Minoritized groups are often studied as monolithic entities, but the reality can be much more diverse, according to higher education researcher Antonio Duran.
The FIU assistant professor of higher education researches how oppressive systems are interconnected. He is particularly interested in educational environments and how they can disenfranchise those with multiple minoritized identities including queer and trans people of color.
The American Educational Research Association’s Queer Studies Special Interest Group recently recognized Duran and colleagues with the 2022 Article of the Year Award for their manuscript “A Whitened Rainbow: The In/Visibility of Race and Racism in LGBTQ+ Higher Education Scholarship,” published in the Journal Committed to Social Change on Race and Ethnicity.
Alongside his colleagues, Duran examined nearly a decade of research on queer and trans students in higher education and took a critical eye to how they engaged or didn’t engage with the issues of race, racism, settler colonialism and other forms of marginalization.
“It is very easy to treat minoritized groups as monoliths,” Duran said. “We are trying to bring light to how queer and trans communities encapsulate so much diversity – there are so many subgroups within these groups.”
Most of Duran’s research stems from his own experiences as a first-generation, queer person of color who has navigated higher education environments. Duran is now leading a longitudinal study with a sample of queer and trans people of color. He will follow the students from the beginning of their time in college to about three to five years after graduation. Half of the students are from predominantly white institutions while the other half are from Hispanic-Serving Institutions.
“There’s long been conversation around how Hispanic-Serving Institutes can be both Hispanic enrolling institutions and serving institutions,” Duran said. “If we are serving the Hispanic, Latinx community, how are we serving the subgroups within those communities?”
To answer this question, he is also gearing up to start a study at FIU specifically looking at how queer and trans people perceive FIU’s attentiveness to queer and trans communities as it strives toward servingness.
Duran is hopeful his work can create a sense of critical consciousness for those who do not identify with a minoritized group and his work can help transform some of the realities that live both on and outside of college campuses. This research could be crucial in moving the needle towards equity.
His efforts are already catching the attention of others in education. In March of 2021, NASPA recognized Duran with the Faculty Council Service Award, the Latinx/a/o Knowledge Community Outstanding Faculty Award, and the Gender and Sexuality Knowledge Community Service Award. Most recently, he received the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Early Career Award.
Duran serves as a board member for a dozen of journals including the Journal of Diversity in Higher Education, the Journal of Latinos and Education, and the Journal of Critical Scholarship on Higher Education in Student Affairs.