Skip to main content

Dissertations (2015-2019)

2019 | 2018 | 2017 | 2016 | 2015



This study examines how Mexican-American identity has been performed in six biographical films produced by the North American film industry from the 1980s to 2015. The biographical films examined in this study include La Bamba (1987), Stand and Deliver (1988), Selena (1997), César Chávez (2014), Spare Parts (2015), and McFarland, USA (2015). The study of Mexican-American identity is facilitated through an exploration of several contours of a film, such as an imaginary perception of Mexican-Americanness, casting for the roles of the lead characters, and either incorporation of previous stereotypes or a reconfiguration of Mexican-American images. While Mexican-Americanness has been examined through the lens of stereotypical roles in biopics, this dissertation uses filmography, social and cultural history, and questions of cultural authenticity to explore the performance of Mexican-Americanness in biographical films.

This study explores the site of intersection between biographical films and the portrayal of Mexican-Americans. Expanding on earlier scholarly studies of biopics as well as studies of Mexican-American identity in film, this investigation draws on the ways that Mexican-American identity reflects social and political trends of the time periods in which they are produced, filmic representations of Mexican-Americans, and interpretations of how certain scenes function as sites of identity formation. Various elements combine in order to construct the concept of Mexican-Americanness as performance in the film industry, such as Spanish language elements, a reclamation of a lost heritage, and historical distortions with the end goal of entertaining an audience.

Ultimately, this study observes that within the past few decades, the imaginary concept of Latina/o identity is shifting to accurately reflect the authentic nature of Latina/o identity while acknowledging that remnants of stereotypes persist due to the demands of popular culture.

It concludes that the Mexican-American biopics produced in the 1980s and 1990s exhibit themes more closely aligned with the identity themes of the Chicano Movement while biopics produced in the 2010s reflect themes faced by Mexican-Americans in a xenophobic post-September 11 nation. The notion of Mexican-American performance in biopics echoes the complicated matrix of political and social trends of society.


Debarati ByabarttaHumor in the Service of Social Criticism in Iconic Examples from Four Filmic Traditions (United States, Spain, Mexico, and India). 2019

This dissertation is a critical comparative study of four distinguished cinematographic traditions, namely the USA, Spain, Mexico, and India, where their respective societies, politics, histories, and cultures form the relevant background. In such a context, humor in its varied forms acts as a potent catalyst to analyze, conjoin, and diversify the distinctive cultures to reiterate that its language is universal for making a serious comment. At the same time, it can create far-reaching societal awareness. It plays the role of a sturdy and compelling carrier in this dissertation as it channels the raw energy of the underdog and the picaresque. The dissertation contains four chapters that are dedicated to the USA and Charlie Chaplin; Spain and Luis Garcia Berlanga; Mexico and Mario Moreno Cantinflas; and India and Raj Kapoor; an introduction; and an epilogue.

It is an attempt to observe, analyze, and infer the following: the Rabelaisian grotesque body of the Chaplinesque tramp, the Bakhtinian clown or the medieval wise-fool, the pícaro, and the plebeian communicate the underdog’s or the subaltern’s story in different cinematographic traditions where they act as representatives or channels of communication. They are the marginalized, subaltern figures who are portrayed playfully in the chosen gamut of films. Their on-screen actions and reactions are catalyzed and stylized by humor, the energetic and spirited agent, for rendering social commentary and criticism through a selected corpus of message movies of the twentieth century.

The similarities and the differences that combine and diverge into distinct cinematic cultures are explored comprehensively to draw some comparative inferences via Humor Studies, and thus, a similar role of humor in the service of social criticism is substantiated in the selected cinematic traditions. Theories of Humor, Bakhtinian carnivalesque, Rabelaisian grotesque realism, and Valle-Inclanesque esperpento (grotesque) are used in the dissertation to strengthen the analysis and the argument and to underscore the social criticism. Gramscian Theories are used to some extent to reiterate the power struggle, resistance, and survival of the subaltern.


