Skip to main content
eScholarship
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UCLA

UCLA Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUCLA

Theorizing the Racial and Gendered Educational Experiences of Chicanas and Native American Women at the Ph.D. Level in Higher Education: Testimonios of Resistance, Defiance, Survival, and Hope

  • Author(s): Cueva, Bert Maria
  • Advisor(s): Solorzano, Daniel
  • et al.
Abstract

ABSTRACT OF DISSERTATION

Theorizing the Racial and Gendered Educational Experiences of Chicanas and Native American Women at the Ph.D. Level in Higher Education: Testimonios of Resistance, Defiance, Survival, and Hope

By

Bert María Cueva

Doctor of Philosophy in Women's Studies

University of California, Los Angeles, 2013

Professor Daniel Solórzano, Co-chair

Professor Kris Gutierrez, Co-chair

This national case study examines the educational experiences of twenty-one women that self-identified as low-income or working-class Chicanas or Native American women pursuing professoriate degrees in the Humanities, Social Sciences, Forestry, and Education. The case study includes forty-two qualitative testimonio interviews that examine how racism, white privilege, and complex power relations affect Chicanas and Native American women at the doctoral level. This case study examines the types, contexts, effects, and responses that the women use to strategically navigate through their doctorates within predominantly white public universities. This case study uses Critical Race Theory (CRT), Chicana Feminism, and a qualitative method of testimonio to better understand the educational experiences of Chicanas and Native American women in higher education. CRT allows for an interdisciplinary perspective to examine how racism, white privilege, and complex power relations impact women's educational experiences. Chicana feminism allows me to theorize from the intersectionalities of race, class, and gender, as well as draw from alternative sources of knowledge, such as women's bodies, lived experiences, and cultural intuition. Cultural intuition is shaped by our personal, academic, and professional experiences, as well as our Chicana feminist oriented research practices.

The methodological approach of testimonio is used to conduct, collect, and analyze forty-one testimonio interviews on Chicana and Native American women's educational experiences. Testimonio provides a format to document and better understand the effects of racism and race-based trauma through the psychological and physiological implications to women's bodies, minds, and health. Their testimonios are significant for educators, researchers, and policy makers to better understand how systematic racism and additional types of oppressive structures within higher education impact Chicanas and Native American women in the 21st Century. The method of testimonio allows women to name and reveal the discursive assaults experienced by institutional, social, and political injustices occurring in higher education.

The case study includes twenty-one women from predominantly white public universities throughout the United States. Most notably, the case study will contribute to creating interdisciplinary feminist research to better understand Chicanas and Native American women's racial and gendered educational experiences in order to create greater educational opportunities for marginalized women at the level of the professoriate.

Main Content
Current View