Mujerista Youth Pedagogies: Race, Gender, and (Counter)Surveillance in the New Latinx South Public Deposited

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Last Modified
  • March 20, 2019
  • Rodriguez, Esmeralda
    • Affiliation: School of Education
  • Though there is a body of research that deconstructs essentialized perspectives on Latinx youth (Cervantes-Soon, 2012; 2017; Cammarota, 2008; 2011; Denner & Guzman, 2006; Garcia, 2012: Stanton-Salazar, 2001; Valdes, 2001; Valenzuela, 1999) a large body of research has failed to perceive Latina girls in nuanced ways. Additionally, mainstream research and broader discourses on Latina adolescents have been dominated by a hyper-focus on the “problem of [Latinx] adolescent behavior” (Akom, Cammarota, & Ginwright, 2008, p. 1). In the face of this, however, Chicana and Latina feminist writers use academic research and narrative writing to testify against deficit portrayals of Latinas. However, a review of these works has also spotlighted the reality that even this critical body of work has ignored the wisdoms and lived experiences of Latina youth. There has been much work that focuses on the perspectives of adult women who tend to look back to their youth in order to make sense of their adulthood. Conversely, this research age-gap has elucidated the importance of youth experiences and the need to for nuanced scholarship that centers their experiential knowledge.The absence of Latina youth voices is even more conspicuous when we take context into account as their voices are also largely absent from the growing number of work on the New Latinx South. Historically, Latinx communities have been absent from the demographic, economic, cultural, and political systems of the South but in the past two decades, there has been a profound shift in new immigration gateway states like North Carolina (Smith & Furuseth, 2006). This migration has disrupted the Southern socio-political consciousness that has largely been defined by the Black/White racial dichotomy (Wortham, Murrillo, & Hamann, 2002). Drawing from Chicana feminist theory, testimonio, and Holland, Lachicotte, Skinner, and Cain's (1998) sociocultural practice theory of identity and agency, this student presents a narrative about surveillance and counter-surveillance in the New Latinx South. Drawing from the encuentros, interview data, and observational data, I have identified three domains of surveillance. The first, surveillance of citizenship, refers to how racist nativist discourses about Latinx immigrants create a surveillance system in the form immigration retenes, heightened anti-immigrant sentiments amongst the students, and school’s silence around these very issues. The second type of surveillance, surveillance of the flesh, refers to the raced-gendered discourses of power that situate the girls’ emerging womanhood as inherently dangerous to themselves and others. The third surveillance finding, surveillance of student identity refers to the institutional patrolling (Alvarez-Gutierrez, 2014) practices of school personnel the closely monitor Latina bodies within the school. This monitoring presents itself through the push for visibility and compliance, the standards driven curriculum, and racialized constructs of intelligence. Through that awareness comes a responsibility to recognize that while the girls were being watched, they were also watching back by engaging in their own forms of counter-surveillance. As such, this study also points to moments when the girls deployed their facultades and border thinking (Mignolo, 2000) in order to disrupt the panoptic gaze and discourses of power imposed on them. I characterize this action as “counter-surveillance.” Implications for the theorization of pedagogies and literacies are discussed.
Date of publication
Resource type
  • Urrieta, Luis
  • Carrillo, Juan
  • Noblit, George W.
  • Hughes, Sherick
  • Cervantes-Soon, Claudia
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Graduate School
Graduation year
  • 2018

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