Yoandy Cabrera Ortega. Ira y deseo: impulsos timóticos en la Grecia hispana. 2019

This study analyzes the differences and similarities among the multiple portrayals of mythological figures as embodiments of human emotions (or “affects” as Freud calls them), especially rage and erotic desire, from Ancient Greece to the present. I posit that the fusion of love and rage in classical characters like Achilles and Medea triggers dissent and subversion against any form of external control or manipulation of human behavior (ideological, political, religious, etc.), what renowned Latin Americanist critic Alberto Moreiras defines as “Infrapolitics” in Marranismo e inscripción (2016). I study literature, theatrical plays, choreographies and films from a wide range of countries, namely Spain, Uruguay, Colombia, Mexico, Cuba, and the United States. The thesis of this dissertation is that, in the different Hispanic versions of these classical myths, violence and love have been intimately connected with classical figures in ways that underline their universal iconic nature. Moreover, the blend of rage and love as triggers for dissent and subversion, allows classical characters –in both ancient and more contemporary versions– to go beyond any kind of boundaries (geographical, religious, sexual, etc.) to ponder topics common to all humanity. I study how human impulses, embodied by these reimagined classical characters, become driving forces (or “thymotic forces” as Peter Sloterdijk calls them in Rage and Time, 2006) that resist and subvert any form of behavioral normativity. Violence and erotic desire are the most prevalent thymotic forces in these artistic and literary works; they also represent universal concepts that connect myth and history, past and present, freedom and control, illegality and laws. The distinctiveness of Medea, Achilles and Oedipus stems directly from their common connection to these thymotic forces. I argue that the differences among the multiple versions of the same myths, including their varied reception in the Hispanic World, arise from the different views on rage and erotic desire filtering through all of these depictions. The ways Achilles, Medea and Oedipus have been read by contemporary audiences also disclose powerful insights from Antiquity until today about what makes us human.


Kelsey Harper. 2019

This study provides the background of Peru’s ethnic and linguistic history, leading up to reasons for transnational migration and ultimately the linguistic and social positioning of the Peruvian diaspora with respect to other U.S. Hispanic groups. This project ascertains how Peruvian immigrants in the United States adapt to a new cultural and linguistic setting where their variety of Spanish mixes with others and discusses: 1) What characterizes the Spanish spoken by this group? 2) What is the role of language in maintaining Peruvian identity? 3) To what extent do Peruvians integrate linguistically with other U.S. Hispanics? Through observation of online interactions on social networking sites (SNSs) such as Facebook, and through field research in the Peruvian community in Paterson, New Jersey, this study reveals how Peruvians feel about the features of their own language and what they believe is gained and lost in the migratory process.


José Valero MartínezHistoria natural de la república. Ezequiel Martínez Estrada y el problema de la fundación. 2019

This dissertation proposes a political reading of the Argentinian writer Ezequiel Martínez Estrada. Considering his essay production between the years 1933 and 1956, I illustrate in which manner the paramount problem in Martínez Estrada’s work lies in the critique of the republican thinking of the creole elites of the 19th Century. As I suggest, it puts forward a narrative model, which radically rebuts the premise of historical progress sustained by the nationalist discourses of the creole intellectuals. In this regard, the essays of Martínez Estrada amount to a narration of the foundation of the Argentinian Republic, which, at the same time, sheds light over the origin of its crisis as a modern Nation-State. Martinez Estrada’s chief contribution to the intellectual history of Latin America consists in his revision of the foundational genres of the Argentinian literature, insofar the function as symbolical constructions of a political community. Thus conceived, my dissertation is divided into five sections. The first chapter describes the state of the question in Martínez Estrada’s essay work, and establishes the postulates and the scope of a political approach of it. The second section analyzes the conceptual foundations of the creole Argentinian thought, and in which manner Martínez Estrada’s essays would invert them in the form of an opposition between a concept of the universal history (presupposed by the first), and a concept of the natural history (purported by the latter). The third section deals with Martínez Estrada’s revision of the gauchoesque literature, and, in particular, how the sense of a national territory is born out of this genre. The fourth chapter addresses the creation of a national historiography in Argentina as a metaphor of the temporal foundation of the Argentinian republic, which, from Martínez Estrada’s outlook encloses the source of legitimation of a certain political order. Finally, in the fifth section I draw the conclusions about the actuality of Martínez Estrada’s though in the current debates in the field of the Latin American studies.



This dissertation analyzes the concepts of humanity and animality in the Hispanic Early Modern period from an interpretation of the social processes of exclusion and domination as processes of animalization and domestication.

This interpretation follows the problematization of humanities and interdisciplinarity posed by Animal Studies. This interdisciplinarity combines ethics, literature, politics, and ethology. Also, this work is inspired by the literary genre of bestiaries, in which both the notion of animal and the disciplinary division are blurred and shown as constructs. This dissertation analyzes four «beasts» or specimens (animal, human, canine, marrano).

