Susana Sepulveda Abstracts

Susana Sepulveda

Ph.D. Candidate

Social Cultural & Critical Theory GIDP


National Association of Chicana and Chicano Studies

Albuquerque, New Mexico

April 2-6, 2019


Punk is a music subculture described by scholars as a "critique of the status quo" (Habell Pallán, 150) and a "refusal of conventional norms" (Leblanc, 40). In this paper I ask how punk expressions refuse and critique dominant normalizations within a transnational scope. I highlight the ways punk artists navigate relations of power through their cultural practices and propose that such representations of punk engage a transnational politics of refusal that moves across and blurs socio-cultural and national boundaries challenging notions of home and belonging. This interdisciplinary concept draws on Chicana and Latina/o Popular Culture studies (Habell-Pallán 2005, Vargas 2012,), transnational and transborder feminist frameworks (Anzaldúa 1987, Saldivar-Hull 2000, Grewal's 2005), Cultural studies (Hebdige 1979, Taylor 2003), and punk ethos. 

I focus my analysis on La Merma, a transnationally based punk band from the U.S Mexico border cities of Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Arizona. Founded in 1994, members of La Merma have come and gone in a consistent basis throughout the band's trajectory. However, these changes have not deterred the band's continuity and impact in Nogales's punk communities. I pay particular attention to the band's name and music, specifically their song "Inadaptados" (1997), and trace how these cultural productions gesture a punk transnational politics of refusal that contests dominant assumptions of what it means to call the borderlands home and be a borderlands subject. I argue that a transnational politics of refusal serves to: (1) broaden an understanding of the complex and paradoxical relationship subcultures such as punk have to power, and (2) show how marginalized subjects both navigate and refuse dominant discourses of power transnationally in nuanced ways. 

Abstract for Lay Audience

The research study “SOCIOPHONETIC VARIATION IN THE L1 AFFECTS L2 PHONOLOGICAL DEVELOPMENT” investigates how experience with Sonoran Spanish, a dialect spoken in the northwestern region of Mexico, affects the patterns of spoken word recognition as well as the learning paths of English sounds.  In Sonoran Spanish, the sound that corresponds to the digraph <ch>, as in charco ‘puddle,’ may be pronounced either as ch (as in cheap) or as sh (as in sheep) (Brown, 1989). This linguistic phenomenon is known as shesheo (Mendez, 2017), and it is a distinctive feature of norteño dialect, spoken in Sonora, Baja California, Durango, and Chihuahua (Serrano, 2000). The presence of both sound variants in free variation within the same community suggests that northwestern speakers have learned to store in their mental dictionary a word like charco ‘puddle’ in variable form, whereas people from other regions of Mexico possess a single mental representation for this word.  Several investigations have revealed that dialect experience strongly affects the patterns of recognition of words with different sound variants (Pitt, 2009). No previous investigations, however, have yet analyzed the effects of dialect experience in the perception and recognition of sounds in a second language (L2). It is well known that L2 learners experience challenges when perceiving and/or producing L2 sounds. The Second Language Linguistic Perception Model (L2LP; Escudero, 2005) accounts for these difficulties, and it further takes into consideration the learners’ individual first language (L1) accentual features, including that of dialect, to determine the way they perceive and gradually learn L2 speech sounds. Since native accentual features modulate language learning paths, a logical question is whether people who speak two different dialects of the same language will have different experiences when learning the same language. This study employs a categorical experiment to investigate linguistic experience and its role on the acquisition of English sounds by speakers of Sonoran Spanish. In a categorical experiment, participants listen to an individual word or a set of words and are asked to indicate, by pressing a button, what word they believe to have heard from a closed list of options. Percentage of categorization correctness and response times will be measured and compared across participants and groups. Data for these studies will be collected in two locations, Hermosillo and Querétaro, Mexico, representing two dialect areas. This investigation is the first one to explore Sonoran Spanish from a cognitive perspective, using psycholinguistic techniques to study the effects of dialect experience on the perception of L2 sounds.   Although the academic interest in the Spanish in the United States has recently expanded, the study of Sonoran Spanish, a variety of Spanish widely spoken in the Southwest of the US, including Tucson (Casillas, 2012), has remained virtually unexplored. These studies will contribute to the further understanding and familiarization of a Spanish variety with a strong presence among the different communities of Spanish speakers in Arizona. It will also describe the learning paths of two major groups of English learners differing in native accent but sharing a native language.


Last updated 4 Jun 2019