Cyborg Jotería Pedagogies: Latinx Drag Queens Leveraging Communication Ecologies in the Age of the Digital and Social Displacement

  • José Ramón Lizárraga University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Arturo Cortez University of Colorado, Boulder
Keywords: queer pedagogy, digital pedagogy, social justice


Researchers and practitioners have much to learn from drag queens, specifically Latinx queens, as they leverage everyday queerness and brownness in ways that contribute to pedagogy locally and globally, individually and collectively. Drawing on previous work examining the digital queer gestures of drag queen educators (Lizárraga & Cortez, 2019), this essay explores how non-dominant people that exist and fluctuate in the in-between of boundaries of gender, race, sexuality, the physical, and the virtual provide pedagogical overtures for imagining and organizing for new possible futures that are equitable and just. Further animated by Donna Haraway’s (2006) influential feminist post-humanist work, we interrogate how Latinx drag queens as cyborgs use digital technologies to enhance their craft and engage in powerful pedagogical moves. This essay draws from robust analyses of the digital presence of and interviews with two Latinx drag queens in the San Francisco Bay Area, as well as the online presence of a Xicanx doggie drag queen named RuPawl. Our participants actively drew on their liminality to provoke and mobilize communities around socio-political issues. In this regard, we see them engaging in transformative public cyborg jotería pedagogies that are made visible and historicized in the digital and physical world.

Author Biographies

José Ramón Lizárraga, University of Colorado, Boulder

José Ramón Lizárraga is Assistant Professor of Learning Sciences and Human Development at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Dr. Lizárraga uses ethnographic, video, and multimodal research methods to investigate the role of social networks, television, and other digital new media in the learning of teachers and youth. They are a designer and instructor of hybrid/blended (online/in-person) and online teacher education courses. Lizárraga holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts with Distinction from the California College of the Arts, a Master of Arts in Education from Stanford University, and a PhD from the University of California, Berkeley.

Arturo Cortez, University of Colorado, Boulder

Arturo Cortez is an Assistant Professor of Teacher Learning, Research & Practice and Learning Sciences & Human Development at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Broadly, Dr. Cortez's work explores how teachers learn to collectively design environments that leverage the everyday cultural practices of nondominant youth. In his work with teachers, he intentionally designs for equity to understand the learning processes that emerge as teachers learn how to break away from dominant forms of schooling, opening up opportunities for new relationships between teachers, students, school administration, and community members. Dr. Cortez holds a Ph.D. from UC, Berkeley.