Mahurin Honors College Capstone Experience/Thesis Projects


Folk Studies and Anthropology

Document Type



To what extent does a Mexican American identify with Mexico? With the U.S.? How are these identities formed? Through a series of semi-structured interviews with second- and third-generation descendants of migrants emigrating from seven Spanish-speaking Latin American countries, I explore what it means to be Hispanic American. I begin by examining the informants’ perceptions of boundaries between the broad Hispanic and American ethnic groups and their self-defined positions relative to those boundaries. Having established this position, I then analyze the impact of external conceptions of authenticity and access to “ethnic raw materials” in their construction of this ethnic identity. Findings suggest 1) that informants as a whole consider the boundary between Hispanic and American significantly blurred, and 2) that the positive impact of interaction with cultural resources outweighs informants’ relatively slight negative experience with challenges to authenticity, the latter of which are, in many cases, constructive motivators.

Advisor(s) or Committee Chair

Dr. Kate Hudepohl


Anthropology | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latina/o Studies