Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Photo of Claudia Cervantes-Soon

Cervantes-Soon, Claudia

Assistant Professor

T: 919.843.5221
307F Peabody Hall
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"Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world."

- Paulo Freire

"Until I am free to write bilingually and to switch codes without having always to translate, while I still have to speak English or Spanish when I would rather speak Spanglish, and as long as I have to accommodate the English speakers rather than having them accommodate me, my tongue will be illegitimate. I will no longer be made to feel ashamed of existing. I will have my voice: Indian, Spanish, white... I will overcome the tradition of silence."

- Gloria E. Anzaldúa


Cervantes-Soon’s teaching and research interests revolve around pedagogical practices that address the needs and concerns of culturally and linguistically diverse learners in U.S. schools and subaltern young women in the borderlands. Her research interests include bilingual and ESL education, minority issues in education, teacher development, critical pedagogy, Latina/Chicana feminisms, and language education policy.

Cervantes-Soon spent eight years as a bilingual and dual-language immersion teacher in the barrios of El Paso, Texas, and as an ESL/bilingual literacy specialist and consultant in Central Nebraska. Her work taught her about the challenges and possibilities that language minority children and youth encounter in U.S. schools, and has inspired her to research the development of collaborative spaces and pedagogical practices that promote additive and transformative education.

Originally from Juárez, México, Cervantes-Soon’s personal transnational experience, as well as her work with students who cross not only international borders, but also borders of language, race, class, and gender, solidified her commitment to research that sees the borderlands as a source of new knowledge.

Some of her recent projects include research on ESL and dual language education for Latin@ students in the U.S. South, which examines processes of identity formation and voice, Latin@ parent participation in schools, and the fostering of social justice through teacher development. Moreover, she has conducted research with young women in Juárez, Mexico to learn about the possibilities of democratic and critical education in fostering agency among Mexican urban youth, despite the most difficult living conditions. Focusing on young women, her ethnographic research points to the potential of schools in supporting the development of disenfranchised youth as organic intellectuals as well as in promoting empowered identities, critical consciousness, and activism.

Cervantes-Soon received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin in Curriculum and Instruction, with a specialization in Cultural Studies in Education and graduate portfolios in Women’s and Gender Studies and Mexican American Studies/Bilingual Education. Prior to that she received her Master of Education as Instructional Specialist in Bilingual Education with a focus on Dual Language Immersion Education from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Educational Background

  • Ph.D. 2011 - University of Texas at Austin, Curriculum and Instruction: Cultural Studies in Education
  • M.Ed. 2004 – University of Texas at El Paso, Instructional Specialist: Bilingual Education
  • B.I.S. 1997 – University of Texas at El Paso, Bilingual Education

Research and Teaching Interests

  • Additive Bilingual and ESL Pedagogy and Teacher Development
  • Critical Pedagogy and Transformative Education
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Learners in the New Latino/a Diaspora
  • Latina/Chicana Feminisms and Borderlands Scholarship in Education
  • Intersectionalities of Race, Class, Gender, Language and Immigration
  • Decolonial Research Methodologies


  • EDUC 646: Practicum in ESL
  • EDUC 647: Methods and Materials for Teaching Secondary/K-12 Subjects I
  • EDUC 747: Methods and Materials for Teaching Secondary/K-12 Subjects II
  • EDUC 881: Language, Identity and Power
  • EDUC 776: Gender, Race and Class Issues in Education

Honors & Awards

  • 2010-11, American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Graduate Fellowship
  • 2010-11, University of Texas Women’s and Gender Studies Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2010-11, University of Texas Graduate School Dissertation Fellowship
  • 2010-11, American Association of University Women Dissertation Fellowship Finalist
  • 2010-11, Spencer Dissertation Fellowship Finalist
  • 2007-11, Alexander Caswell Ellis Fellowship in Education
  • 2008-10, E.D. Farmer International Fellowship
  • 2007-08, Lee Hage and Joseph D. Jamail Endowed Scholarship in Education
  • 2003-04, Cultivating Bilingual Teachers and Leaders Grant
  • 1995-97, Partnerships for Excellence in Teacher Education Fellowship
  • 1995-97, Southwestern Bell Scholarship for Bilingual Educators of Math and Science

Selected Professional Affiliations

  • American Anthropological Association
  • American Educational Research Association

Selected Publications

Cervantes-Soon, C. G.(2012). Testimonios of Life and Learning in the Borderlands: Subaltern Juarez Girls Speak. Equity and Excellence in Education, 45(3), 373-391.

Cervantes-Soon, C. & Valenzuela, A. (2011). Subtractive legislative Policy: the Plight of Bilingual Language Learners. Chapter prepared for B. Bustos Flores, R. Hernandez Sheets, and E. Riojas Clark (Eds.), Educar para Transformar: Teacher Preparation for Bilingual Student Populations.

Soto, L.D., Cervantes-Soon, C., Villarreal-Perales, E. & Campos, E. (2009). The Xicana sacred space: A communal circle of compromise for educational researchers. Harvard Educational Review.

Cervantes-Soon, C. (2007) Examining teacher retention and success: Developing the survey. In E. Hampton and S. Peregrino, Research for Mutual Understanding in Diverse Communities: A Toolkit for Educators. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt.

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