ARTICLE 1: Moll: What are “funds of knowledge”? What are the goals of this approach, and what role does the anthropologist play? How can Funds of Knowledge impact teaching and educational inequality? Any other takeaways from this article (both in terms of applied anthropology and education)?
ARTICLE 2: Checker: How did activists in Checker’s study build a coalition across ethnic groups? How did they construct an effective narrative about environmental justice? What did insights do you think ethnographic research (like Checker’s) can provide into environmentalist-activist movements? Any other thoughts on the article?
Requirements: The answer to each article should be at least 1-2 paragraphs.
“Like Nixon Coming to China”: Finding Common Ground in a Multi-Ethnic Coalition for Environmental Justice Author(s): Melissa Checker Source: Anthropological Quarterly, Jul., 2001, Vol. 74, No. 3 (Jul., 2001), pp. 135-146 Published by: The George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3318218JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at https://about.jstor.org/termsThe George Washington University Institute for Ethnographic Research is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Anthropological QuarterlyThis content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
“LIKE NIXON COMING TO CHINA”: FINDING COMMON GROUND IN A MULTI-ETHNIC COALITION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE MELISSA CHECKER New York University This article uses ethnographic fieldwork to illustrate how a multi-ethnic group of activists in Brooklyn, New York, formed a coalition for environmental justice in their neighborhood. Until the late 1980s local activists had organized in separate and antagonistic movements, compet- ing over access to housing, schools, and police protection. However, as they increasingly real- ized that the environment was an urban concern, and was subject to discrimination, activists added it to their organizing agendas. In so doing, activists began to construct an expansive environmental narrative that cast all minorities in the neighborhood as united in the face of disproportionately high pollution rates. Activists thus found that they could enhance their envi- ronmental struggles by creating environmental identities that superseded rigidly defined identi- ties based on ethnicity. Through organizing for environmental justice, activists redefined the meaning and significance of ethnic differences. [ethnicity, environmental justice, social move- ments, urban United States] In the dimming light of a fall afternoon in 1995 I navigated the crowded sidewalks of Brooklyn, New York’s Williamsburg/Greenpoint’ neighborhood on my way to a meeting of the Community Alliance for the Environment (CAFE). As I walked, I passed a typical array of taquerias, Chinese take-aways, and 99-cent stores. Within a few blocks, however, this diversity gave way to exclusively Spanish store signs and grocery stores containing traditional Latin foods. If I had continued walking a few blocks east and then south, I would have again found myself surrounded by monolingual store signs, only this time they would have been in Hebrew. Here, and within a ten-block radius, products from Israel lined grocery store shelves. Packages clearly announced which were milk and which meat. At the register a tzedakah (or charity) box waited to be filled with coins in a tradition dating back to biblical times. The close proximity of Latinos and Hasidim, along with a wide range of other ethnic groups, distin- guished Williamsburg/Greenpoint from other New York neighborhoods and made it one of the most di- verse (Greider 1993). Continuing my walk, I crossed under the Wil- liamsburg Bridge and arrived at the El Puente Acad- emy for Peace and Justice, headquartered in an old church in South Williamsburg. El Puente was crowded with teenagers that day, dressed in pressed pants and mini skirts and snacking on Caribbean food in celebration of Dominican Independence Day. Upstairs and away from the noise and bustle of the celebration, I joined approximately fifteen people seated in a circle of chairs. The faces around me represented the array of ethnic groups that I had passed on my way to the meeting. Meeting-goers in- cluded Latinos,2 Polish, Irish, and Asian Americans, white artists, a few African Americans, and several Hasidic men traditionally dressed in black hats, long black coats, and temple curls. Halfway through the meeting, an El Puente staff member introduced the only Hasidic woman present, also traditionally clad in a long skirt and wig. The staff member stood and quipped, “Rachel Goldenberg is going to do envi- ronmental education. Rabbi Niederman thinks she’s the Jewish savior-that might not go along with the religion, I don’t know [laughs].” Although the humor of this remark remained unclear to me, what was clear was the teller’s intent to make a joke and to demonstrate both his toler- ance of and his familiarity with Hasidic culture. Making light of Jewish beliefs before a mixed audi- ence signified a striking new cooperation between Latinos and Hasidim in Williamsburg/Greenpoint. Throughout the 1970s and 1980s these two groups had fought fierce battles over access to police pro- tection, housing, and schools. How, then, did it come to pass, on that autumn afternoon, that I sat among the members of a political coalition led by Hasidim and Latinos? How was it possible for the two groups, once locked in opposition, to chide one 135This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
136 ANTHROPOLOGICAL QUARTERLY another about their ethnic particularities? Based on fieldwork conducted with CAFE members between 1995 and 1996, in this article I argue that the cultural practices in which activists engaged as they organized for the environment re- vealed their re-casting of both the political signifi- cance of ethnicity and the meaning of ethnic differ- ences. As activists began to organize for the environment, they developed a collective environ- mental narrative that was locally salient and moti- vated organized action. By creating broad-based def- initions of the environment that included all aspects of their lives and of their social justice activism, ac- tivists constructed an environmental identity that su- perseded rigid ethnic categories. Using an ambigu- ously defined environment as a basis for unity, activists eventually expanded their newfound coop- eration and worked together on other social justice issues. Thus, this article demonstrates both the polit- ical significance and fluidity of ethnicity as it was practiced in the development and maintenance of an environmental justice organization. The discussion and definition of ethnicity has an extensive history in anthropological literature (see, for example, Fortes 1945; Leach 1960; Nadel 1947). Many of these studies find that ethnic catego- ries are defined contextually and in relation to other groups. For example, Murphy writes “membership in [any group], incorporation within it, is dependant upon a category of the excluded” (1964: 848). If ethnic groups are defined contextually, then the boundaries which delineate them are flexible and can shift according to a group’s perceived needs (Leach 1954; Moerman 1965; Nadel 1942). Moreo- ver, as Barth argues, when ethnic groups compete over resources, the articulation of ethnicity is a po- litical act (1969: 19). It is not surprising, then, that when Williamsburg/Greenpoint activists’ political in- terests shifted, so did certain aspects of ethnic or ra- cial definitions. Recent studies of urban-based political move- ments reveal a trend towards emphasizing ethnicity in political contexts (Horton 1992, 1995; Kasinitz 1992). For example, in his study of urban politics in Southern California Horton writes, “ethnicity was a salient political force.” He goes on to state that, while ethnicity was a powerful political tool, “[it was] unstable in meaning and equally in its situa- tional application” (1995: 230). Following Horton, I trace here the various ways that ethnic and racial identities were applied and perceived by activists in light of their political needs and New York City’s political climate. Emphasizing their diverse ethnic backgrounds was, for CAFE activists, both a politi- cal strategy and a way to build a collective identity that united them as members of the same commu- nity of “minorities.” While the construction of a collective, organiza- tional identity was critical to CAFE’s movement strategy, creating a unified identity across difference was complicated and required an on-going process of negotiation (Melucci 1988; see also Escobar and Alvarez 1992; Melucci 1989)3. I found that CAFE activists constructed a collective movement identity on a day-to-day basis through the jokes, metaphors, and symbols that they created as they organized for the environment. Moreover, as other social move- ment scholars have found, in articulating a collective movement identity, activists both incorporated and resisted state-generated discourses about ethnic di- versity (see Escobar 1992; Laclau and Mouffe 1985; Melucci 1988). Anthropologists have further argued that social movements must be understood in terms of the underlying cultural values and understandings that create them (Escobar 1992; Starn 1992). Through detailed “on the ground” analysis I will explore how their specific experiences as minorities acted as a lens through which CAFE activists de- fined the environment and environmental justice. These experiences led activists to develop expansive environmental narratives and create a broad-based environmental justice identity that enabled them to extend their cooperation to a host of social justice issues (see Harvey 1996). Combining environmentalism and social justice characterizes most environmental justice groups (Bullard 1993: 15). Begun in the early 1980s, envi- ronmental justice can be loosely defined as opposi- tion to racial or ethnic discrimination in environ- mental policy making and to the targeting of communities of color for toxic waste disposal and the siting of polluting industries (Chavis 1993: 3). Thus, environmental justice introduces a civil rights perspective into environmentalism (Bullard 1990, 1993; Bullard and Wright 1987, 1990; Castells 1997; Gottlieb 1993). Environmental justice activists are reconstructing the environment as an urban mi- nority issue as well as expanding the meaning of the environment to include a host of urban resources (Harvey 1996: 402; see also Ross 1993). For exam- ple, Novotnoy writes that urban environmental jus- tice activists publicly defined their environment as “where we live, work and play” (1995: 61). For CAFE, environmental justice meant improving allThis content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
