A Xicana Scholar Activist, defined

Drawing from interdisciplinary scholarship, including decolonial studies and feminist epistemologies, a Xicana scholar activist can be initially described by looking at Xicanismo and scholar activism on separate threads, then weaving them to make a tapestry of becoming in and outside of the academy.

Xicanismo affirms the worldviews and scientific contributions of native peoples of Abya Ayala, or what we know as the American continent. This affirmation stems from a critical consciousness (Freire, 2000; Ladson-Billings, 2009) that privileges the cultivation of ancestral knowledge systems (Castillo, 1994; Comas-Díaz, 2001; Moraga, 2011; Moreno Sandoval et al., forthcoming). Like Chicanismo’s birth as a political statement of resistance against violent otherization (Garza, 2004), Xicanismo is differentiated by the “X”, a native phoneme of Uto-Aztecan origin, pronounced “sh”. Xicanismo fluidly unfolds through the telling of identities as stories (Sfard & Prusack, 2005) rather than neatly fitting one’s identity as a static “x” inside a box.

Scholar activism weaves theory and practice in research settings. As a criterion for rigor in educational research, Gutiérrez and Penuel (2014) call on scholars to make academic contributions relevant to practice in schooling communities. Scholar activism promotes longevity in social science research in that research that bridges conceptual framing, methods, findings and action links all parts of the research process in full circle. In other words, the transparency of research goals, commitments, frames of reference, guiding concepts and theories, and working assumptions (Ravitch & Riggan, 2012, p. 52) is made visible to a community of research participants through actions.

A Xicana Scholar Activist is best explored through a Xicana Sacred Space (Soto et. al, 2009), a framework that privileges indigenous and feminist epistemologies while decolonizing research methods. By developing a critical consciousness, cultivating cultural intuition (Delgado Bernal, 1998) and examining positionalities, scholar activists conduct rigorous research in education.

My identification as a Xicana scholar activist is a process that flows with a critical consciousness about how socio-cultural and historical, political and economic factors have influenced the state of my positionality, my family, and the communities in which I engage my research and practice. That process is reflected in my scholarship and in the ways I conduct research in and outside of the academy as well as my action across multiple settings. It is within these personal, professional and academic borderlands that I thread my visions for educational equity for all peoples. It is in this spirit that I chronicle my personal, academic and professional journey on this site.


Comas-Díaz, L. (2001). Hispanics, latinos, or americanos: The evolution of identity. Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, 7(2), 115-120. doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/1099-9809.7.2.115

Delgado Bernal, D. (1998). Using Chicana feminist epistemology in educational research. Harvard Educational Review, 68(4), 555-583.

Freire, P. (2000). Education for critical consciousness. Continuum.

Garza, M. A. C. (2004). High crimes against the flesh: The embodiment of violent otherization in Cherrie Moraga’s “Heros and Saints”. Letras Femeninas, 30(1), 26-39.

Gutiérrez, K. & Penuel, W. R. (2014). Relevance to practice as a criterion for rigor. Educational Researcher, 43(1), 19-23. doi: 10.3102/0013189X13520289

In Xinachtli, In Milpa. (2011, June 22). E’ecatl El Viento de Aztlan: The Xicano Paradigm. [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://inxinachtliinmilpa.blogspot.com/2011/06/xicano-paradigm.html?m=1

Ladson Billings, G. (2009). The dreamkeepers: Successful teachers of African American childrenSan Francisco, Calif: Jossey-Bass Publishers.

Moraga, C. L. (2011). A Xicana codex of changing consciousness. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Moreno Sandoval, C.D., Mojica Lagunas, R., Montelongo, L., & Díaz, M. (forthcoming). Ancestral Knowledge Systems: A conceptual framework to decolonizing research in social science.

Ravitch, S.M. & Riggan, M. (2012). Reason & rigor: How conceptual frameworks guide research. Los Angeles: Sage Publications, Inc.

Sfard, A. & Prusack, A. (2005). Telling identities: In search of an analytic tool for investigating learning as a culturally shaped activity. Educational Researcher, 34, 14-22. doi:10.3102/0013189X034004014

Soto, L. D., Cervantes-Soon, C. G., Villarreal, E., & Campos, E. E. (2009). The Xicana Sacred Space: A communal circle of compromiso for educational researchers. Harvard Educational Review, 79(4), 755-776.  


Suggested APA citation for this webpage:

Moreno Sandoval, C.D. (year, month day). What is a Xicana scholar activist? [Web log comment]. Retrieved from http://drcueponcaxochitl.org/what-is-a-xicana-scholar-activist/


Latest photos