The Urban Review

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 58–73 | Cite as

A Curriculum of the Borderlands: High School Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies as Sitios y Lengua



Drawing from a nine-month critical teacher inquiry investigation, this article examines the experiences of eleventh and twelfth grade students who participated in a year-long Chicana/o-Latina/o Studies course in California shortly after the passing of Arizona House Bill 2281 (HB 2281). Through a borderlands analysis, I explore how these students describe their experiences participating in such a course, and in doing so, debunk some of the myths upon which HB 2281 was constructed. I find that these classroom experiences served as sitios y lenguas (decolonizing spaces and discourses; Pérez in The decolonial imaginary: Writing Chicanas into history, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1998) in which high school students were able to reflect on the ongoing transformation of their social, political, and ethnic identities, and developed a relational ontological base. This article explores the physical and metaphorical borders (Anzaldúa in Borderlands/La frontera: The new mestiza, Jossey-Bass, San Francisco 1987) that Chicana/o and Latina/o youth navigate and challenge while simultaneously working for social change in their communities. Lastly, it conveys what we stand to lose if the decolonizing spaces and discourse constructed in Ethnic Studies courses become casualties of xenophobic policy.


High school Chicana/o-Latina/o studies Curriculum Borderlands Sitios y lengua 



The author would like to thank Lesley Bartlett, Gilda Ochoa, Lauren Anderson, Ernest Morrell, and Roger Chung for their thoughtful feedback on earlier versions of this paper.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Teachers CollegeColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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