Graduation Year


Document Type

Senior Thesis


Bachelor of Arts

Primary Major

Literary and Intercultural Studies

Thesis Advisor

Chase Clow, PhD


This project is an online photographic exhibit and exploration of “identity and place.” Its premise is centered on the importance of knowing and understanding one’s personal family history and ancestral lineage for two reasons: that it empowers one to determine their identity for themselves rather than being defined by society, and that an appreciation of our own unique backgrounds encourages our ability to embrace the stories of others and the diversity of our collective identity as humans. Research for this project was based on my own history as a daughter of Mexican immigrants growing up in California. It is centered on an examination of literature on Mexican Americans and the disparities across multiple generations within an immigrant family. It is also informed by interviews with a family member (my mother), a selection of vintage family photographs, and the creation of new imagery. This work involves looking at “the space between” as a metaphor for the gap between two different cultural backgrounds and the state in which true and authentic selfhood is navigated. The photographic exhibit is divided into three collections. The first collection reflects family life and history in Salinas, California after emigration from Mexico in 1948. The second collection is an abstract assemblage of self-portraits that considers the way we are shaped by numerous representations of our persona that fragment us as well as make us whole. The third collection concentrates on images of place associated with the Native American idea that the land that surrounds us is part of who we are.

Included in

Photography Commons