Ancestral Knowledges: Chicanx and Latinx Leadership in Community Organizations of South Central Texas




Mendoza Knecht, Lisa

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The purpose of this qualitative study is to highlight the racialized and gendered experiences of Chicanx and Latinx women leading community organizations in South Central Texas. This study is significant for documenting the experiences and leadership development of Chicanx and Latinx women in this region as well as adding to the transdisciplinary fields of education, educational leadership, women’s studies and ethnic studies. This study is rooted in Chicana feminist epistemologies (CFE) and draws from multiple methods, including CFE and conocimientos as part of the study design, theoretical framework, and lens for data analysis. Plática methodology was used for data collection (Fierros & Delgado Bernal, 2016) to conduct thirteen virtual pláticas from five mujeres who identify as Chicanx and/or Latinx who have dedicated their lives to community organization work in South Central Texas. Data analysis included three rounds of inductive coding for themes: first manual open coding, then organizing and sorting through the use of index cards, and the use of NVivo for final coding and organization. The findings in this study include the epistemological orientations of community serving and organizing through childhood, family, and schooling experiences. The findings further show how the mujeres respond to their experiences with racism, sexism, and homophobia and the ways they rely on femtors for support in their community organization work. The responses of these experiences are called ancestral conocimientos, a knowledge process and form of knowledge production that calls us to our ancestors and asks us to participate in community building through legacy work. Further findings suggest ancestral conocimientos have implications for practice via ethnic study courses and programs. Other implications of this study include: adding to the literature of Chicanx and Latinx leadership in South Central Texas, specifically San Antonio, relating to existing Chicana feminist theory with regard to the process of ancestral conocimientos, and finally, providing both theoretical and practical implications through the publication of my first solo-authored manuscript.


The author has granted permission for their work to be available to the general public.


Chicana Feminisms, Chicanx & Latinx Leadership, Conocimientos, Educational Leadership, Ethnic Studies, Gender & Women's Studies



Educational Leadership and Policy Studies