Note: This is a student project from a course affiliated with the Ethnography of the University Initiative. EUI supports faculty development of courses in which students conduct original research on their university, and encourages students to think about colleges and universities in relation to their communities and within larger national and global contexts.

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Title:A "Safe Space" All Alone: The Transforming Essence of a Latina/o Cultural House
Author(s):Kattah, Maureen
Subject(s):La Casa
Abstract:I have found that La Casa occupies a complicated position as it attempts to overcome the tensions within the Latina/o community, while also representing Latina/o interests to a historically apathetic and homogenizing University on issue of race. Both efforts have contributed to both a general attendance problem at La Casa, and to the relative failure of a new retention program that is the core of this thesis’ ethnographic analysis. I conducted nine interviews, observed five events associated with the new retention program that I will call “I-achieve,” and distributed surveys to get an idea of how La Casa participants understand its purpose, and to see who actually goes to La Casa events (namely how they define themselves ethnically, their major, and their year in school). The first chapter covers the history of La Casa in terms of these tensions in order to consider how I-Achieve’s failure is in part historically constituted. The second chapter examines the intense racial climate at the national level and at the local level that has caused factionalism in the Latina/o community here and marginalized La Casa. The final chapter examines this factionalism and the marginal position of La Casa in the words and actions of the students themselves. It is also shows that while La Casa does, in fact, offer a safe haven for incoming Latino/a students, it is only one of such spaces on campus.
Issue Date:2008-05
Publication Status:unpublished
Date Available in IDEALS:2008-05-09

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

  • Diversity on Campus/Equity and Access
    This collection examines ways in which the U.S. university and the American college experience are affected by diversity, and difference. In particular, these student projects examine experiences of diversity on campus, including important contemporary social, cultural, and political debates on equity and access to university resources.
  • Student Communities and Culture
    The university offers an extraordinary opportunity to study and document student communities, life, and culture. This collection includes research on the activities, clubs, and durable social networks that comprise sometimes the greater portion of the university experience for students.

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