Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 5-6-2019


This qualitative study utilizes a Chicana/Latina feminist lens and the Latin American tradition of Testimonio to explore Spanish-speaking immigrants’ experiences of migration, language learning and socialization, paying close attention to the ways in which the multilayered intersections of identity, race, class, gender, nationality, language, citizenship and power shape these experiences. In the context of a grassroots English as a Second Language class, testimonios are elicited through multimodal data collection methods, including visual, oral and written forms. Critical perspectives of second language learning and second language socialization research in bilingual contexts provide a multidisciplinary framework for this study, bridging conceptual parallels between these distinct paradigms. Outcomes of the analysis illuminate our understandings of the complex demands adult immigrants face while learning to navigate and adopt new linguistic systems and to perform unfamiliar socially and culturally sanctioned norms and behaviors. In the midst of an increasingly anti-immigrant rhetoric and multiple sites of oppression stemming from racist social systems and institutions that permeate everyday life, Testimonios as personal accounts, validate knowledge constructed through lived experiences, and assist in the expression of collective marginalization as well as alternative narratives of resistance. Embedded in Chicana and Latin American decolonial feminist thought, this dissertation approaches research as social activism and transformation to interrupt the silence imposed on disenfranchised immigrants so that their stories inform and educate grassroots community organizers, educators, language scholars, and policy makers.


Testimonio, Transmigration, Identity, Second language learning, Socialization

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Ruth Trinidad Galván

Second Committee Member

Rebecca Blum-Martinez

Third Committee Member

Leila Flores-Dueñas

Fourth Committee Member

Mia Sosa-Provencio