Date of Award

May 2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Communication and Rhetorical Studies


Charles E. Morris III


Cultural Production, Gentrification, Radical Imaginary, Social Movements

Subject Categories

Social and Behavioral Sciences


This thesis explores the nuanced relationships between culture, embodied resistance and gentrification in the East Los Angeles neighborhood Boyle Heights. The barrio this project centers upon, is predominantly Latinx identified, low income, and is currently embroiled in a war against gentrification, not unlike the onslaught of displacement dozens of neighborhoods across the United States are currently facing. Specifically, I explore the agitative strategies and actions of the contemporary, grassroots, direct-action group resisting the displacement imposed by gentrification, Defend Boyle Heights. The project centers on two artifacts— a constitution video titled La Noticia: Boyle Heights se Defiende! and a video that captures a protest at the former Nicodim art gallery. By engaging with the movement, through an attention to the group’s embodied action as rhetorical in and of itself, I argue visions of emancipation as agitative consciousness-raising work become visible. Specifically, I examine Defend Boyle Heights as a movement that contributes to the maintenance and creation of cultural imaginations, within the larger landscape of Boyle Heights and in turn, participate in mobilizing and creating radical visions of an emancipated barrio.


Open Access

Available for download on Sunday, August 15, 2021