MULTI-ETHNIC COALITION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE 137 aspects of their lives, particularly those subject to discrimination. This broad framing of the environ- ment also enabled activists to expand the meaning of ethnic differences. The following section illus- trates the historic essentialization and role of ethnic- ity in Williamsburg/Greenpoint’s community politics. Battles under the Bridge: A Tradition of Toxic Ten- sions in Williamsburg/Greenpoint Sandwiched between the Williamsburg Bridge, the East River, the Brooklyn Queens Expressway, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Williamsburg/Greenpoint, one of Brooklyn’s oldest neighborhoods, acts as a gateway to the outer boroughs of New York. Along with its diverse population of Hasidic Jews, Latinos, Asian, Irish, Polish, and African Americans, and white artists Williamsburg/Greenpoint also hosts an extraordinary number of polluting entities. Along its waterfront, heavy-manufacturing facilities including chemical plants, power plants, and foundries line the bank of the river (Camp et al. 1985: 2-4). Moving east, a band of light manufacturing plants is inter- spersed with residential neighborhoods. Still further east and surrounded by residential neighborhoods is an area zoned for heavy commercial industries in- cluding automotive repair and service and commer- cial laundries or cleaners. The remaining 66 percent of the neighborhood is almost entirely residential and houses Brooklyn’s most diverse mix of ethnic groups (Brooklyn Com- munity Board 1 1995: 9). According to the 1990 Census, approximately 47 percent of Williamsburg and Greenpoint residents are White NonHispanic, 45 percent are Hispanic, 6 percent are African Ameri- can, and 2 percent are Asian, Pacific Islander Non- Hispanic (U.S. Census 1990, cited in Brooklyn Community Board 1 1995: 9). Most of the residents are first, second, or third generation immigrants or artists seeking cheap space. Overall income in the community is quite low and the neighborhood’s Community Board estimated that, in 1993, 36 per- cent of Williamsburg/Greenpoint residents lived be- low official poverty standards, as compared to 23 percent of Brooklyn overall (U.S. Census 1990, cited in Brooklyn Community Board 1 1995:20). The history of the ethnic composition of this part of Brooklyn is fraught with the inter-ethnic ten- sions often found in crowded and poor areas where immigrant groups struggle for access to ever- shrinking municipal resources (Greider 1993; Hevesi 1994; see also Horton 1995). Hasidic immigration began after World War II when the Satmar, a sect of Hasidim who had survived the Holocaust, followed their grand Rebbe from Poland to the United States and settled in Williamsburg. Thereafter, Satmars and other, smaller groups of Hasidim continued to mi- grate from Eastern Europe to Williamsburg (Greider 1993: 36). Because of their strict religious practices, the Hasidim never assimilated into the social main- stream of New York City. For example, their ob- servances prohibited them from working on Friday afternoons or Saturdays, working in certain occupa- tions, or altering their style of dress. As a result, Hasidic incomes in Williamsburg are no higher than incomes of any other ethnic category (Greider 1993: 36). Further, the average Hasidic family has 7.8 children, which has led to extremely over-crowded housing conditions (United Talmudic Association 1993, cited in Hevesi 1994: 47). Also in the 1940s and 1950s Puerto Ricans and later Dominicans, Mexicans, and other Spanish- speaking immigrants moved to Williamsburg in large numbers. By 1974 the Latino population was over 50 percent (Susser 1984: 25). The various com- munities tended to cluster geographically and by ethnic affiliation. The Northside area (technically, Greenpoint) was home to Polish and Irish ethnic groups as well as a relatively large artist community. Historically, Greenpoint residents had higher in- comes and fewer female-headed households (p. 29). Latinos concentrated in an area known as Southside Williamsburg, comprised of the land just under and to the north and south of the Williamsburg Bridge. Across the Brooklyn Queens Expressway’s link to the Williamsburg Bridge and adjacent to the Navy Yard, South Williamsburg housed the Hasidic com- munity. Completed in 1952, the Expressway link, along with a small commercial triangle, physically divided South Williamsburg and Southside Williamsburg. Williamsburg/Greenpoint was not different from other cities across the United States in that local politics were fundamentally about a struggle for control over land use and opportunities for economic growth (Horton 1995). Because Williamsburg/Green- point was a particularly poor neighborhood, strug- gles focused on housing and employment opportu- nity. These battles contributed to a pervasive conception that, in order to get their slice of a very small pie, ethnic groups had to engage in fierce competition with one another. As in many urban ar- eas, ethnicity formed the basis for local political or- ganizing and resource battles were narrowly definedThis content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
138 ANTHROPOLOGICAL QUARTERLY along ethnic lines (Horton 1995). Due to the over-crowded conditions in Wil- liamsburg/Greenpoint, housing was a major issue in Williamsburg in the latter half of the twentieth cen- tury. Unsurprisingly, inter-ethnic resentments flared over this issue in particular. Latino community groups historically argued that the Hasidim received preferential treatment in the allocation of affordable housing and publicly funded schools; that the Hasidim had literally been “taking over the neigh- borhood” (Greider 1993: 37). Latino groups twice occupied housing projects on the eve of their open- ing for occupancy. The first time was in 1974 when 150 Hispanics occupied the Roberto Clemente Houses housing project because its future residents would be mainly Hasidim.4 This occupation turned into a small riot when the occupiers resisted police action (Gonzalez 1990: 25). Nineteen years later, in 1993, 200 Latinos occupied a housing project on the eve of its opening. Again, this project was to be lived in primarily by Hasidim (Hevesi 1994: 47; Schlieffer 1994: 2A). In 1983 the Koch administration announced a plan to construct a large number of private and pub- lic housing in a 40-acre area that they deemed the Williamsburg Renewal Area. The area set aside for accelerated development also happened to be located almost entirely within the Hasidic section of Wil- liamsburg. After protests by the Latino community in 1985, an additional renewal area was designated and located mainly within the Latino section of Wil- liamsburg/Greenpoint (Camp, Dresser, and McKee 1985: 12). Protests about unfair housing distribution persisted, however, and in 1989 the Southside Fair Housing Commission, a Latino based community group sued the city of New York to set aside hous- ing units for Latinos and African Americans. On the other hand, Hasidim felt frustrated by a perceived lack of municipal and neighborhood toler- ance for their need to adhere to religious traditions. For example, one of the focal points of the Hasidic side of the affordable housing issue was that, due to their strict religious observances, they needed to live within walking distance of their synagogues. There- fore, they required (and historically received) special housing privileges from the City. Hasidim also claimed they were excluded from low-income hous- ing projects because of Affirmative Action pro- grams. One Hasidic activist explained, There are just no apartments, people are just taking any- thing on the fifth floor up and they’re living there with 10 or 12 children …. They can’t get into a project because of affirmative action and um, Latino or other people. The Jews want to live near their synagogues, near their schools, near their parents and they tell them, “well you can go up to Harlem, I can give you an apartment in Chinatown.” These kinds of inter-ethnic tensions led to ap- proximately five riots and/or demonstrations in twelve years. In one example, in October 1990 a Hasidic man was arrested on sexual assault charges. A large protest ensued and led to aggressive clashes between protesting Hasidim and local police. Forty- five police officers were injured in the skirmishes (Schlieffer 1994: 2A). Commenting on the protest later, a Latino police officer complained about a general “preferential treatment” that was afforded to Hasidim over other ethnic groups (Gonzalez 1990: 25). In another instance, in July 1992 a Hasidic man beat a 13-year-old Latino boy who had accused him of shoplifting. Latinos angrily demonstrated follow- ing the incident (Greider 1993: 35; Hevesi 1994: 47). In the meantime Hasidim formed their own lo- cal police patrol and named it the Shomrim (Hebrew for “guardian”). By the end of 1992 tensions be- tween Hasidim and Latinos in Williamsburg/Green- point seemed to be reaching a boiling point, and some journalists who reported on the area forecasted a Crown-Heights-type of explosion (Greider 1993: 35; Hevesi 1994: 47). An environmental justice coalition spearheaded by Latinos and Hasidim, therefore, was a significant event that cut through the intense competition that had previously characterized relations between these groups. The creation of CAFE was also significant in that historically, minority communities have not considered the environment to be an urban issue (see Darnovsky 1996; Gottlieb 1993; Ross 1993; Taylor 1984, 1992). Forming CAFE thus required shifts in the relationship of activists to the environ- ment, itself as well as shifts in inter-ethnic relation- ships. In the following section I briefly describe how activists in Williamsburg/Greenpoint recognized the environment as an urban issue and one that af- fected minority groups. Encountering Environmental Injustice If you want to build incinerators, how’s the yard at Gracie? The Mayor would have choice words, including, you’re crazy. Victor Torres, a Williamsburg resident who identified himself as both Dominican and Puerto Ri-This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
MULTI-ETHNIC COALITION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE 139 can, wrote the poem from which I excerpted this quote. Torres’ poem re-works Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax.”5 The poem’s likening of the Lorax’s plight to the incinerator issue reflected the Williamsburg/ Greenpoint community’s growing awareness that, al- though the cutting down of forests and other kinds of wildlife preservation were not applicable to them as urban inhabitants, environmental degradation did include urban air and water. Further, residents were becoming increasingly aware that, in New York City, environmental quality was distributed unevenly and according to class and race (Collin and Harris 1993: 105). Hence, Mr. Torres’ implication that an incinerator would never be installed at Gracie Mansion. Throughout the 1980s toxic tragedies at Love Canal triggered a growing public awareness among Americans of the potential dangers of toxic waste (Szasz 1994). However, Williamsburg/Greenpoint activists were slow to add the environment to their already full list of social injustices. One African American activist in Williamsburg described her community’s reluctance to join the CAFE movement: They are just so tired of being beaten up with all the problems they had, with violence, with guns, with drugs, they really did not care about an incinerator. They would not take notice of it. We had to bring it to their attention. For this activist, more traditional urban issues took priority over protesting the building of an incinera- tor. For example, many community activists in Wil- liamsburg/Greenpoint initially welcomed the inciner- ator plan as an opportunity to increase local employment. CAFE leader Luis Garden Acosta explained: 1 remember when it was thought of that the Brooklyn Navy Yard would be the site of a giant incinerator, any- where from 44 to 55 stories, I remember our City Councilperson saying to us, some time back, “this will mean jobs for communities.” And many of us said “great.” Well, my father was an ex-hard hat in the Brook- lyn Navy Yard, and I said, “fantastic.” We just didn’t know. We didn’t know what the PCB would do, the extra lead, to an already compromised air quality . . . we just didn’t understand that the pollution in the Williamsburg/ Greenpoint area is some 20 times the national average. Acosta’s statement illustrates how job creation and the alleviation of poverty took priority on commu- nity leaders’ agendas and how local politicians stra- tegically emphasized those aspects of the incinerator proposal. The promise of job creation is another rea- son that many minority organizations were late in challenging environmental imbalances. Environmen- tal reform proposals that closed industrial plants often had the effect of eroding economic gains in minority communities and creating job loss (Bullard 1990: 105). Concerned about community income levels, minority activists often opposed environmen- tal reforms and sought the installation of industrial facilities. It was not until they became alarmed by a rise in certain health problems that Williamsburg/Green- point residents instigated their investigation into pos- sible sources of poor health in the community. For example, a Hasidic activist remembered: About three years ago my son was diagnosed with leuke- mia and . . . [the doctor] told me and others confirmed it, that the type of leukemia he had is caused by . . . ex- posure to radiation. And I researched it along with my neighbors. Unfortunately, on the block where I lived, there were at least ten cancer patients in the last ten years and it has increased since the last three years . . .. We got to- gether as volunteers, we wrote down as many cancer pa- tients as we knew in the neighborhood, it was close to 200 over the last ten years. Residents began to look to the Brooklyn Navy Yard as one source of poor health. Shrouded in mystery, operations at the Navy Yard had been a source of neighborhood suspicion for some time. One African American activist remembered: [We started] questioning because a lot of times you would drive around that area and you never quite knew what was going on in the Navy Yard. It’s still an enigma. Even though the incinerator is not there, there’s just so much ac- tivity going on in there. You go to bed at night, you wake up the next morning and there are smokestacks. And now, well we know that they have been doing a lot of toxic dumping there. I don’t know if it’s illegal, I believe they have permission to do it. But all of these things are being done in the backyard of our community. You know, our children are being raised here. We have high rates now of AIDS, drug addiction, children with respiratory problems. You know, we don’t need that in this area. We have the BQE, the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan Bridge, you know it’s just like coming on us and nobody is fighting for the people. This activist’s description of the Navy Yard illus- trates how local activists began to realize that they suffered from disproportionate sources of pollution as well as high rates of illness. At the same time, drawing on their experiences with institutional discrimination, activists linked poor neighborhood health and environmental quality to their status as minorities. For example, oneThis content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
