Communication ETDs


Chad Perry

Publication Date



In this study, I investigated how lessons and interactions in an ESL classroom setting construct U.S. and immigrant cultural identities through narratives and counter-narratives, and how these narratives and counter-narratives reproduced and questioned relations of power along the lines of race, class, and gender difference. The theoretical framework for this intercultural study was informed by Co-cultural theory, CRT, LatCrit, language and power, and Whiteness studies. As the findings of the research show, the narratives constructed through language, interaction, and institutionalized practices in the ESL setting reproduced the ideology of the American Dream. The American Dream emerged as the enduring ideological field within which ESL learners and instructors make sense of U.S. and immigrant culture and identities. I argue that the American Dream ideology is the backbone of the dominant narratives of the dominant, White group of the U.S. American culture. The findings also indicate that while students, instructors, and administrator in the study reproduced dominant narratives, they also created counter-narratives or testimonios to question or resist the dominant narratives.




Intercultural, Communication, Immigration, Adult Learning, Whiteness, Critical Race Theory, LatCrit Theory, American Dream ideology, Co-Cultural Theory, Racism

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Rodríguez, Ilia

First Committee Member (Chair)

Covarrubias, Patricia

Second Committee Member

Balas, Glenda

Third Committee Member

Allen, Ricky Lee