The following links to academic work will open as PDF files.
Despite the vast research on the idea of sense of belonging, with intersections like gender, geography, and race, little is currently known about perspectives of belonging that teenage girls experience within an evangelistic Catholic setting. While in many literatures sense of belonging is defined geographically, there is such a vast variety of definitions that it is difficult to come to a solitary conclusion on what makes up and sheds light on this concept. My research seeks to discover whether the missionaries at the foundation understand correctly what makes up the sense of belonging for these teenage girls, as well as where their understanding lacks and where it is on point. A sense of belonging is individualistic and can refer to geographical location, such as a physical community, or a particular emotion one feels while amongst a group of people. Belonging is experienced in a variety of spheres of human geography, and individuals can belong on many different levels (Wright 2009). Belonging, too, has contributed to the development of a specific community in which I lived during my fieldwork.
There is a distinct connection between the racialized displacement of Colombians and how this results in these undocumented refugees becoming an invisible demographic in Ecuador (Leutert, 2012). The purpose of this research project is to analyze how this connection plays out in the everyday lives of Colombian refugees; from seeking social services in Ecuador to their social perception among Ecuadorians. Analysis will use a variety of approaches. Beginning with a discussion of the ways in which this displacement is racialized, I will segue into other intersectionalities which contribute to this invisibility, such as gender, and how this, along with race, affects accessibility to services as undocumented versus documented refugees in Ecuador. Furthermore, I will relate the experiences of undocumented refugees to a history of violence, conflict and human rights violations created by the Colombian drug trade, which forced the migration of many Colombians into Ecuador. The source of this racialized displacement, and consequential racialized bodies within Ecuadorian society, was created by the drug trade’s history of political and social violence. This violence has thus been manifested in the bodies of afro-Colombian refugees in Ecuador.