140 ANTHROPOLOGICAL QUARTERLY Hasidic activist remembered a meeting with the City Health Department to discuss high cancer rates in Williamsburg: The health department was not very concerned. I remem- ber one woman, she came to a meeting and she was rude, she was saying, “Oh these people don’t go to a doctor on time.” I couldn’t believe it. We have so many cases where people got diagnosed in the early stages where it was caught and it was still benign. But that couldn’t go in as part of the health statistics. Only those cases that were al- ready malignant. All those cases that were caught early, those could not be included. Here, the health department official’s stereotyping of Hasidic Jews prevented her from validating their complaints of high cancer rates. These presupposi- tions also influenced the Health Department’s in- admission of certain kinds, of cancer cases in their report, weakening the evidence of high local cancer rates that the Hasidic community was compiling. Discovering that such institutional discrimina- tion also influenced the distribution of environmen- tal quality in New York City came as no shock to Williamsburg/Greenpoint residents. For example, one African American activist told me that uncover- ing environmental discrimination did not really sur- prise him because he “always felt it was like that.” Another activist viewed the proposed incinerator plan as just another instance of the City’s lack of “respect” for the residents of her neighborhood. She told me, “It really hurts me to see the way there is no respect for Williamsburg, because I don’t see people building incinerators in the suburbs or their own neighborhoods.” By attributing incidents of toxic waste siting in the neighborhood to its number of minorities, activ- ists linked the urban environment to other social jus- tice issues such as housing, jobs, and education. This linkage is the main thrust of grassroots envi- ronmental movements in minority neighborhoods. Bullard writes, Concern about equity appears to be the key to black com- munity resistance to the industrial siting. There is always an imbalance between costs and benefits. Costs are more localized while benefits are more dispersed. (1990: 88; see also Anglin 1998). A focus on environmental equity differentiates grassroots environmental justice movements from older, mainstream environmental movements, which tended to have a white, middle-class constituency and to concentrate on preservation and conservation (Bullard 1993; Taylor 1984, 1990). Thus, as they connected local health problems to the high number of toxic facilities in their neighborhood, residents came to view the environment as an urban resource that was subject to discrimination. In so doing, they added a clean environment to the list of resources for which they needed to struggle for access. The next section describes how environmental organizing differed from traditional social justice organizing in Williamsburg/Greenpoint in that it stimulated mul- tiethnic cooperation. It also illustrates how CAFE activists employed their multiculturalism as an effec- tive political strategy. Creating a Coalition for the Environment What brings us together is that we have the same interests, we’re living in the same place, the air is polluted just as well and we’re afraid of the same environmental pollutants. Initially, Latinos and Hasidim followed the usual patterns of local organizing and formed separate en- vironmental action groups. In the 1980s members of the Latino community formed the El Puente Acad- emy for Peace and Justice. Shortly thereafter El Pu- ente joined the environmental justice movement by starting the Toxic Avengers. The Toxic Avengers (who disbanded in 1992) was a group of mainly La- tino teenagers who organized local environmental protests. They disseminated information about local environmental hazards such as the dangers of lead paint and pollution around the Navy Yard and the bridges.6 The Avengers joined the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) to protest the designation of a radioactive waste storage site at the Radiac Research Corporation7 located one block from a neighborhood elementary school. Several years earlier NYPIRG had also worked with the United Jewish Organizations (UJO) to promote the Recycle First legislation, which would require the City to find recycling alternatives to waste management. In January 1991 Luis Garden Acosta, executive director of El Puente, invited Rabbi David Niederman, executive director of the UJO to join him in planning a rally against Radiac.8 The rally went smoothly. Then, when NYPIRG launched its anti-incinerator campaign in the spring of 1992, it invited both leaders to participate. The new cam- paign led to a community environmental summit that drew 1,200 people and provided the basis for CAFE, a coalition of neighborhood groups, led byThis content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
MULTI-ETHNIC COALITION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE 141 the triad of Acosta, Niederman, and Martin Brennan of NYPIRG. According to Garden Acosta, the 1992 summit was no small feat, and he often commented that it “was like Nixon coming to China.” Garden Acosta also often said that he met with Niederman when he realized that “we all breathe the same air” and “the government is laughing at both of us.” For Williamsburg/Greenpoint residents, the recognition that they shared an unhealthy environment became their basis for unity. Further, their polluted air be- came a metaphor for describing their common vul- nerability to institutional discrimination. To organize effectively and to maintain their new coalition, CAFE activists found that they had to develop non-exclusive language to describe their commonalties. Posters, press releases, and flyers were multi-lingual, and activists began referring to themselves as “minorities” and victims of “discrim- ination” rather than using terms that applied only to specific groups, such as “racism” or “anti- Semitism.” In private, activists also found genera- lized words to describe their situation. For instance, an African American activist described how if Wil- liamsburg/Greenpoint had greater “voting power,” its dwellers would not be the target of toxic siting practices. Imagining the thought processes of the politicians, he said: It’s an area where the votes are no threat to us, maybe we should put it there-what can we lose? But if we go to an area where maybe we’re expecting a lot of votes and peo- ple come out and they keep us in office, we better be more careful about tampering with those areas. In another interview a white, Anglo activist first cited class as a reason for his neighborhood’s being singled out for the incinerator and then added ethnicity to his explanation. This activist told me: This is a working-class neighborhood, working people and often politicians or those people that want to put a garbage dump or an incinerator or what-not go to neighborhoods like this because they think-mistakenly on their part– people don’t have the resources to fight back . . . [They think that] people are not organized enough, they speak Spanish, they speak Polish and they speak Yiddish, you know. The speaker’s train of thought implies that the eth- nic makeup of Williamsburg/Greenpoint (many of whose residents still spoke as their primary language a language other than English) was intertwined with the economic composition of the neighborhood. For this activist, both class and minority status led to his neighborhood being chosen to house the incinerator. By finding ambiguous terms such as “working people” and people whose “votes are no threat” to categorize a mutual lack of power, activists pro- duced a multi-dimensional identity. The meaning of ethnic identity, therefore, was left open to include all disempowered people in Williamsburg/Green- point. Given the number of minorities living in the area and its overall low income, most residents of Williamsburg/Greenpoint counted themselves among the disempowered. Latinos, African Americans, Hasidim, Polish Americans all fell into a common category which combined their ethnic identities with their relatively low economic and political clout. With the force of nearly all community members be- hind them, CAFE activists were empowered to op- pose the City’s siting practices. The formation of CAFE also coincided with an upswing in political trends towards celebrating di- versity (around that time, Dinkins issued a now- famous quote that referred to New York City as a “gorgeous mosaic”). As a diverse coalition, CAFE activists quickly found that they attracted greater po- litical attention. For example, Garden Acosta recal- led a story about how the coalition initially made itself known to city politicians: We sat down with Mayor Dinkins. And I can tell you it was the first time Latinos, Hasidim, African American, Po- lish people all came together before him. He’d never seen anything like that before. That group made little headway during the meeting in convincing Dinkins to dump the incinerator plan. But, for the mayor, the publicity surrounding his meeting with a multi-ethnic coalition such as CAFE positioned him as a leader open to the needs of all of his constituents. Activists, thus, strategically emphasized their diversity, knowing that it had potential to be a pow- erful political tool (see also Takaki 1987: 4). At public events CAFE presented unmistakable physical signs of how their coalition brought together distinct communities. Niederman, in his long dark coat, brimmed hat, beard, and temple curls, stood next to olive-skinned Garden Acosta who sported a mous- tache and often wore pinstripes. Surrounding these two men, a crowd of Hasidic, Latino, African Amer- ican, and Anglo American men, women, and chil- dren held signs of protest. For instance, a 1995 pub- lic hearing against the incinerator culminated with the testimony of Rabbi Niederman. Niederman en- ded his testimony by holding up a poster and say-This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
