Book Talk: Isabel Martinez, Becoming Transnational Youth Workers

The Office for the Advancement of Research at John Jay College of Criminal Justice presents John Jay Associate Professor of Latin American and Latinx Studies Dr. Isabel Martinez on her book Becoming Transnational Youth Workers: Independent Mexican Teenage Migrants and Pathways of Survival and Social Mobility on Monday, October 18th, 4:30 pm via Zoom webinar.
Becoming Transnational Youth Workers contests mainstream notions of adolescence with its study of a previously under-documented cross-section of Mexican immigrant youth. Preceding the latest wave of Central American children and teenagers now fleeing violence in their homelands, Isabel Martinez examines a group of unaccompanied Mexican teenage minors who emigrated to New York City in the early 2000s. As one of the consequences of intractable poverty in their homeland, these emigrant youth exhibit levels of agency and competence not usually assigned to children and teenage minors, and disrupt mainstream notions of what practices are appropriate at their ages. Leaving school and family in Mexico and financially supporting not only themselves through their work in New York City, but also their families back home, these youths are independent teenage migrants who, upon migration, wish to assume or resume autonomy and agency rather than dependence. This book also explores community and family understandings about survival and social mobility in an era of extreme global economic inequality.
The talk will feature Dr. Martinez discussing her book, joined by fellow scholars of the experience of unaccompanied minors, Dr. Daysi Diaz-Strong of the University of Illinois Chicago’s Jane Addams College of Sociat work, and Dr. Stephanie Canizales of the University of California at Merced. The talk will be followed by audience Q&A, and is open to the public; students, faculty, classes in session, and guests of the John Jay community are all welcome.
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