Practice in a Figured World of Achievement: Toward Curriculum and Pedagogies of Hope


  • Limarys Caraballo


In the current high stakes context of standardization and accountability, deficit perspectives about minoritized students are perpetuated by discourses of achievement that reproduce dominant raced, classed, and gendered norms in society. Discourses about equity, effort, and colorblindness shape figured worlds of achievement in which certain academic identities become available and function to position students as “achievers” or “non-achievers.” Focusing primarily on an assemblage of narratives from and about a “failing” student who “passes,” this article examines the interrelatedness of multiple identities, experiences of curriculum, and academic achievement of minoritized students in a selective urban middle school and conceptualizes identities-in-practice in figured worlds as a lens that can foster curricula and pedagogies of hope.

Author Biography

Limarys Caraballo

Limarys is assistant professor of English education in the Department of Secondary Education and Youth Services at Queens College, CUNY and a faculty fellow of the Institute of Urban and Minority Education at Teachers College, Columbia University. She received her doctorate from the Department of Curriculum and Teaching at Teachers College, where she was a General Research Fellow. She was also a Cultivating New Voices among Researchers of Color Research Fellow of the National Council of Teachers of English from 2010-2012. Her research interests include students’ multiple identities and literacies, academic achievement, and teaching English in diverse sociocultural contexts. As a former English teacher, administrator, and consultant in public and private secondary schools, she is especially interested in culturally sustaining and socially just literacy curricula and pedagogies in multicultural and urban classrooms. Key purposes of her work include complicating conversations about students of color and curriculum, reframing deficit conceptions of lower-income students of color, and advancing the theory and development of curricula that supports the academic success and multiple identity construction of minoritized students.