142 ANTHROPOLOGICAL QUARTERLY ing, “And I can say one thing. This is in three lan- guages here. Young and old, Spanish, Yiddish, English, saying one thing. No incineration.” Niederman’s finale stressed that, in their diversity, CAFE also had established a large constituency. This constituency proved powerful enough to sway City Council members. A few months after the hear- ing mentioned above, the Council voted to require a new Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) before they would consent to building an incinerator. Be- cause they were certain that a new EIS would show the unmistakable and irreversible danger of building an incinerator, CAFE counted this decision as a victory. Balibar (1991) and others have pointed out the dangers of multicultural rhetoric as it often wrongly suggests that inter-group antagonisms result from cultural misunderstandings, or “problem[s] of indi- vidual awareness” (Gregory 1994: 149; see also Gregory 1998; Harrison 1995). State-generated cele- brations of diversity tend to use a superficial dis- course to gloss over the larger social and economic processes that lead to differential and discriminatory distributions of resources (Harrison 1998). In Wil- liamsburg/Greenpoint antagonism between groups stemmed not just from intolerance of each other’s cultural practices, but from their competition over resources made scarce by inequitable distribution. An overly celebratory display of their diversity, then, risked local politicians’ shifting the burden of overcoming antagonism onto community members’ shoulders. Horton (1995) addresses superficial celebrations of multiculturalism by distinguishing between “es- tablishment” and “connective” diversity. According to Horton, establishment diversity is managed by the state and de-emphasizes conflict and power. For ex- ample, he argues that public festivals in diverse neighborhoods present obligatory displays of ethnic food. This expression of diversity is mandated by municipal entities and is a hollow symbol of ethnic integration. Connective diversity, on the other hand, “is associated with the formation of inter-ethnic alli- ances favoring the empowerment and inclusion of under-represented populations.” Connective diver- sity, according to Horton, allows power and class differences to cut across ethnic divisions (p. 233). While Horton’s distinctions are useful in delineating types of diversity, I would also argue that one type of connection can lead to the other. In CAFE, or- ganizing across ethnic diversity eventually went be- yond a superficial valorization of multiculturalism and established a basis for collective mobilizations against city policies. The next section illustrates how activists arrived at a connective form of diversity organizing. Sharing Air We’re [Hasidim] still very different from them [Latinos] and I don’t see in certain ways how we do click with them, but certain things that we do click on, it’s a benefit to both communities. By framing their struggle for environmental justice as one to be fought on behalf of all minorities and by recognizing that they were all-together discrimi- nated against, CAFE members set aside some of the issues that had previously factionalized them. This enabled them to work together to improve the shared problem of pollution in their neighborhood. To build connective diversity, CAFE activists began by learning about one another’s cultural particulari- ties. On a day-to-day level CAFE activists didneed to alter their perceptions of other cultures to ad- vance group cohesion. For example, one African American activist explained the importance of blur- ring common stereotypes in the process of building a coalition: You’ll have Farragut, not Farragut, Farrakhan, make a statement and everybody gets bunched in and that’s not how it is. Now [laughs] and I hate to say this, I have many friends who are Jewish. This activist went on to describe how through eve- ryday interactions CAFE members gained intercul- tural understandings: And through the CAFE meetings we do talk. You just have to be mindful of the social differences like don’t get offended when the Rabbi shakes the man’s hand but not yours. You just have to realize that this is not what they do and then certain people will have to be taught, don’t get offended, it’s not a racial thing because they don’t shake our hand, they don’t shake any woman’s hand. It’s just knowledge. You have to get the people knowledge. But that’s one of my goals is to bridge us together. Within an atmosphere of inter-ethnic co- operation, members eventually felt free to make jokes (such as the one described at the beginning of this article) about other ethnicities’ cultural particu- larities. For example, at one meeting, as Rabbi Neiderman walked in an hour late, Garden Acosta chided, “I see you’re on Hasidic time again.” Neiderman jovially responded, “I see you finallyThis content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
MULTI-ETHNIC COALITION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE 143 got kosher milk and coffee.” Early on, CAFE leaders codified their commit- ment to multiethnic cooperation by creating a docu- ment entitled the “Principles of Unity.” This credo set forth CAFE’s purposes as being two-fold: To save our children from the threat of all environmental and social poisons [that is, discrimination] and most espe- cially [to] build bridges of unity through the diversity of cultures, ethnicities, races, and religions of North Brooklyn. The purpose presented here exemplifies two impor- tant points. First, the Principles of Unity explicitly linked environmentalism to social justice. Second, building “bridges of unity through diversity” sig- naled activists’ desire to empower themselves through the creation of a united front that could more effectively oppose municipal institutions. The Principles of Unity also laid out organiza- tional rules geared to facilitating unity. One of these rules stated, “All CAFE meetings/negotiations, pro- posals for resources and development that will have an impact on North Brooklyn as a whole may only be promoted on the basis of consensus.” Establish- ing a rule of consensual action allowed each move- ment member to feel that he or she had equal input into group decisions. In this way, movement mem- bers carved out a social space where they could re- verse their experiences of disempowerment in the larger society. “[The] construction of an egalitarian community . . . create[s] a feeling of equality,” explains social movement theorist, Ruth Cardoso (1983: 22, emphasis hers). It would be misleading, however, to character- ize CAFE as a frictionless, unitary entity (Escobar and Alvarez 1992). Rather, CAFE members found that differences between them continued to exist, but were set aside in the interests of group cohesion.9 One activist explained: People have agreed to work on issues of common agree- ment and have agreed to disagree on other issues. Which is the way you construct a united front. Looking for areas of common agreement rather than disagreement. Outside the areas of common agreement, people still have dis- agreements and still raise them and there’s still tensions and friction, but people certainly to my experience have been supportive and that has not been impinged on. As this activist pointed out, differences and dis- agreements were not ignored, but were brought up in other more specific contexts when the work of CAFE would not be compromised. By laying aside their differences, CAFE members constructed a col- lective identity that emphasized their commonalties and enabled them effectively to challenge the incinerator. To sustain their newfound cooperation and col- lective identity, activists consistently described themselves as collective victims of environmental discrimination. At one CAFE meeting Garden Acosta told assembled movement participants: We trust each other now. We’ve sustained all kinds of problems. If we have that kind of faith and trust in each other, it’s because this is cancer country now. Because studies coming up are showing we’re cancer country. Referring to Williamsburg/Greenpoint as “cancer country” emphasizes a common experience as well as calls attention to the immediate dangers that envi- ronmental problems posed to the community. This discourse of the environment as a threat acted as an agent of cohesion for the group. In other words, activists cooperated in response to their need to protect themselves from city policies that would jeopardize their health and safety. Simmel (1955) ar- gues that movements that presuppose a high degree of abstraction uniting them over and above individ- ual particularities are able to overcome concrete dif- ferences. Often, this unifying, abstract concept rep- resents an on-going threat to movement members (see also Conquergood 1992). Simmel states, “unifi- cation by a more chronic than acute danger, an al- ways latent but exposing conflict, will be most ef- fective where the problem is lasting unification of somehow divergent elements” (1955: 106). The idea of a shared, poisoned environment which hovered unjustly over the Williamsburg/Greenpoint commu- nity served as the abstract and chronic danger which united CAFE members. In this way, CAFE activists constructed an environmental narrative that sustained their political cooperation. Recognizing the feasibility and power of coali- tion politics inspired activists to attempt to work to- gether to improve other spheres of community life. For instance, the Los Sures Housing Development Corporation, a Latino-based community development corporation, and UJO put together a proposal to the City to fund a joint affordable housing develop- ment.’0 In addition, Latino and Hasidic leaders de- cided to rename the Shomrim as the Williamsburg Patrol and to include Asian Americans, Latinos, and African Americans as well as Hasidim (Greider 1993: 38). Finally, UJO and El Puente leaders began working with other community non-profits to estab- lish the Williamsburg Neighborhood Based Alliance,This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
144 ANTHROPOLOGICAL QUARTERLY a project specifically designed to study such com- munity needs as health care, day care, and housing. The proposed Alliance would also develop a plan for how the city could assist the community in meeting those needs (p. 38). The built environment historically divided ac- tivists into competitive groups that were considered mutually exclusive. The intangible environment, however, in its unhealthy state, provided an initial basis upon which activists could find common ground. By consistently invoking a narrative that cast the environment as equally shared by all Wil- liamsburg/Greenpoint residents, CAFE members found that they had similar needs and could put aside differences in the interests of accomplishing an array of mutual goals. As one activist said, summing up the environment’s general applicability, “It’s in the air . . . . You know, I think the environment effects everyone; no one could turn a blind eye to it.” Conclusion Discovering that all ethnic groups in Williamsburg/ Greenpoint had the same needs for a healthy envi- ronment changed the significance and meaning of ethnic differences. In other words, rather than com- peting over urban resources, activists co-operated in their efforts to secure them. This shift in political in- terests and newfound basis for alliances led activists to frame themselves as one discriminated-against group. Horton states that ethnic identities “[are] constructed on the basis of situationally defined po- litical and class interests” (1992: 244). I would add that identities are also re-constructed as those inter- ests shift and change. In CAFE’s case, the lines that had once sharply defined ethnic identities were ex- panded in response to activists’ recognition of the need to safeguard their urban environment. Thus, this article has showed how organizing for the environment catalyzed the formation of a multiethnic social movement. Once they realized that the environment was an urban resource that was distributed unevenly according to ethnicity, race, and class, activists added it to their agendas for social change. As they expanded their definition of the en- vironment from a white, middle-class issue to a mi- nority concern, activists also cast it as a basis for in- ter-ethnic cooperation. Exploiting the ambiguity of “the environment” as an organizing narrative, CAFE activists found a way to set aside differences and form an inclusive environmental coalition. To construct a collective movement identity, CAFE members described their ethnicity in neutral terms. Whereas ethnic categories had once been based on language or national origins, they were now based on a mutual lack of power. This re-categorization of ethnicity illustrates the fluidity of ethnic boundaries and, perhaps more importantly, how they shift ac- cording to the needs of a given situation. The instal- lation of a giant incinerator posed an immediate threat to Wijliamsburg/Greenpoint residents’ health and stimulated recognition that resource battles might be more effectively fought