UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Spaces of cultural resistance : underground libraries in the U.S.Southwest Izquierdo Mejia, Esteban


In 2012, Arizona state government dismantled the Mexican-American Studies (MAS) program in the Tucson Unified School District (TUSD) after a long political fight against the local community. In the process, the books used by the program were boxed and removed from Tucson classrooms. In the aftermath, a group of ‘Underground Libraries’ emerged with the intention to house the banned literature and assure it remained available to the affected community. Starting with the premise that education itself is a site of creation, dissemination and contestation of identity and belonging, my research looks at the role of the Underground Libraries as spaces of cultural resistance in the face of oppressive legislation. In particular, attention is given to the way in which spaces of resistance originate, multiply, and connect in order to create imagined geographies of belonging that can challenge the effects of cultural oppression at a local and regional level.

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