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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Reconceptualizing Citizenship and Civic Engagement from the Perspectives of Newcomer Immigrant and Refugee Youth: The Event

Guide supporting the Center for Global Studies program of the same name - February 26, 2020

About the Talk

Dr. Davila's presentation drew from qualitative research with Central African immigrant and refugee U.S. high school students that focused on their language and literacy development and civic engagement, including their responses to anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies during a year and a half period following the Trump election. This research offers a robust conceptualization of the dynamic relationship between global mobility, displacement and identity formation among immigrant and refugee youths in resettlement contexts.

About the Speaker


Dr. Liv Thorstensson Davila is an Assistant Professor of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership for the College of Education at University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research examines the intersections between language learning and identity among immigrant and refugee students. Other specific areas of interest include: the school experiences of adolescent multilingual learners, new/additional language and literacy development, teacher education and classroom pedagogies that support access and equity, and global perspectives on immigration and language education. 

Davila received her PhD in Education and M.Ed in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, MA in Comparative and International Development Education from the University of Minnesota, and BA in Anthropology and French from Grinnell College. In addition to being an Assistant Professor of Education Policy, Organization & Leadership, Dr. Davila is also a faculty affiliate for the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives (WGGP) Program, Second Language Acquisition & Teacher Education (SLATE) Program, Center for Writing Studies (CWS), Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (CLACS), and European Union Center (EUC).

Publications by Dr. Davila

Coffey, H., L. Dávila, and L. Kolano. "Developing Critical Literacy with English Language Learners: A Plan for Understanding the Social Implications of Dialect." Multicultural Learning and Teaching/deGruyter, vol. 8, no. 1, 2013, pp. 115-132.

Dávila, L. "'Dare I Ask?': Eliciting Prior Knowledge and Its Implications for Teaching and Learning." TESL-EJ: The Electronic Journal for English as a Second Language, vol. 19, no. 2, 2015. 

_______. "Diaspora Literacy: An Exploration of Reading Practices and Identity in Young African Women English Learners." Journal of Adolescent and Adult Literacy, vol. 58, no. 8, 2015, pp. 641-649. 

_______. "'For Them It's Sink or Swim': Refugee Students and the Dynamics of Migration, and (Dis)placement in School." Power and Education, Special Issue on Migration and Education, vol. 3, no. 4, 2012, pp. 139-149.

_______. "'Good Kids,' but 'Poor Students': Academic Identities of Refugee High School Students from Vietnam's Central Highlands." Asian American Education: Identities, Racial Issues, and Languages, vol. 6, 2011, pp. 31-48. 

_______. "Heritage Language Ecologies in a Multilingual Swedish School." Journal of Language Identity and Education, vol. 16, no. 6, 2017, pp. 395-407.

_______. "Integration in Isolation: Newly Arrived Immigrant Youth in Sweden Negotiate Identity, Language, and Literacy." System: An International Journal of Educational Technology and Applied Linguistics, vol. 67, 2017, pp. 1-11.  

_______. "J'aime to be funny!": Humor, Learning, and Identity Construction in High School English as a Second Language Classrooms." Modern Language Journal, 2019.

_______. "Language and Opportunity in the 'Land of Opportunity': Latina Immigrants' Reflections on Language Learning and Professional Mobility." Journal of Hispanic Higher Education, vol. 7, no. 4, 2008, pp. 356-370.

_______. "Learning English and 'Smartness': Refugee Students Negotiate Language, Reception, and Ability in School." Journal of Southeast Asian Education and Advancement, vol. 8, 2013, pp. 1-19.

_______. "Multilingualism and Identity: Articulating "African-ness" in an American High School." Race, Ethnicity and Education, 2018.

_______. "Performing Allegiance: An Adolescent Refugee's Construction of Patriotism in JROCT." Educational Studies, vol. 50, no. 5, 2014, pp. 447-463.

_______. "The Pivotal and Peripheral Roles of Bilingual Classroom Assistants at one Swedish Elementary School." International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, Routledge, vol. 21, no. 2, 2018, pp. 956-967.

_______. "The Problematics of Representation in Qualitative Research on Refugee Youth." Diaspora, Immigrant and Minority Education, vol. 8, no. 1, 2014, pp. 21-31.

Dávila, L.T., and N. Bunar. "Cross-District Analysis of the Roles of Multilingual Classroom Assistants in Sweden." European Journal of Applied Linguistics, 2019. 

Dávila, L., L. Kolano, and H. Coffey. "Negotiating Co-teaching Identities in Multilingual High School Classrooms." National Association of Bilingual Education Journal of Research and Practice, vol. 8, no. 1, 2017, pp. 28-43. 

Kolano, L., and L. Dávila. "Transformative Learning of Refugee Girls within a Community Youth Organization Serving Southeast Asians in North Carolina." Journal of Research in Childhood Education, vol. 33, no. 1, 2019, pp. 119-133.

Kolano, L., L. Dávila, and H. Coffey. "Multicultural Teacher Education: Why North and South Carolina Teachers Say It Matters in Preparing Them for English Language Learners." The Catesol Journal, vol. 25, no. 1, 2014, pp. 41-65.

Sanders-Smith, S., and L. Thorstensson Davila. "Progressive Practice and Translanguaging: Supporting Trilingualism in a Hong Kong preschool." Bilingual Research Journal, vol. 42, no. 3, 2019.