by a pluralistic co- alition. The creation of a multiethnic movement also coincided with political trends towards celebrating diversity. While emphasizing their multicultural identity became a critical political strategy, it also led CAFE activists to develop the connections nec- essary for a truly inclusive and powerful grassroots coalition. These findings suggest the complexity and im- portance of the political management of ethnicity in urban settings. While local power structures promote superficial versions of diversity, the unequal distri- bution of urban resources continues to pit ethnic groups against one another. At the same time, com- petition over urban resources can be transformed into cooperation through the shifting of ethnic boundaries. As my research revealed, this shift oc- curred in response to a real, but latent, threat. How- ever, I hesitate to forecast a frictionless and over- whelmingly successful future for CAFE. The continued scarcity and unequal distribution of urban resources may return activists to a tradition of inter- group competition that will overcome environmen- tally based pluralism. At the same time I do wish to conclude that the case of CAFE reveals some of the day-to-day processes by which multiethnic coalitions can develop and be managed as well as the pos- sibilities for their power. NOTES Acknowledgments I would like to thank Drs. Owen Lynch and Steven Gregory, who encouraged my embarking on this research to fulfill requirements for my M.A. degree. I would also like to thank the many CAFE activists who allowed me to participate in and observe their organization and who willingly and enthusiasti- cally allowed me to interview them. Finally, this article was im- measurably enhanced by the comments of Uriel Grezemkovsky and anonymous reviewers for Anthropological Quarterly. SomeThis content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Tue, 08 Mar 2022 17:54:24 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
MULTI-ETHNIC COALITION FOR ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE 145 of the material presented here is also included in my paper, “‘It’s in the Air’: Redefining the Environment as a New Metaphor for Old Social Justice Struggles,” a comparative analysis of environ- mental justice organizing. ‘Both the Williamsburg and Greenpoint neighborhoods make up Brooklyn Community Board District 1. Local activists com- monly referred to the two neighborhoods as one community called Williamsburg/Greenpoint. 2To describe different ethnic categories I use the terms that activists themselves employed (see Horton 1995). In Williams- burg/Greenpoint the Spanish-speaking community members had emigrated mainly from the Spanish-speaking Caribbean and re- ferred to themselves as Latino. 3The strategic construction of collective identities among contemporary social movement actors is a key point in defining the “new social movement” approach to social movement study. Over the past decade scholars have created lively debates over the category “new.” Because these debates are tangential to the central arguments of this article, I will not address them directly. However, effective treatments of new social movement theory can be found in Buechler 1995; Cohen 1992; Escobar and Alva- rez 1992; and Melucci 1994. 4It is interesting to note the discrepancy between the Span- ish name of this project and the fact of its placement in a Hasidic section of the neighborhood. 5″The Lorax” is a children’s book in which an imaginary creature stages a lone protest against the eradication of the forest where he lived by a large clothing manufacturer. 6More information on the Toxic Avengers, such as the rea- sons they disbanded, was not available. 7Interview with Martin Brennan, NYPIRG staff member, October 1995. 8The details of this invitation were unclear. 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Funds of Knowledge for Teaching: Using a Qualitative Approach to Connect Homes and Classrooms Author(s): Luis C. Moll, Cathy Amanti, Deborah Neff and Norma Gonzalez Source: Theory Into Practice, Spring, 1992, Vol. 31, No. 2, Qualitative Issues in Educational Research (Spring, 1992), pp. 132-141 Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. Stable URL: https://www.jstor.org/stable/1476399JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact email@example.com. Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at https://about.jstor.org/termsTaylor & Francis, Ltd. is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to Theory Into PracticeThis content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Luis C. Moll Cathy Amanti Deborah Neff Norma Gonzalez Funds of Knowledge for Teaching: Using a Qualitative Approach to Connect Homes and Classrooms We form part of a collaborative project between education and anthropology that is studying household and classroom practices within working-class, Mexican communities in Tucson, Arizona. The primary purpose of this work is to develop innovations in teaching that draw upon the knowledge and skills found in local house- holds. Our claim is that by capitalizing on household and other community resources, we can organize classroom instruction that far ex- ceeds in quality the rote-like instruction these children commonly encounter in schools (see, e.g., Moll & Greenberg, 1990; see also Moll & Dfaz, 1987). To accomplish this goal, we have developed a research approach that is based on under- standing households (and classrooms) qualita- tively. We utilize a combination of ethnographic observations, open-ended interviewing strate- gies, life histories, and case studies that, when combined analytically, can portray accurately the complex functions of households within their socio-historical contexts. Qualitative research offers a range of methodological alternatives that can fathom the array of cultural and intellectual resources available to students and teachers Luis C. Moll is associate professor of education at the University of Arizona; Cathy Amanti is a sixth grade bilingual teacher (on leave) and a doctoral student in anthropology at the University of Arizona; and Deborah Neff and Norma Gonzalez are anthro- pologists at the Bureau of Applied Research in An- thropology, University of Arizona. within these households. This approach is par- ticularly important in dealing with students whose households are usually viewed as being “poor,” not only economically but in terms of the quality of experiences for the child. Our research design attempts to coordinate three interrelated activities: the ethnographic analysis of household dynamics, the examina- tion of classroom practices, and the development of after-school study groups with teachers. These study groups, collaborative ventures between teachers and researchers, are settings within which we discuss our developing understanding of households and classrooms. These study groups also function as “mediating structures” for developing novel classroom practices that involve strategic connections between these two entities (see Moll et al., 1990). In this article we discuss recent develop- ments in establishing these “strategic connec- tions” that take the form of joint household re- search between classroom teachers and uni- versity based researchers, and the subsequent development of ethnographically informed classroom practices. We first present a summa- ry of our household studies and the findings that form the bases of our pedagogical work. We then present an example of recent research between a classroom teacher and an anthropol- ogist, highlighting details of their visit to a household, and the teacher’s development of an instructional activity based on their observa- tions. We conclude with some comments on the work presented. Theory Into Practice, Volume XXXI, Number 2, Spring 1992This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Some Basic Findings As noted, central to our project is the quali- tative study of households. This approach in- volves, for one, understanding the history of the border region between Mexico and the United States and other aspects of the sociopolitical and economic context of the households (see, e.g., Velez-lbanez, in press; see also Heyman, 1990; Martinez, 1988). It also involves analyz- ing the social history of the households, their origins and development, and most prominently for our purposes, the labor history of the families, which reveals the accumulated bodies of knowledge of the households (see Velez-lbfaez & Greenberg, 1989). With our sample,1 this knowledge is broad and diverse, as depicted in abbreviated form in Table 1. Notice that household knowledge may include information about farming and animal management, associated with households’ rural origins, or knowledge about construction and building, related to urban occupations, as well as knowledge about many other matters, such as trade, business, and finance on both sides of the border (see, e.g., Moll & Greenberg, 1990). We use the term “funds of knowledge” to refer to these historically accumulated and culturally developed bodies of knowledge and skills es- sential for household or individual functioning and well-being (Greenberg, 1989; Tapia, 1991; Velez-lbfaez, 1988). Our approach also involves studying how household members use their funds of knowl- edge in dealing with changing, and often diffi- cult, social and economic circumstances. We are particularly interested in how families develop social networks that interconnect them with their social environments (most importantly with oth- er households), and how these social relation- ships facilitate the development and exchange of resources, including knowledge, skills, and labor, that enhance the households’ ability to survive or thrive (see, e.g., Moll & Greenberg, 1990; Velez-lbanez & Greenberg,1989; see also Keefe & Padilla, 1987). Two aspects of these household arrange- ments merit emphasis here, especially because they contrast so sharply with typical classroom practices. One is that these networks are flexi- ble, adaptive, and active, and may involve mul- tiple persons from outside the homes; in our terms, they are “thick” and “multi-stranded,” meaning that one may have multiple relation- Table 1 A Sample of Household Funds of Knowledge Agriculture and Mining Ranching and farming Horse riding skills Animal management Soil and irrigation systems Crop planting Hunting, tracking, dressing Mining Timbering Minerals Blasting Equipment operation and maintenance Economics Business Market values Appraising Renting and selling Loans Labor laws Building codes Consumer knowledge Accounting Sales Material & Scientific Knowledge Construction Carpentry Roofing Masonry Painting Design and archi- tecture Repair Airplane Automobile Tractor House maintenance Medicine Contemporary medicine Drugs First aid procedures Anatomy Midwifery Folk medicine Herbal knowledge Folk cures Folk veterinary cures Household Management Religion Budgets Childcare Cooking Appliance repairs Catechism Baptisms Bible studies Moral knowledge and ethics ships with the same person or with various per- sons. The person from whom the child learns carpentry, for example, may also be the uncle with whom the child’s family regularly celebrates birthdays or organizes barbecues, as well as the person with whom the child’s father goes fishing on weekends. Thus, the “teacher” in these home based contexts of learning will know the child as a “whole” person, not merely as a “student,” tak- ing into account or having knowledge about the multiple spheres of activity within which the child Volume XXXI, Number 2 133This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
