Beyond the City: Latino Scholarship Boys in the Rural South
Juan Carrillo

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

Primary Discipline

In 2014, President Barack Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative centered the importance of addressing the various systemic threats that face men of color in the United States. This call to action comes on the heels of a national conversation about police brutality and the important reminder that it signals regarding the growing and pervasive inequities within various levels of our society. Similarly, there is a growing body of work and attention put on the schooling experiences of males of color. This important work addresses issues such as punitive social and schooling practices, machismo, the importance of mentorship, as well anthropological and sociological takes on the counter-school attitudes of some low- income youth and the need for additive frameworks (Conchas, 2013; Foley, 1990; Noguera, Hurtado, Fergus, 2012; Rios, 2011; Saenz & Ponjuan, 2009). For Latino males, there is also growing focus on their schooling trajectories. In fact, for Latino males that are 18 and older, they makeup a population of about 16 million and only 10 percent graduate from college and 30 percent graduate from high school (US Population Survey, 2009). Yet, while many Latino students are now in places away from traditional gateway regions, most of the work on men of color in education is generally situated in urban contexts and/or uses quantitative analyses and does not necessarily address important dimensions of identity and academic achievement in rural communities. This research will focus on addressing this gap by focusing on the trajectories and identities of 20 Latino male college students that received most of their K-12 schooling in the rural North Carolina communities.North Carolina has the sixth fastest growing Latino population in the United States (Chesser, 2012). Latino students and families are reshaping the historically rooted Black-White binary in the south. Latinos in North Carolina are now entering the state’s colleges and universities and there is minimal understanding related to their identities and trajectories. Some of the research on Latinos in North Carolina has examined issues such as paternalism, benevolent racism, the politics of dual language programs, and the neoliberal co-option of the Spanish language (Cervantes Soon, 2014; Cuadros, 2006; Hamann, Wortham, & Murillo, Jr., 2002; Villenas, 2001). There remains a need to expand on this work. In fact, the research on Latino male college students in North Carolina is for the most part, non-existent. This is a problem in light of the fact that Latino settlement in the state will likely continue into the future.To examine the identities of North Carolina Latino Male college students, I will primarily draw from life history (Hatch, 2002) data collection and elements of photovoice (Wang & Burris, 1997). By following this process, my goals are to both contribute to research but also to engage the possibility of praxis and social action in ways that can improve the academic outcomes and contexts under which Latinos experience schooling within the state of North Carolina.In sum, this work will explore a population that is coming of age in a region that is under-examined. As such, this research will contribute to the academic literature on males of color in schools and hopefully provide a call to action to stakeholders within North Carolina and in other “new south” locations.
About Juan Carrillo
Juan F. Carrillo is an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina, at Chapel Hill School of Education and his primary affiliation is with the Cultural Studies and Literacies (CSL) program. He also teaches within the education minor and is a global studies affiliate faculty member. He is a native of the barrios of south Los Angeles, CA and he was a high school social studies teacher on the south side of Phoenix, Arizona and east Austin, Texas. Currently, his primary research interests include a focus on Latino education in the “new south” and on the identities of academically successful Latino male students. Dr. Carrillo is the 2014 UNC Chiron Award Winner for teaching excellence and service and he serves on executive board of the UNC Scholars’ Latino Initiative (SLI), a mentoring program for NC Latino high school youth. Also, he is currently developing a UNC research and community collaborative within the school of education that will focus on Latino education issues. He holds a PhD in Curriculum and Instruction, with a concentration in Cultural Studies in Education, and Mexican American Studies Graduate Portfolio from the University of Texas at Austin.

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