Everyone was startled by the flood that burst forth from my previously dry tear ducts, even me. What was supposed to be an ordinary oral presentation of a culminating assignment for Wendy Luttrell’s popular graduate school course on visual methodologies, Doing Visual Research with Children and Youth, had morphed into a strange waterworks festival starring me as the headlining performer. In addition to Wendy, a professor at the City University of New York’s Graduate Center, the audience included Tran Templeton and several other peers who were also my fellow doctoral students at Teachers College, Columbia University.1 The course drew on Wendy’s work with children and youth in a public elementary school located in a working-class city in the Northeastern United States (Luttrell & Clark, 2018). Wendy’s intent was to inspire a “need to know more stance” (Luttrell, 2010, p. 233) about children and youth, that is, to cultivate a curiosity about how young people (re)constructed their lives and represented themselves, particularly with regard to the complex intersections of social identities, such as class, race, gender, and immigrant status. The assignment directions were seemingly straightforward: Wendy asked each student to peruse her extensive archive of photographs and videos, choose a focal child, then provide a visual analysis based on a video recording of that child making meaning of their own photographs.

Author Biography

Esther Ohito

Dr. Esther O. Ohito is an assistant professor of curriculum studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the inaugural Toni Morrison Faculty Fellow at the University of Massachusetts Amherst’s Center of Racial Justice and Youth Engaged Research, and a 2021 Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program Fellow at Maseno University's School of Education in Kisumu, Kenya. An interdisciplinary scholar, Esther researches the poetics and aesthetics of Black knowledge and cultural production, the gendered geographies of Black girlhoods, and the gendered pedagogies of Black critical educators. Esther’s oeuvre centers Black women and girls and amplifies Black voices and knowledges.



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