is enmeshed. In comparison, the typical teach- er-student relationship seems “thin” and “single- stranded,” as the teacher “knows” the students only from their performance within rather limited classroom contexts. Additionally, in contrast to the households and their social networks, the classrooms seem encapsulated, if not isolated, from the social worlds and resources of the community. When funds of knowledge are not readily available within households, relationships with individuals outside the households are activated to meet either household or individual needs. In class- rooms, however, teachers rarely draw on the resources of the “funds of knowledge” of the child’s world outside the context of the class- room. A second, key characteristic of these ex- changes is their reciprocity. As Velez-lbanez (1988) has observed, reciprocity represents an “attempt to establish a social relationship on an enduring basis. Whether symmetrical or asym- metrical, the exchange expresses and symbol- izes human social interdependence” (p. 142). That is, reciprocal practices establish serious obligations based on the assumption of “con- fianza” (mutual trust), which is reestablished or confirmed with each exchange, and leads to the development of long-term relationships. Each exchange with relatives, friends, and neighbors entails not only many practical activities (every- thing from home and automobile repair to ani- mal care and music) but constantly provides contexts in which learning can occur-contexts, for example, where children have ample oppor- tunities to participate in activities with people they trust (Moll & Greenberg, 1990). A related observation, as well, is that chil- dren in the households are not passive by- standers, as they seem in the classrooms, but active participants in a broad range of activities mediated by these social relationships (see La Fontaine, 1986). In some cases, their participa- tion is central to the household’s functioning, as when the children contribute to the economic production of the home, or use their knowledge of English to mediate the household’s commu- nications with outside institutions, such as the school or government offices. In other cases they are active in household chores, such as repairing appliances or caring for younger sib- lings. Our analysis suggests that within these contexts, much of the teaching and learning is 134 Theory Into Practice motivated by the children’s interests and ques- tions; in contrast to classrooms, knowledge is obtained by the children, not imposed by the adults. This totality of experiences, the cultural structuring of the households, whether related to work or play, whether they take place individ- ually, with peers, or under the supervision of adults, helps constitute the funds of knowledge children bring to school (Moll & Greenberg, 1990). Funds of Knowledge for Teaching Our analysis of funds of knowledge repre- sents a positive (and, we argue, realistic) view of households as containing ample cultural and cognitive resources with great, potential utility for classroom instruction (see Moll & Greenberg, 1990; Moll et al., 1990). This view of house- holds, we should mention, contrasts sharply with prevailing and accepted perceptions of working- class families as somehow disorganized social- ly and deficient intellectually; perceptions that are well accepted and rarely challenged in the field of education and elsewhere (however, see McDermott, 1987; Moll & Diaz, 1987; Taylor & Dorsey-Gaines, 1988; see also Velez-lbanez, in press). But how can teachers make use of these funds of knowledge in their teaching? We have been experimenting with the aforementioned arrangements that involve developing after- school settings where we meet with teachers to analyze their classrooms, discuss household observations, and develop innovations in the teaching of literacy. These after-school settings represent social contexts for informing, assist- ing, and supporting the teachers’ work; settings, in our terms, for teachers and researchers to exchange funds of knowledge (for details, see Moll et al.,1990).2 In analyzing our efforts, however, we real- ized that we had relied on the researchers to present their findings to the teachers and to fig- ure out the relevance of that information for teaching. Although we were careful about our desires not to impose but to collaborate with teachers, this collaboration did not extend to the conduct of the research. In our work with teachers, at least as far as household data were concerned, we relied on a “transmission” mod- el: We presented the information, teachers re- ceived it, without actively involving them- selves in the development or production ofThis content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
this knowledge. But how could it be otherwise? Was it feasible to ask teachers to become field researchers? What would they get out of it? Could they develop similar insights to those de- veloped by the anthropologists in our research team? What about methods? Could they, for example, with little experience, understand the subtleties of ethnographic observations? In what follows we present a case example from our most recent work that addresses these questions. The goal of the study was to explore teacher-researcher collaborations in conducting household research and in using this informa- tion to develop classroom practices. As part of the work, 10 teachers participated in a series of training workshops on qualitative methods of study, including ethnographic observations, in- terviews, the writing of field notes, data man- agement, and analysis.3 Each teacher (with two exceptions) then selected for study three households of children in their classrooms. In total, the teachers visited 25 households (the sample included Mexican and Yaqui families) and conducted approximately 100 observations and interviews during a semester of study (for details, see Velez-lbahez, Moll, Gonzalez, & Neff, 1991). Rather than provide further technical details about this project, however, we present an edit- ed transcript from a recent presentation4 by a teacher (Cathy Amanti) and an anthropologist (Deborah Neff) who collaborated in the study. They describe their experiences conducting the research, and provide a revealing glimpse of the process of using qualitative methods to study households and their funds of knowledge. Studying Household Knowledge In their presentation, Amanti and Neff first described some of their concerns in conducting the work, including how their assumptions and previous experiences may have influenced their observations. They also described their plan- ning. Notice how they decided to divide the methodological responsibilities for conducting the interviews and observations. DN: We are going to share with you some of our experience in working as a team doing house- hold interviews. We have chosen the Lopez family, a pseudonym, as the focus of this brief talk. The L6pezes are the parents of one of Cathy’s students, whom we will call Carlos. In going into the homes, we carry with us cultur- al and emotional baggage that tends to color our understanding of interviews and observations. We have fears and assumptions, and perhaps misun- derstandings. I for one did not know exactly what to expect when I first went into the Lopez home with Cathy. I had heard talk of dysfunctional homes, lack of discipline, lack of support systems and so forth, but remained skeptical of these negative character- izations. Having done fieldwork before, I was accus- tomed to this kind of uncertainty. CA: I, however, was nervous because I was go- ing out in the field for the first time with someone who’s had experience doing this type of research. Deborah had experience doing ethnography, I did not, and I was concerned about balancing doing in- terviews and observations with establishing and maintaining rapport. I was glad, though, that she was there, and I wanted her feedback to make sure I was getting what I should from the visit. In 2 years of teaching, I had visited only a hand- ful of homes. So, I had been into some of these homes before but only for school-related reasons, for example, delivering a report card, but I’d only visited for a brief period of time. These research visits were to be different-I had to observe, ask questions, take notes, and establish rapport-it was a lot to assimilate, with many activities to coordinate at the same time. One problem I had, for example, was deciding how closely to stick to the question- naires. DN: We discussed that and Cathy decided to stick closely to the questionnaire for the time being until she got more comfortable with the procedure. She would conduct the interviews in Spanish, the language of the parents, and we decided that both of us would take notes. I would concentrate more on observations, body language, and overall context, noting suggestions to improve our interview skills and topics to follow up on in future visits. Cathy would conduct the interview and respond to the par- ents’ questions. We decided the first interview, in particular, would be to establish rapport. We spent a lot of time first discussing the child, for example, Carlos’s performance in Cathy’s class. Cathy also informed Mrs. Lopez of school activities she might want to be involved in, such as a culmi- nating activity to a literature unit. It took us about 10 minutes to explain the project. The L6pezes had no difficulty understanding the potential benefits to the child, although they were not quite clear about what we wanted from them. That became clear as the interviews progressed. They were glad to participate, although Mrs. Lopez preferred not to be tape record- ed. CA: I was glad that she was able to tell us that so readily. Each time we went, we talked about the child, and tried to make astute observations. Some of these observations included, for example, notic- ing and asking about family photos and trophies. Volume XXXI, Number 2 135This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Encyclopedias on corner bookshelves provided a natural entree into topics of family history and social networks of exchange, literacy, and the parents’ pride in their child’s achievements. DN: At first, going into the Lopez home, I felt a little nervous too, because it was my experience to spend an enormous amount of time living with and interacting with the families before gaining the kind of entree we were hoping to gain in this first inter- view. I didn’t realize then that Cathy, as Carlos’s teacher, had a natural entree into the home, and had an implicit connection with Carlos’s parents. I can’t emphasize this enough. She was their son’s teacher, and so we were treated with a tremendous amount of respect and warmth. I was amazed at how easily and quickly Cathy gained rapport with Mrs. Lopez, and how much the Lopezes opened up to us. The anthropologist noticed that the teacher held a special status with the family that could help establish the trust necessary for the ex- change of information. After making sure that the family understood the purpose of the visit, the teacher started the interview, and was sur- prised by how forthcoming the mother was with information. Cathy, the teacher, also realized that she was starting to blend her role as a teacher with her new role as researcher; as she gathered new information about the family, their history and activities, she started making con- nections to instructional activities she wanted to develop-a common experience among the teachers and a key moment in our work. CA: Once we began the interview, it seemed that Ms. Lopez was really enjoying talking about her family, her children, and her life. They had told us this in training, that people would open up once they get talking. For instance, when she got on the sub- ject of the difference between Mexican and U.S. schools, she just kept talking, and we let her go with it, and got more out of it than if we had stayed strict- ly with the questionnaire. But we had to balance that with our agenda, and for the first interview the main thing was to get the family history so we would have a baseline for discussing literacy, parenting, attitudes towards school, and funds of knowledge. The issue of balancing use of the questionnaire and letting it go to probe on emergent issues was never totally resolved for me. That’s why it was helpful to have an anthropologist with me. For example, during one later interview, I was prepared to accept a short answer from a parent and go on to the next question, but at Deborah’s urging, I probed further and ended up with good information on religious de- votion as a fund of knowledge, something that I would have missed. DN: Eventually, we returned to the questionnaire, moving on to discuss the family’s labor history. CA: As we progressed asking questions about family background and labor history, I began to re- lax, although I was concerned with whether I was getting enough material that would be useful later in developing a learning module. Actually I never totally disengaged from my role as a teacher and when such things as cross-border trade