Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Dissertation


Mestizos--Iowa--Marshalltown--Ethnic identity;


Approximately 20 million Latinos living in the United States identify as Mestizos. A Mestizo is a person of mixed heritage. Almost half of these Mestizos racially or culturally identify as White, while the other half identify as Hispanic or racially mixed. These racial and cultural identifications have vast effects on educational performance: those identifying themselves as Hispanic or mixed experience lower academic achievement whereas those identifying as White do not. Many communities have experienced an influx of Mestizo-Latinos, but are ill prepared for the educational challenges due to the language and cultural differences Mestizos bring. This researcher himself has experienced the racial and cultural jerks between identity and society. It is through an autoethnographic journey that Latino and non-Latino voices are elucidated. Additional perspectives are gathered from the Marshalltown area to better situate the context of the research and complex yet integral culture of Mestizo-Latinos. Self-reflexive narratives, observational field-work, and intensive interviews are conducted to show those additional voices and perspectives. The interplay between the autoethnographic journey and that of interviews and observations is the crux of the study, where observational and interviewing layers inform the researcher of his own affective identity history. A holistic poststructuralist perspective is used to show this research as highly unique, and interrelated characteristics allow for embedded interpretations. Although limited to the researcher and his participants, this research is rich enough to frame the issues for other communities having Mestizo-Latinos.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Doctor of Education


Department of Educational Psychology and Foundations

First Advisor

John K. Smith, Chair

Date Original


Object Description

1 PDF file (ix, 219 pages)



File Format