Dangerously Knowable: A Paradoxical Case of Constructing Radical Hybrid Literacy Practices

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen


In this paper I describe aspects of a case study of constructing radical hybrid literacy practices that show Lucy Luna, a White 2nd and 4th grade bilingual teacher and I, a White university researcher, engaged in paradoxical work. Over a year together, Lucy and I intended to utilize post-colonial concepts of hybridity and liminal spaces to create classroom practices that we hoped would disrupt dualisms in pedagogy such as English/Spanish and American/Other and open liminal spaces for students to express themselves in more relevant ways. However, I describe three paradoxical processes that unfolded: mastering hybridity, estranging the "strange," and (de)colonizing. I suggest that embracing the paradoxes of educational ethnography can push current research in multicultural education to move beyond positioning students as dangerously knowable by narrowly mapping student identities.

About the Author

Tricia Gallagher-Geurtsen, a former bilingual elementary and migrant education teacher, earned her Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University. Tricia teaches, writes, and consults about methods and theory for teaching multicultural and multilingual youth.  Tricia can be contacted at trish@cuttingedgeeducation.com

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