Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Curriculum & Instruction

First Advisor

Dr. Miryam Espinosa-Dulanto

Second Advisor

Dr. Freyca Calderon-Berumen

Third Advisor

Dr. Rene Corbeil


This study addresses common assumptions about women of the borderlands while embracing a transformative consciousness in understanding, making, and reclaiming the meaning of citizenship for Mexican American women from the Rio Grande Valley. This critical ethnography recognizes Chicana Feminist epistemologies as a form of knowledge. Therefore, this space is dedicated to learn, explore, and discuss how Chicana Feminist epistemologies (CFE) shape and support citizenship among young Mexican American high school graduates from the Rio Grande Valley? Based on Gloria’s Anzaldua’s (1987) Borderlands/La Frontera, Rio Grande Valley is a geographical, historical, and symbolic piece to this study; at the same time, La Frontera is part of the larger narrative of colonization, legal and illegal immigration to the United States, and the law enforcement of the border. Home to a unique, transnational community of over 1.3 million people, RGV has the highest economic disadvantage for students in Texas.

This ethnography acknowledges and documents the struggles for claiming and understanding U.S. citizenship for Mexican Americans and the enduring history of marginalization and exclusion marked by race, gender, class, and immigration status. Because of these challenges, this ethnography will use a qualitative approach to explore Anzaldúa’s El Camino de La Mestiza as the theoretical framework to explore the meaning of citizenship for young Mexican American women through plàticas. Although Mexican American women face unprecedented challenges that prevent them from achieving socioeconomic mobility, this research aims to provide a voice and agency to women to see themselves as creators of knowledge and agent in the political decision process of democracy. In addition, the current Covid-19 pandemic has drastically impacted the delivery of educational instruction and many other modes of learning and research. Therefore, this study will use technology as the platform to conduct the pláticas to rethink traditional educational spaces by understanding Chicana Feminist epistemologies as a form of knowledge in academic research..


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