The first specimen is the animal, which is defined in the Modern Period in opposition to the human. This definition operates negatively: the animal is defined by human characteristics allegedly absent in animals. This chapter criticizes the animal as an abstract and singular concept, in favor of a non-dichotomous definition of human and other life forms.

Analyzed is the human specimen from the humanist project and the humanities, on one hand, and from the Conquest of the Americas and the evangelization of the indigenous population, on the other.

Also analyzed is the canine. The focus is on its position of a threshold, in between human society and natural world. This chapter explores the implications of this intermediate position that has been interpreted as both the dangers of savage inhumanity and the liberation of social limitations.

The marrano is analyzed as a paradigmatic form of animalization. It gives a special perspective not only because Marrano is an anti-Semitic term in relation to pigs, but also because it indicates the process of the communitarian closure based on an identity and how this closure operates either by conversion/assimilation the different, or by its expulsion/persecution.

Conclusions can be summarized in the rejection of the modern concept of the animal, and in the transformation of humanities, considering animals and the contemporary post- humanist historical context. The dissertation also concludes in favor of the inclusion of animals into the juridical system of guarantees in a non-anthropomorphizing form.



 A focus on the Cuban aesthetic cultural production (cinema, visual arts, performance and literature) of the last 15 years through an interdisciplinary theoretical framework that draws on theories of intermediality and transmedia narratives, and also of archive and memory studies. Through the analysis of intermedia strategies adopted by a selected group of artists it is possible to understand the complex socio-cultural dynamic of contemporary Cuba, when many changes are taking place both inside and outside the Island. I claim that the impact of new media and technologies generates new modes of social and political representation and makes possible the production and distribution of artistic creations outside the institutional framework, loosening somewhat the effectiveness of government’s surveillance and censorship. Therefore, an ‘alternative’ cultural production, essentially critical, becomes more global and visible outside the confines of the island, and a closer relationship is established between Cubans and the Cuban’s diaspora. This necessarily generates an impact on the way in which power perceives itself and how it is perceived by the rest of the world.



This dissertation deals with the importance of metaphor in the work of María Zambrano as a fundamental contribution to the philosophical debate about this rhetorical figure that took place in the 20th century. Starting with a comparison of the different positions in this debate, the metaphor of light in her work is studied as a critique of the foundation of Western philosophy. Likewise, the study of the critique of this metaphor in Zambrano contributes to think the metaphors in her work as new ways of approaching the problem of the absolute politicization of existence that infrapolitics calls into question.

First, the exile of the light in Zambrano’s work represents an exile provoked by the blinding light that has constituted the history of Western reason that demands sacrifice which is criticized by Zambrano. Secondly, the exile of the light refers to a retreat from this conception of light through another light, an assumption of the essential condition of exile as a conversion that recovers the same metaphor of light through poetic reason. From this second exile of the light, it is possible to think of the opening up of an infrapolitical dimension thanks to the critiques present in Zambrano’s work, which contribute fundamentally to the demetaphorization of heliopolitics as a central topic for infrapolitics.


Daniela AbrahamArturo Alfonso Schomburg and the Antillean Movement of the Late Nineteenth Century. 2018

It is possible to connect the works of Pan-Africanist intellectual Arturo (Arthur) Schomburg to the literary and cultural movement that arose out of the struggles for Cuban and Puerto Rican independence in the nineteenth-century fin de siècle. This dissertation provides a new reading of the writings of Puerto Rican thinker Eugenio María de Hostos and Cuban intellectual José Martí as foundational to Schomburg’s Pan-Africanism. It also explores the relevance of Schomburg’s ethico-political theory to 21st century global issues of social justice, diversity, and inclusion.


