Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Urban Education


Michelle Fine

Committee Members

Ofelia Garcia

Stephen Brier

Pedro Pedraza

Subject Categories

Educational Sociology | Race and Ethnicity | Social and Philosophical Foundations of Education


Urban Education, Latino Studies, Cultural Political Economy, Space


U.S. Latino youth are as undereducated and underprepared today as they were in the 1960s, leading some to declare that there is a national “Latino education crisis” that is affecting the lives of millions. While this problem is national in scope there are multiple narratives that underpin this story. Of particular interest in this study is the intersection of urban Latino core communities and public schools. This dissertation is based on the Education in our Barrios Project, #BarrioEdProj, which is a digital, critical participatory action research study of urbanism and urban education in the Latino core community of East Harlem (El Barrio) in New York City. Applying a cultural political economic lens that “trabaja en ambos” (or works in both) critical theories of race and political economy, this dissertation maps the way neoliberal racial urbanism as a cultural grammar of place would remake El Barrio and its schools over the last 15 years. How, the research collaborative asked, has racial neoliberal urbanism shaped the social conditions that the people of El Barrio have experienced, and how have they navigated those conditions? Through qualitative interviews, archival research, and project collaboration, I argue that racial neoliberal urbanism has been part of a changing same wherein supposed reform policies have been central tools for culturally and materially dominating and erasing Latinos and poor people of Color in general. Through racial neoliberal containment, exploitation and political and historical disconnections, Latino core communities are dominated. I argue that at the same time that these cycles of dominance are taking place, the people of El Barrio are also engaging in varied forms of navigation and strategies of survivance to resist and survive these conditions.