South Texas working-class Millennial Mexican Americans: Identity, subjectivity, and composition studies
My dissertation seeks to understand South Texas working-class Millennial Mexican American identity formation and subjectivity, and identify composition pedagogies that serve their needs. To discuss this subgroup, I first present a historical overview of Mexican (-) American identity and subjectivity, beginning from colonized Aztlán to nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century South Texas. Then I discuss how South Texas working-class Millennial Mexican Americans (working-class U.S. citizens of Mexican ancestry born between 1982 and 2002) are creating a new Mexican American culture that consists of their lived experiences as part of the U.S. Millennial generation. Next I discuss my teacher role identity as a South Texas working-class Chicana compositionist and my application of affective pedagogy. I also critique critical and cultural studies composition pedagogies, and explore how South Texas Chicana/o literature can be incorporated into a literary-based composition course to develop racial/ethnic consciousness. Lastly, I discuss a race/ethnic-related digital divide based on internet access and use and a student-teacher digital divide based on digital literacy. I also explore how social networking sites are used as spaces where identity is constructed and enacted and are used as digital writing spaces. Throughout my dissertation, I differentiate between a hyphened subject (Mexican-American) and an unhyphenated subject (Mexican American). For Mexican-Americans, the hyphen is used, or often assigned by others, to distinguish national or cultural loyalty. For unhyphenated Mexican Americans, though they are also "`in-between' identities," they feel no need to distinguish between their Mexican and U.S. American culture because they view it as one culture. However, many South Texas working-class Millennial Mexican Americans prioritize their identity and subjectivity as U.S. Millennials because of their indoctrination by the dominant U.S. culture. South Texas working-class Millennial Mexican Americans, however, have not forsaken their race/ethnic-based subjectivity; rather, they have incorporated their lived experiences as U.S. Millennials into their race/ethnic formation as Mexican Americans, creating a new Mexican American culture. My project is grounded in exploring the subjectivity and identity formation of South Texas working-class Millennial Mexican Americans.