Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)



First Advisor

Steven Alvarez

Second Advisor

Dohra Ahmad

Third Advisor

Anne Geller


This dissertation examines the methods, reasons, and strategies of identity formation within an Ecuadorian(-American) family living on Long Island, New York. This autoethnographic research combines family interviews and the author’s own experiences to investigate identity on three prongs: Latinidad, Spanish and English language usage, and honoring and creating homes. Latinidad is both a panethnic term that is assigned to Latinos living within the United States, but is also an identity that is individually practiced by those who identify as Latinos. I investigate the link between Spanish, English, and identity formation to dislodge the supposed link between language and Latinidad. By interrogating the definitions and function of home, I look at how we, Ecuadorian immigrants and children of Ecuadorian immigrants, carve out our lives in the places that we love. Engaging with my cousins and my own experiences living on Long Island provides a dynamic and personal intervention to the monolithic United States perspective of Latinos.