Yumary AlfonsoLa Virgen cruza el Atlántico: Hibridación y Palimpsesto Iconográfico. 2018

During the Mexican colonial period, the configuration of worship services and Marian devotions in the mode of “novenas”, “sermones”, “patentes” and “oficios” strengthened the myth and veneration of the figure of the Virgin of Guadalupe. The models imposed by Eurocentric supremacy reveal a contradictory relationship that deserves further exploration in order to find and explain the connections between the iconography and religious domination mechanisms. As a result, the American space endures a process of transculturation and iconographic palimpsest between models of Marian devotions in Europe and Marian devotions in terms of representation and conceptualization in the New World. Following the establishment of Spanish colonization in Cuba within the cultural and religious sphere a phenomenon called transculturation occurred which was termed as transculturation by the ethnographer, anthropologist and Cuban ethnologist Fernando Ortiz. This term redefines the iconographic religious codes on the island because of the African slaves that were shipped to the Caribbean to work as laborers mainly in the sugar and tobacco plantations. These Africans brought their beliefs from their land, but were forced to embrace a completely different faith and to assume the Christian Catholic doctrine. Subsequently, these slaves camouflaged their own Yoruba deities with the Catholic calendar. Their pantheon was masked under Catholic images that the imposed religion provided, thus creating devotion to various saints and the representation of these in the manner of a palimpsest in their image and conceptualization. Some cases are exemplified by the worship to Our Lady of Charity, Our Lady of Regla and Our Lady of La Merced. The Virgin Mary in some of her invocations is overlapped and sincretized with the African deities such as Ochun, Yemayá and Obatalá. Finally, this study analyzes the changes of cult and the use of images of the Virgin in the virtual platform. All the representations undoubtedly lead to a subversion of the image. This dissertation uses different frames works but the focus is on the main concept of “palimpsest” proposed by Sarah Dillon. The research line leads to the hybridism and the disquisitions about mythology and repetition of patterns in the formation of a nations narratives. With the transatlantic journey of the Virgin the palimpsest is formed in each medium or image in which it is represented. Each substrate of the performance or cult itself is subversive and contradicts the surface of the symbols.


René Rubí CordovíActualización de la Regla de Ocha-Ifá Religión y Poesía Afrocubana. 2018

In the religious system known as Regla de Ocha-Ifa, changes occur that are important today for the reconfiguration of identity and cultural elements of Cuba and its diaspora. One of the most accepted concepts to explain the evolution of Cuban society is the concept of transculturation offered by Fernando Ortiz. Through it are defined historical and social processes that shaped the structure of Cuba as a nation. But this concept must be understood as a living phenomenon, constantly evolving. Therefore, this theory is applicable to the phenomenon of the Rule of Ocha-Ifa today. Emerging in Cuba and based on the religious heritage of the Yoruba ethnic group in Africa, the Rule of Ocha-Ifa is one of the longest established religious forms in Cuban society. This research updates the presence of Ocha as an indispensable element to explore and redefine the current state of Cubans inside and outside Cuba. It also reveals a new stage of the impact of African religions in America and Europe. In a second phase, this research demonstrates the importance of the influence of the Rule of Ocha-Ifa on Afro-Cuban poetry, establishing a close link among religion, poetry and society as inseparable elements. To date, the studies on or about Afro-Cuban poetry have been focused on historical aspects, taking into account the issues of race, gender, slavery-emancipation, musicality and sensuality-sexuality in general. These works have yet to address the problematic of religion that characterizes the different historical periods of Afro-Cuban descendants. The present dissertation creates the possibility of classifying Afro-Cuban religious-themed poetry into five historical groups distinctive for their specific characteristics and social impact. The ultimate purpose of this work, from colonial times to the present, is to provide a new methodological perspective for critical studies of Afro-Cuban poetry within the field of trans-Atlantic literature and African studies.



Ana Cecilia GeorgeLa Violencia en La Narrativa de Ficción Centroamericana del Siglo XX: Tatiana Lobo, Rosa María Britton, Horacio Castellanos Moya y Rodrigo Rey Rosa. 2017

This dissertation analyzes the work of four Central American novelists, who together offer a panorama of the history of Central America from the colonial period, through independence to the postwar. The authors that are part of this study are: Tatiana Lobo, Rosa María Britton, Horacio Castellanos Moya and Rodrigo Rey Rosa. The works analyzed share a historical-geographical framework, which creates links between them. They also share a discourse of violence that has been part of Latin America since the colony to the present day. The theories of Ariel Dorfman, René Girard, Carlo Galli and Terry Eagleton are used in order to demonstrate how violence has been represented over time.


