Center of Mexican American Studies
Center of Mexican American Studies

Center for Mexican American Studies Fellows (2019-2020)

Cecilia Valenzuela



Project Title: Listening Within Margins to Everyday Sounds, Voices, and Soundscapes: A Border-Crossing, Self-Reflective Pedagogy

"My study invites students and teachers to rework dominant assumptions and habits about sound and listening through critical teaching and learning approaches that actively tune into diverse and marginalized narratives."

"My findings revealed that integrating sound and critical sonic perspectives - through unique tools, methods, and artifacts – supports and expands opportunities to attend to marginalized narratives rooted in home, emotion, self-reflection, and imagination."

Cecilia Angélica Valenzuela, Ph. D. is a recipient of the Carlos E. Castañeda Fellowship in Mexican American Studies for the 2019-2020 year. She received her Doctorate in Education, Curriculum & Instruction with specializations in Literacy and Ethnic Studies from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2018. She holds an MA in Social, Multicultural, and Bilingual Education from the University of Colorado Boulder, and a BA in Sociology from the University of California, San Diego. Her broad research interests focus on sound, listening and the body across literacy, teaching and the arts. In particular, her work critically examines sound’s affective aspects in relation to discursive and material borders and across education projects that center the communicative and introspective practices of Latinx/Chicanx students and communities.

While in residence at UT, Dr. Valenzuela will complete manuscripts from her honorary distinguished dissertation titled, “Listening Within Margins to Everyday Sounds, Voices, and Soundscapes: A Border-Crossing, Self-Reflective Pedagogy”. This research highlights the literacies and knowledges shared and produced by young adult Latinx students who explored sound and audio technologies through embodied, digital and mobile listening practices. Specifically, it examines the complex ways students use sound to renegotiate their political locations and articulate the affective dimensions of their lives. Dr. Valenzuela’s research and teaching draw from Chicana feminist pedagogies, critical literacies (multimodal & visceral), Latinx/Chicanx cultural studies (decolonial thought & borderland theorizing), sound studies, creative writing and memoir. She engages sensory ethnography and methodologies focused on student-centered approaches and soundwalks. Currently, she is focused on digital audio projects that archive (im)migrant and Latinx narratives, histories in the southwest, and sounds on the México/U.S. border.

Dr. Valenzuela’s earlier work included teaching in pre-K and elementary bilingual classrooms. She also designed and led an after-school, community arts-based literacy program for Latinx (im)migrant middle-school students and their families. Most recent, she taught and advised undergraduates and graduates, in particular ethnic studies students and professional teachers. In spring 2020, she will give a public lecture on her current projects and research and will present various sonic compositions.

Sandibel Borges



Project Title: Against Displacement: The Survival of LGBTQ Latinx Migrants in Transit.

“It uncovers the often-invisible experiences that LGBTQ Latinx migrants have with the state, while bringing to the forefront their voices and actions of resistance against systemic violence.”

“the act of homing [is] a political act of resistance against displacement, isolation, and colonial and imperial constructs of gender and sexuality.”

Sandibel Borges received her Ph.D. in Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is one of the 2019-2020 Carlos E. Castañeda Postdoctoral Fellows in the Center for Mexican American Studies at UT Austin. Her work investigates how heteronormativity, white supremacy, and exploitation are naturalized and institutionalized within migration processes, and their impact on Latinx LGBTQ migrants in Los Angeles, California and LGBTQ returning migrants in Mexico City, Mexico. Using oral histories, ethnography, and archival work, Dr. Borges then examines the concepts of hope, survival, home, and queer family and friendship in the everyday lives of her participants/narrators. As a CMAS postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Borges is preparing a book manuscript on queer migrations and resistance.

Dr. Borges's work has appeared in Women's Studies Quarterly, the Journal of Lesbian StudiesChicana/Latina Studies: The Journal of Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social, and Diálogo.