chapter  12
Lengua Latina: Latina Canadians (Re)constructing Identity Through a Community of Practice
Pages 22

In this chapter I bring together critical literacy and Chicana/o studies in an exploration of identity transformation. I focus my research on the identities and writing of Latina Canadians within Lengua Latina, a creative writing group for Latinas in Toronto. Using Etienne Wenger’s Communities of Practice (1998) as my primary theory, I consider how participation in Lengua Latina influences the movement and understanding of identity and community for one of its members. Here I am thinking of more than a sense of “Latina-ness/Latinidad,” for as Wenger (1998) noted, “The very notion of identity . . . entails an experience of multimembership” (p. 158). Through janet romero’s poetry and interviews, I explore the flux of four of her significant identities-writer, lesbian, translator, and Latina-during her time in Lengua Latina. How have these identities been shaped, uncovered, recovered, and strengthened, or just remained the same? What is the impact of these shifts on janet’s confidence and learning? In Lengua Latina, she writes about the identity changes resulting from her experiences of immigration from Chile to Canada. I explore the relationship between identity change for Latina/o Canadian immigrants and identity change as discussed in education. Finally, through janet’s experiences as an immigrant and as a member of Lengua Latina, I offer some ideas for how identity transformation within communal contexts might be explored in the designing of education.