All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Tonya Perry

Advisory Committee Members

Courtney C Bentley

Tracey T Flores

Jenna Lachenaye

Josephine Prado

Document Type

Dissertation

Date of Award

2021

Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education

Abstract

This narrative ethnographic research study focused on the personal and schooling stories and counter-stories of three Latina teachers living and teaching in the Deep South. Using three contemporary young adult literature texts written by Latina authors, this three-month short term narrative ethnographic study sought to explore the lived experiences of three Latina teachers in the Deep South by way of testimonios (Espino, Munoz, and Kiyama, 2010) imbued with muxerista portraiture (Flores, 2017). The theoretical frameworks of LatCrit in education (Solorzano & Yosso, 2001) and Chicana/Latina Feminism guided every aspect of this study, which occurred during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Both frameworks centered race and racism, the participants’ experiential knowledge, Latina voices, and the multiplicity of hybrid identities (Anzaldua, 2015). In addition, both frameworks foregrounded the intersectionalities of gender, race, language, colorism, citizenship, and assimilation. Chicana/Latina Feminism and muxerista portraiture, which “aims to paint [written] portraits committed to social justice and challenging all forms of subordination” (Flores, 2017, p. 2), also allowed me to rely on my own Latina cultural intuition (Delgado Bernal, 1998, 2016) to develop three participant testimonios. Data collection included three book pláticas/talks, three altered book tasks completed at the end of each book plática, three individual in-depth interviews, a pre and post questionnaire, and researcher ethnographic field notes. This study disrupted traditional methodological and research paradigms by centering cultural trenzas/braids (Montoya, 1994) that focused on the lived experiences of the Latina teacher participants, including their linguistic and cultural attributes. Findings included three predominant themes in the narrative stories shared by the participants, namely: being grounded by family (i.e., especially strong women and stories of cariño y amor/caring and love); belongingness (e.g., stories of being othered, grief from linguistic and racial violence, and yearning for home), and empowerment (e.g., from being bilingual and gaining an increased awareness and understanding from the young adult literature texts).

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