The Raza Graduate Student Association's RGSA Research Showcase set for Thursday, Sept. 22 from noon -1 p.m. in El Centro de la Raza's Conference Room features Sarah Upton, a doctoral candidate in Communication & Journalism, presenting, "Toward a Communication Theory of Hybrid Border Identity." Lunch is provided.

In her seminal piece Borderlands/La Frontera: The New Mestiza, Gloria Anzaldúa explains that being a woman of the (Mexico-U.S.) border means growing up between two cultures. Referencing Mexican philosopher Jose Vasconcelos' notion of a "cosmic race,' which imagined the creation of a single race from the combination of the four major races of the world, Anzaldúa argues that from this hybrid mixture, a new consciousness emerges. In Upton's paper, she questions how people living on borders symbolically construct hybrid identity.

"My goal is to ground Anzaldúa's notion of borderland consciousness within a communication theory of hybrid border identity. Using symbolic interaction as my foundation, I first define the situation as border in terms of boundary, space and consciousness." Next, she argues that actors who enter this situation act by using bilingual verbal and nonverbal symbols including: code switching, semiotic construction, performativity and crossing.

"After making the decision to act using these symbols, individuals interpret and judge the situation through a process of negotiation, intersectionality and self-reflection," Upton said, adding that after this process, the actor's reference group is altered to one of hybrid identity.

"This hybrid identity is understood as circular; a mixture which is fluid, but has a constant presence," she said.

Upton is a second year Ph.D. student in intercultural communication in the Department of Communication & Journalism. Her research focuses on the Mexico/U.S. border, looking at issues such as identity construction and the femicide in Ciudad Juárez.

The RGSA Research Showcase highlights and supports Latina/o graduate and professional students to present their research as well as promotes graduate and professional school for Latina/o undergraduate students and other students of color. RGSA especially encourages undergraduate students interested in graduate and professional school to attend to see Latina/o graduate and professional students present their research. RGSA thanks El Centro de la Raza and Graduate Resource Center for their support of the RGSA Research Showcase.

For more information, contact RGSA.