My aspirations as a scholar are to continue deepening the knowledge that has been passed from my professors at Mason, and, in the same process, I want to be able to teach and share the intellectual formation and critical thinking skills I have acquired as a student myself. My goals have changed drastically since I began my education at Mason in 2016 due in great part to the influence and trust of professors like Dr. Rei Berroa and Dr. Lisa Rabin and the encouragement of the MCL faculty. It was during my experience as a graduate student and a GTA that I understood my real career goals as educator and scholar. I truly believe that my experience at Mason has encouraged me to be the best version of myself and to be an inspiration for my children as I have been able to show them hard work, passion and commitment to personal growth.
I have discovered through my academic and professional experience at Mason a passion for research and inquiry into the cultural makeup of my own context. I want to become a scholar aiming to participate in the ideological discourse of cultural and academic significance in our times. With this goal in mind, I have just completed my M.A. thesis, “Leer para la paz: narrativa histórica en la literatura infantil y juvenil de trauma en Colombia” (Reading for Peace: Historical Narrative in Trauma Literature for Children and Young Adults in Colombia), based in an interdisciplinary approach to literary analysis and historiography. This thesis presents a theoretical analysis of the current situation of children's education in view of armed conflicts in the global socio-political climate.
“Leer para la paz” is a project that traces a discursive connection between children’s literature of trauma about the Holocaust, the political violence of the Latin-American dictatorships and the genocides in Rwanda to the literary creation in Colombia that addresses its long-lasting armed conflict. It navigates prior explorations in the field while conversing directly with authors and creators of children's literature in Colombia. Through an analysis of the evolution of the concept of childhood and its corresponding relationship with the development of a literature for children, it shows how the pervasiveness of moralist and instructional functions of children’s literature has given way to the expansion of the discourses promoting children’s social and cultural involvement and allowed for the increased treatment of what traditionally has been deemed difficult subjects in children’s literature.
The emergence of cultural and social movements promoting the need to understand and preserve historical memory in the aftermath of collective and global violence and trauma brought about post-WWII, and more recently in the post-military dictatorships in Latin America has allowed for the treatment and transmission of topics like war, violence, death and suffering through children’s literature as a way to convey information, prevent the repetition of heinous acts and to honor the victims. This represents a way of educating, advocating and representing the effects of war in children’s collective identities and their view on the human condition through historic narrative. In the Colombian context, in which the armed conflict is ongoing, children's literature of trauma is used as a medium of visualization and awareness and to instill empathy and understanding, highlighting the relevance of historical narrative in education for peace.
May 21, 2021