came up, I thought this would be a great topic to use in my classroom and I tried to figure out how I could capture this resource for teaching. Seeing Beyond Stereotypes An important aspect of the teachers’ partic- ipation in the household research became the more sophisticated understanding they devel- oped about the children and their experiences. There is much teachers do not know about their students or families that could be immediately helpful in the classroom, as the following com- ments illustrate. DN: One of the things that we learned about the L6pezes that we didn’t know before was the depth of the multicultural experiences their son, Carlos, had in cross-border activities. It wasn’t just a super- ficial experience for him. CA: Half of the children in my classroom are international travelers and yet this experience is not recognized or valued because they are Mexican children going to Mexico. Anglo children may spend a summer in France and we make a big deal about it, by asking them to speak to the class about their summer activities! Carlos spends summers in Mag- dalena, Mexico, yet he’s probably rarely been asked to share his experiences with anyone. His visits to Mexico have been more than 1- or 2-day visits. He spends most summers there. He and his brothers are first-generation born in the U.S. but their social networks extend into Magdalena. His family’s cross-border activities extend back genera- tions. His parents were born in Magdalena. His fa- ther began coming to the U.S. during his summer vacations, when he worked as a migrant worker in California. He eventually decided to stay here per- manently and moved with some friends to Tucson. Carlos’s father’s parents are involved in the im- port/export of major appliances between Sonora and Arizona and there are regular visits of relatives back and forth. His dad says they really live in both plac- es. I’ll read some of the notes from my interview with Carlos that describe his life in Sonora: “In Magdalena he and his family stay with differ- ent relatives. When he is there he plays with his cousins. They are allowed to wander freely around most of the town. They like to play hide-and-seek 136 Theory Into PracticeThis content downloaded from 126.96.36.199 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
and sometimes they are taken places by older rela- tives. They like to visit a pharmacy that one of his aunts owns and one of his older cousins is married to someone who works on three ranches. “Sometimes he goes to visit the ranches. Once he got to ride a horse. One thing he likes to do when he visits a ranch is play with bow and arrow. He says his cousin’s husband will give him and his cousins a thousand pesos if they find the arrows.” Carlos also reports playing cards when he visits Magdalena and that he has gone fishing near Santa Ana with older cousins and an uncle. DN:lt is precisely through information of these kinds of social activities that we identify funds of knowledge that can be used in the classroom to help improve his academic development. CA: Furthermore, because of these experienc- es, Carlos and many of my other students show a great deal of interest in economic issues, because they have seen the difference in the two countries, in immigration law, but also in laws in general; they would ask me why there are so many laws here that they don’t have in Mexico. These children have had the background experiences to explore in-depth is- sues that tie in with a sixth grade curriculum, such as the study of other countries, different forms of government, economic systems, and so on. Carlos himself is involved in what we could call international commerce. He’s a real entrepreneur. Not only does he sell candy from Mexico but, ac- cording to his mother, he’ll sell anything he can get anyone to buy, for example, bike parts. His mother says Carlos got the idea to sell candy from other children. We didn’t uncover this only through questioning but from being there when one child came over to buy some candy from Carlos. He was really proud when he gave us each a piece to take home. Here was Carlos right in front of our eyes enacting a fam- ily fund of knowledge. This experience later turned out to be the seed for the learning module I devel- oped for the project, which I will share with you in a few minutes. The two presenters then discuss how the specific qualitative methods of study influenced not only the nature of the information collected from the family, yielding data about their experi- ences and funds of knowledge, but provided them with a more sophisticated understanding of the student, his family, and their social world. This more elaborate understanding helped the teacher transform this information into a useful instructional activity. DN: It is so important to learn how culture is expressed in students’ lives, how students live their worlds. We can’t make assumptions about these things. Only a part of that child is present in the classroom. We had little idea of what Carlos’s life was really like outside of the classroom, and what he knew about the world. CA: I couldn’t have done this work without the anthropological perspective and methodology I learned in the project. Ethnography is different from other forms of educational research. It’s open-end- ed, you go in with an open mind-not prejudging- being totally receptive to everything you hear and see. I didn’t want to know only if the parents read stories to their children or how many books they had. I wasn’t tallying the hours of TV the children watched either. I feel that I learned much more than that with a greater breadth of knowledge because I was not narrow in my focus. DN: Carlos is embedded in a home and world, continuous with his family’s history and in a culture that is at times discontinuous from that found in school. How to take advantage of these resources in the home? This experience of going into the home, taking off your lens for a moment, trying to step outside your assumptions to see Carlos on his own terms, in his own turf, is one way to do this. We learned a lot during these three interviews that fractured stereotypes that we had heard others say about these households. Carlos’s parents not only care, but have a very strong philosophy of child- rearing that is supportive of education, including learning English. They have goals of a university education for their children, instill strong values of respect for others, and possess a tremendous amount of pride and a strong sense of identity-in addition to the more practical knowledge in which their chil- dren share on a regular basis. These values are not unique to this family. All of the households we visit- ed possess similar values and funds of knowledge that can be tapped for use in the classrooms. But the workshops and fieldwork experience are just the beginning. There’s the extensive reflection and writing up stage, the record of the experience, from which we read segments a few minutes ago. This reflection process is not to be underempha- sized, for it is not just what people say that matters, but the subtext, and our observations and interpre- tations; for example, the way Mrs. L6pez’s eyes lit up when she showed us the trophy her son had won in the science fair, Mr. Lopez’s pride in his philoso- phy of child-rearing, and so forth. And then there is the translation of this material into viable lessons for the classroom. The presenters pointed out that it is the teacher, not the anthropologist, who is ultimate- ly the bridge between the students’ world, theirs and their family’s funds of knowledge, and the classroom experience. However, teachers need not work alone. They can form part of study groups, social networks, that will provide the Volume XXXI, Number 2 137This content downloaded from 188.8.131.52 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
needed assistance and support in analyzing in- formation and in elaborating instructional prac- tices. Experimenting with Practice The presentation concluded with a descrip- tion by Cathy, the teacher, of the development of a theme study, or learning module, as we called them, based on information gathered from the households. Notice the emphasis on the in- quiry process, on the students becoming active learners, and on strategically using their social contacts outside the classroom to access new knowledge for the development of their studies. Here is her summary: CA: After we had completed our field work and written field notes for all our interviews, it truly was left up to us, the teachers, to decide how we were going to use the knowledge we had gained about our students and their families. We spent 2 days with consultants and everyone else who had been work- ing on the project and brainstormed and bounced ideas off each other. I worked with two other teach- ers from my school and together we developed a learning module with a rather unusual theme-can- dy. You’ve already heard that Deborah and I wit- nessed Carlos selling Mexican candy to a neighbor. The fifth grade teacher I worked with also uncovered this theme. He interviewed a parent who is an ex- pert at making all kinds of candy. In a truly collabo- rative effort, we outlined a week’s worth of activities we could use in our classes. To focus students’ thinking on the theme, I had students free associate with the topic. I recorded their ideas on a large piece of white paper on the board. Next, I had them come up with a definition for the word candy. This was not as easy as you might think. They’d mentioned gum and sunflower seeds while brainstorming, which I wasn’t sure should be included in this category. But I didn’t tell them this because I wanted them to use their analytical skills to come up with their own definition. Actually, they got stuck deciding if salty things like picalim6n and saladitos (Mexican snacks that include salt and spices) were candy. Next they categorized all the candies they’d mentioned. After that we used the KWL method to organize our unit. For those not familiar with this method, we used a three-column chart. In the first column, we recorded everything the students “know” about the topic. In the next column, we recorded what they “want” to know. The third column, the “L” column, is to be used at the end of the unit to record what the students learned during the study. After working with the project consultant, I added another W at the end 138 Theory Into Practice of the chart-a fourth column, something new for me-to record new questions students had, to help them see that learning is ongoing, that it does not consist of discrete chunks of knowledge. We then surveyed and graphed favorite candies of the class. With the assistance of the teacher, the stu- dents pursued their interests by focusing their inquiry on a narrower topic and by specifying a research question. As is common in research, the class relied on all their resources, including the expertise of one of the parents, to elaborate their work. Notice, however, that this was not a typical parent visit to correct or sort papers; the purpose of the parent’s visit was to contribute intellectually to the students’ academic activity. This parent, in effect, became a cognitive re- source for the students and teacher in this classroom (see also Moll & Greenberg, 1990). CA: Next, we became a research team. Stu- dents chose one of the questions they’d generated to answer. They chose, “What ingredients are used in the production of candy?” I framed the pursuit of the answer using the version of the scientific meth- od we use in schools. After writing their question on the board, the students developed a procedure to answer their question; then they hypothesized what ingredients they’d find on the candy labels they brought in the next day. The next day, after students had made a class list of ingredients in the candy samples they’d brought in, they graphed the frequency of occurrence of the ingredients they’d found. Then I had them divide the ingredients into two lists-one of ingredients they’d found in the Mexican candy samples and one of ingredients they’d found in U.S. candy samples. We all learned something that day. We were all sur- prised to see that fewer ingredients are used in Mexican candies and that they don’t use artificial flavors or coloring-just vegetable dyes and real fruit. The next day one of the parents of my students, Mrs. Rodriguez, came in to teach us how to make pipitoria, a Mexican candy treat. This turned out to be the highlight of our unit. Before she came in that morning, the students divided up to make advertis- ing posters and labels for the candy because we were going to sell what we made at the school talent show. When Mrs. Rodriguez arrived, she became the teacher. While the candy was cooking, she talked to the class for over an hour and taught all of us not only how to make different kinds of candy but also such things as the difference in U.S. and Mexican food consumption and production, nutritional value of candy, and more. My respect and awe of Mrs. Rodriguez grew by leaps and bounds that morning. Finally, the students packaged and priced their candy.This content downloaded from 184.108.40.206 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
