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(Fundamental) Fregados Pero no Jodidos: A Case Study of Latinx Rasquachismo

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

Engineering Career Attitudes

Tagged Division

Pre-College Engineering Education

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Paper Authors


Joel Alejandro Mejia University of San Diego Orcid 16x16

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Dr. Joel Alejandro (Alex) Mejia is an assistant professor of General Engineering at the University of San Diego. His current research investigates the funds of knowledge of Latinx adolescents, and how they use these funds of knowledge to solve engineering problems in their communities. Dr. Mejia is particularly interested in how Latinx adolescents bring forth unique ways of knowing, doing, and being that provide them with particular ways of framing, approaching, and solving engineering problems. Dr. Mejia’s primary research interests lie at the intersection of engineering education, literacy, and social justice. He is particularly interested in engineering critical literacies, Chicanx Cultural Studies frameworks and pedagogies in engineering education, and critical consciousness in engineering through social justice.

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Alberto López Pulido University of San Diego

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Professor Pulido is founding chair of the department of ethnic studies at the University of San Diego. His scholarship is community-based where he works closely with local community groups and organizations. He has published extensively in the areas of Chicanx spirituality, material culture and education. He is currently at work on several projects that address questions of academic pedagogy with a community and contemplative focus.

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“Laura did not have the resources to buy a new stove. Her family owned a restaurant in Mexico and they needed the stove as soon as possible. To solve this problem, Laura and her family repurposed an antique washing machine, called chaca-chaca as it is commonly known in Mexico for the sound it makes during the washing cycle. They disassembled the washing machine and used the tub as a skeleton for the cooktop. Then, they covered it with barro, a mixture of clay-like readily available materials in the community, to withstand the high temperatures. Laura created a sketch of her design and described it to her teacher. Her description showed how her embodied knowledge resembled practices that are relevant to engineering, yet this wealth of knowledge was not acknowledged in the teacher or the students.” This vignette describes the challenges that Latinx adolescents too often face in U.S. classrooms. It posits that Laura engaged in activities that could have similarities to engineering habits of mind and dispositions, yet her knowledge was unacknowledged or honored. At the core of this problem is the lack of validation of the material realities of the adolescent. Often, the narratives of people of color are omitted from the engineering curriculum; thus, continuously reproducing social inequalities and academic hierarchies. In engineering, particularly, the material realities of students of color–which are perceived as non-sophisticated epistemologies–are replaced by dominant discourses.

We argue that the embodied knowledge, practices and forms of expression of Latinx youth have a place in the classroom. They bring a wealth of knowledge, skills, and practices that can be used to not only frame, approach, and solve engineering problems, but also to express their sensibilidades – their sensibilities. Inspired by the works of Chicanx Cultural Studies, Ethinic Studies, and Chicana Feminism, this paper introduces the concept of Rasquache Pedagogy. According to Tomás Ybarra-Frausto, being rasquache is the visceral response to lived reality and an attitude rooted in resourcefulness and adaptability. We posit that focusing on the material realities of students, making them aware of their history, and emphasizing the firm believe that students are creators and holders of knowledge can be potentially transformative for Latinx adolescents in engineering. The principles of Rasquache Pedagogy are rooted in understanding the wealth of knowledge that students bring to the classroom, validating and valuing their embodied knowledge, and helping students develop a critical consciousness.

Very little research has examined the ways that Latinx adolescents might use rasquache forms of expression to empower them in their engineering design activities. Even less research has been conducted on how the assets of Latinx students contribute to the diversification of engineering epistemologies and to form critically conscious engineers. In this paper, we present what involves Rasquache Pedagogy and how it can contribute to a more asset-based approach to the teaching and learning of engineering.

Mejia, J. A., & Pulido , A. L. (2018, June), (Fundamental) Fregados Pero no Jodidos: A Case Study of Latinx Rasquachismo Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--29650

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