Joan Parmer Barrett. Tarahumara Transcripts Face to Face with Modernity: An Intertextual Approach. 2017

The objective of the present work evaluates an overview of original texts by and about the isolated Tarahumara of Mexico by considering key elements of their passive and active traditions, which reveal the unique values and ideologies of the group, and give understanding to the relevant past and present discourse as a form of social practice, identity, and shared knowledge and beliefs by analyzing transcripts of Tarahumara oral tradition along with modern interpretative writings, some by modern day authors from the Mexican sierra, that retain some aspects of the traditional transcripts while simultaneously suggesting a departure from some time-honored facets of the ancient tribe living in the twenty-first century. By taking a page from Vladamir Propp’s Mythology of the Folk Tale (1928), his structural analysis of one hundred Russian fairy tales, this work analyzes transcriptions of one hundred Tarahumara oral traditions that had never been categorized or morphologically analyzed collectively before to reveal ways that social and political negotiations have been reproduced in discourse and how this interdiscursivity with modern texts by current sierra authors connects to the formation and maintenance of cultural determination while simultaneously serving as resistance against external influence. This study of an intertextual nature signals not only the historical situation of the Tarahumara of Mexico in our modern world, but also secures for modern academia a neoteric plot on the map of pre-Colombian ideology by extending Alan Dunde’s “The Morphology of North America Indian Folktales” (1980) for the first time to the works of iii the Mexican Tarahumara traditional tales, demonstrating that Tarahumara folktales and myths are structured as well, not simply told in random formless tales, and can be successfully submitted to a morphological componential analysis, which will aid in the elucidation of cultural norms, values, and penchants. This study of Tarahumara texts will serve as a vehicle for understanding the perpetuation of group behavior and norms by analysis of the structural patterns, will reveal wish and wish fulfillment of the tribe, and will consequently stand as a reflector of sierra societal reality. 


Nancy de Honores. Latin American Language Poetry, Themes and Techniques: A Renewal of Poetic Discourse in Post-Millennium Authors. 2017

Latin American Language Poetry, Themes and Techniques: A Renewal of Poetic Discourse in Post-Millennium Authors provides a study of Latin American poetry with works from the second half of the 20th and first two decades of the 21st Centuries. This study analyzes the works of David Rosenmann-Taub (Chile 1927), José Kozer (Cuba 1940), and José Morales Saravia (Perú 1954) to reveal the themes and techniques they utilize as tools in their labors. On the lyrical and literary level, Latin American Language Poetry, Themes and Techniques: A Renewal of Poetic Discourse in Post-Millennium Authors provides a study of Latin American poetry with works from the second half of the 20th and first two decades of the 21st Centuries. This study analyzes the works of David Rosenmann-Taub (Chile 1927), José Kozer (Cuba 1940), and José Morales Saravia (Perú 1954) to reveal the themes and techniques they utilize as tools in their labors. On the lyrical and literary level, the investigation provides a briefing of sound, identity, and the anabatic or ascension theory in relationship with their works and post-contemporary sociocultural endeavors. Additionally, it focusses on the new approaches and paths they take within their poetic styles and the new elements and components that characterize their works. While these poets are now considered under the Neobaroque style, their approach based on the crafting and molding of language accommodates their works under the umbrella of “Post-Millenium Latin American Language Poetics.” This fact renews poetic discourse in the field. The research establishes a theoretical frame to study the themes and techniques. It also presents a descriptive approach along with a concise poetry analysis of several works by the above-mentioned authors and renders a view of their evolution and accessibility of their works.


 J. Miguel Muñiz Apresa. Historicidad y Escritura: Problemas de la Poetica del Ensayo. El Caso de Salvador Elizondo. 2017

This dissertation belongs to the territory of the undefinition: the essay, as a literary gender with no limits, is the core of the analysis though their sub-gender “periodical essay”, a theoretical complex literary form inside Opinion Journalism as a gender, where sometimes the periodical essay is located for research purposes. To go deeper into the above, this study focus on Mexican writer Salvador Elizondo’s periodical essays, who was a strange case in Hispanic American literature in 20th Century, not just because of his written style, but for the idea he has about his own works: he preferred to call them “experiments” instead “literature”. The next pages will analyze a poetic problem on periodical essay focused on two main circumstances: time and space, for these are the most important constituents of every literary text. The analysis will take place on the book Contextos, by Salvador Elizondo, first appeared on Excelsior, a newspaper from Mexico City, between 1971 and 1973. I will conduct a variorum study, and then, a phenomenological approach to this essay, to understand how those two circumstances work on the poetic construction of the periodical essay.