The unit concludes, somewhat prematurely, as the teacher notes, with the students summa- rizing and reflecting upon their work, and by identifying further topics for future research. The teacher, in turn, has become a “mediator,” pro- viding strategic assistance that would facilitate the students’ inquiry and work. CA: The last day of the unit, students wrote summaries of what they’d learned and we recorded it on our chart. Then they began to formulate new questions. Examples of their new questions are: “What is candy like in Africa?” and “What candy do they eat in China?” As you can see, if we’d had time to continue our unit, our studies would have taken us all over the world. We did, however, cover many areas of the curriculum in one short week- math, science, health, consumer education, cross- cultural practices, advertising, and food production. From the questions the students came up with alone, we could have continued investigating using innumerable research and critical thinking skills for a considerable part of the year. If we had continued this type of activity all year, by the end we would have been an experienced research team and my role would have been to act as facilitator helping the students answer their own questions. Conclusion We have presented a single aspect of a broader, multidimensional research project: teachers as co-researchers using qualitative methods to study household knowledge, and drawing upon this knowledge to develop a par- ticipatory pedagogy. The insights gleaned from approaching the homes ethnographically, and adapting the method to the educational goals of the project, were a result of a genuine teacher- researcher (in this case, anthropologist) collab- oration. We have learned that it is feasible and useful to have teachers visit households for re- search purposes. These are neither casual vis- its nor school-business visits, but visits in which the teachers assume the role of the learner, and in doing so, help establish a fundamentally new, more symmetrical relationship with the parents of the students. This relationship can become the basis for the exchange of knowledge about family or school matters, reducing the insularity of class- rooms, and contributing to the academic con- tent and lessons. It can also become, as illus- trated above, the catalyst for forming research teams among the students to study topics of interest to them, or important to the teacher, or for achieving curricular goals. Our concept of funds of knowledge is inno- vative, we believe, in its special relevance to teaching, and contrasts with the more general term “culture,” or with the concept of a “culture- sensitive curriculum,” and with the latter’s reli- ance on folkloric displays, such as storytelling, arts, crafts, and dance performance. Although the term “funds of knowledge” is not meant to replace the anthropological concept of culture, it is more precise for our purposes because of its emphasis on strategic knowledge and relat- ed activities essential in households’ functioning, development, and well-being. It is specific funds of knowledge pertaining to the social, econom- ic, and productive activities of people in a local region, not “culture” in its broader, anthropolog- ical sense, that we seek to incorporate strategi- cally into classrooms. Indispensable in this scenario are the re- search tools-the theory, qualitative methods of study, and ways of analyzing and interpreting data. These are what allow the teachers (and others) to assume, authentically, the role of re- searchers in household or classroom settings. They are also what help redefine the homes of the students as rich in funds of knowledge that represent important resources for educational change. We are currently starting the next phase of study, involving teachers in five different schools serving both Mexican and Native-American stu- dents.5 The research design remains the same: developing our understanding of households and classrooms and collaborating with teachers in conducting the research and in developing aca- demically rigorous instructional innovations. Now, however, we have teachers with research expe- rience helping us organize the study groups, developing further the methodology for doing the home investigations, conceptualizing and implementing promising instructional activities, and evaluating the project. In this new study we plan to include principals, as co-researchers, and parents in the study groups, as an attempt to rethink our respective roles and develop our collective funds of knowledge about teaching and learning. One of the hallmarks of qualitative research is that strategies often evolve within the process of doing. As teachers, administrators, and par- ents become more aware of the linkages that Volume XXXI, Number 2 139This content downloaded from 220.127.116.11 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
can be created utilizing this methodology, and become comfortable with the redefinition of roles that it entails, new strategies of implementation will emerge that are driven by the needs of the target community. As the research unfolds, the constitutive nature of the inquiry process be- comes apparent, as teacher, researcher, par- ent, child, and administrator jointly create and negotiate the form and function of the explora- tion. Notes 1. Our sample includes households of students in the project teachers’ classrooms, as well as students from other classrooms, but in the same general community. In total, including previous projects, we have observed in approximately 100 homes. 2. For similar ideas regarding the development of teacher “labs” or activity settings, see, for example, Berliner (1985), Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition (1982), and Tharp and Gallimore (1988). The creation of study groups is also a common practice among whole-language teachers and re- searchers (see Goodman, 1989). 3. Field notes are generally descriptive to provide context and background information, whereas inter- views, usually based on a questionnaire, focus on topics of specific relevance to the project, such as the participation of children in a household activity. In the project described herein, all notes were pre- pared and coded using word processing programs, and lap-top computers were made available to the teachers. Anthropologists and graduate students as- sisted the teachers in interviewing, and provided feedback on the consistency, completeness, and depth of the field notes. Given the constraints on teachers’ times, we recommend that they obtain re- lease time from teaching to conduct observations and interviews, and record and edit field notes. Re- lease time, we should point out, is routinely granted for other purposes, such as participating in inservice workshops, so it very well could be used for docu- menting the knowledge base of the students’ homes. 4. The presentation (August 5, 1991) was before approximately 200 principals and other administra- tors (including the new superintendent) of the local school district. 5. One of our goals for 1992-1993 is to develop the project in other regions of the country through simi- lar collaborative ventures. For example, we are cur- rently piloting an initial teacher-anthropologist com- ponent to collect baseline and background data on target schools and communities, including demogra- phy, economy, migration, educational achievement levels, and community resources, before developing questionnaires and conducting home interviews in different regions of the country. We are also devel- oping assessment procedures to document project success, especially the academic benefits to the students, in order to improve our accountability to the schools and communities in which we work. References Berliner, D.C. (1985). Laboratory settings and the study of teacher education. Journal of Teacher Education, 36(6), 2-8. Goodman, Y. (1989). Roots of the whole-language movement. The Elementary School Journal, 92, 113-127. Greenberg, J.B. (1989, April). Funds of knowledge: Historical constitution, social distribution, and transmission. Paper presented at the annual meetings of the Society for Applied Anthropolo- gy, Santa Fe, NM. Heyman, J. (1990). The emergence of the waged life course on the United States-Mexico border. American Ethologist, 17, 348-359. Keefe, S., & Padilla, A. (1987). Chicano ethnicity. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press. La Fontaine, J. (1986). An anthropological perspec- tive on children in social worlds. In M. Richards & P. Light (Eds.), Children of social worlds: De- velopment in a social context (pp. 10-30). Cambridge, U.K.: Polity Press. Laboratory of Comparative Human Cognition. (1982). A model system for the study of learning diffi- culties. The Quarterly Newsletter of the Labora- tory of Comparative Human Cognition, 4(3), 39- 66. Martinez, O.J. (1988). Troublesome border. Tucson: The University of Arizona Press. McDermott, R.P. (1987). The explanation of minority school failure, again. Anthropology and Educa- tion Quarterly, 18, 361-364. Moll, L.C., & Diaz, S. (1987). Change as the goal of educational research. Anthropology and Educa- tion Quarterly, 18, 300-311. Moll, L.C., & Greenberg, J. (1990). Creating zones of possibilities: Combining social contexts for instruction. In L.C. Moll (Ed.), Vygotsky and ed- ucation (pp. 319-348). Cambridge, U.K.: Cam- bridge University Press. Moll, L.C., Velez-lbanez, C., Greenberg, J., Whit- more, K., Saavedra, E., Dworin, J., & Andrade, R. (1990). Community knowledge and classroom practice: Combining resources for literacy in- struction (OBEMLA Contract No. 300-87-0131). Tucson: University of Arizona, College of Edu- cation and Bureau of Applied Research in An- thropology. Tapia, J. (1991). Cultural reproduction: Funds of knowledge as survival strategies in the Mexican American community. Unpublished doctoral dis- sertation, University of Arizona, Tucson. Taylor, D., & Dorsey-Gaines, C. (1988). Growing up literate: Learning from inner city families. Ports- mouth, NH: Heinemann. 140 Theory Into PracticeThis content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
Tharp, R., & Gallimore, R. (1988). Rousing minds to life: Teaching, learning, and schooling in social context. Cambridge, U.K.: Cambridge University Press. Velez-lbahez, C.G. (1988). Networks of exchange among Mexicans in the U.S. and Mexico: Local level mediating responses to national and inter- national transformations. Urban Anthropology, 17(1), 27-51. Velez-lbanez, C.G. (in press). U.S. Mexicans in the borderlands: Being poor without the underclass. In J. Moore & R. Rivera (Eds.), Issues of His- panic poverty and underclass. Los Angeles: Sage. Velez-lbanez, C.G., & Greenberg, J. (1989). Forma- tion and transformation of funds of knowledge among U.S. Mexican households in the context of the borderlands. Paper presented at the an- nual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Washington, DC. Velez-lbarez, C., Moll, L.C., Gonzalez, N., & Neff, D. (1991). Promoting learning and educational delivery and quality among “at risk” U. S. Mexi- can and Native American elementary school children in Tucson, Arizona: A pilot project. Fi- nal Report to W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Tucson: University of Arizona, Bureau of Applied Re- search in Anthropology. tip Volume XXXI, Number 2 141This content downloaded from 22.214.171.124 on Wed, 02 Mar 2022 00:12:59 UTC All use subject to https://about.jstor.org/terms
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