Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Sarah Sarzynski

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© 2016 Jessica Barreno


This thesis elucidates new perspectives on transnational migration. The analysis draws from three oral histories that recount border-crossings and their unique impact on Salvadoran immigrant self-realization. The oral histories presented refine the study of transnational migration by providing valuable qualitative information that supplements and nuances empirical fact.

The first subject, whose story takes place in the 1970s just before the outbreak of the Salvadoran civil war, constructs identity through an embrace of assimilationist practices. The second narrative, occurring just after the civil war, is of a woman who navigates hegemonic Anglo structures by appropriating a space of her own. The third subject, a man who immigrates in the wake of post-9/11 heightened security concerns, desires permanent settlement; however, his undocumented status prevents him from fully integrating into American mainstream society. Additionally, an analytical focus on transnationalism reveals an important relationship with gendered identities. Through close analysis, these narratives reveal how Salvadoran immigrants have renegotiated what it means to belong in the United States. Overall this thesis contributes to a relatively young and undeveloped line of research on Salvadoran migration, particularly through its focus on gender.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.