Inti Yanes-FernándezThe Cross and the Sword: Political Myth-Making, Hegemony, and Intericonicity in the Christianization of the Iberian Peninsula and Britain. 2017

The myth-making (mythopoeia) of El Cid and King Arthur as hegemonic devices flows through a diachronical shapeshifting process with religious and political functionality linked to the Christianization of Spain and Britain. These myths interlock with the hegemonic rhetoric of Christian Reconquest to shape national identities and their procedural correlates, i.e., the monarchical Castilianization of the Iberian Peninsula (Spain) and the formation of the English monarchy (Britain). Consequently, there occurs a gradual imposition of a monolingual politico-epistemological model over the plurilingual and multi-ethnic cultural mosaic. Mythical heroes and saint-warriors substitute real figures to create fictional iconosystems and redesign collective memory and cultural identity. In this context, El Cid and King Arthur as mythemes/iconemes develop in functional correspondence with the Christianization of Britain and Spain and the establishment of national monarchies. El Cid and King Arthur are myth-synthesis since in them a variety of worldviews and textual-iconographical traditions crystallizes to create new transmedia narratives with symbolico-allegorical character. This functional relationship takes place through complex intericonic and intertextual processes in the social and cultural imaginary of medieval Spain and Britain. Special heed is paid to the impact of Byzantium’s religious, military, and literary paradigms upon the formation of Arthurian and Cidian iconosystems and narratives. Aiming to understand and describe the functionality of El Cid and King Arthur as hegemonic myths, we apply a comparative methodology intertwined with a cross-cultural perspective according to which myths, as complex devices gathered together from iconic and textual discourses, bear a concrete functionality. This functionality appears linked to the human calling to ontological self-interpretation, world-understanding, and socio-political legitimation. Furthermore, there is a continuity of these mythemes linked to contemporary cybercultural multi- and transmedia storytelling. In other words, the mythopoeia of El Cid and King Arthur takes place today via transmedia adaptations within the framework of cyberculture and digital technologies. Special forms in which these mythemes appear today are digital cinema, video games, and online educational resources. This transmedia shape-shifting process shows that traditional myths still hold a significant capacity of impact on individual and collective imaginaries. This continuity also indicates that the mythopoeia of King Arthur and El Cid is still expanding to further stages in new social and technological environments. Additionally, this process occurs in an iconological field largely determined by bio-digital categories of cyberbeing. These two conditions transform the traditional formal, diegetic, and ideothematic fashion of these mythemes according to new transmedia possibilities.


Sinia Bolanos HarrisLos Narcos También Lloran. Formas de Tratamiento en “El Señor de los Cielos” 2017

This dissertation describes and analyzes regional, social, and stylistic variation in the address system used by the characters of the telenovela El Señor de los Cielos (ESDLC). It also addresses the forms of negotiation used among the characters and the alternation in pronoun usage in the levels of intimacy, trust, and distance evidenced in both pronominal and nominal addresses. In addition, the Spanish variety used in the telenovela is compared to what is known as neutral Spanish, whose main characteristic is lacking any markers of regional or local accents. This work provides an answer to the following research questions: 1) What is the pronominal address system of the telenovela ESDLC? 2) How does regional, social, and stylistic variation influence pronoun choice according to the telenovela’s cultural and social context? The method of analysis follows an inductive approach. Qualitative data collection was designed based on Oliviera’s model, which method consists of monitoring speakers’ individual choices and addressing negotiation according to the different communicative contexts, speakers’ social characteristics, their enacted roles, and the relationships among the parties in particular speech acts. Judgement sampling was used to gather data. Data was recorded, classified, and analyzed using Excel. Measures of central tendency were used to establish pronoun usage and preference. Variables were set based on the features of the corpus consisting of two different Spanish varieties, each of them divided in regional varieties, and two different domains: legal and illegal. Findings reveal that ESDLC exhibits an address system based on vernacular pronoun usage stylized and stereotyped with the purpose of giving dramatic force to the dialogues. Linguistic behavior is connected to regional variation to distinguish between Mexican and Colombian address systems. Social variation points to the characters’ origin, social level, and line of work. Stylistic variation defines the telenovela’s characters. For example, characters playing the role of the fool have more pronoun switching, while serious characters maintain conventional addresses. Pronoun switching is an indication of power and submission, or an intensification of emotion (annoyance, compassion, etc.) in the characters’ relationships. Pronoun switching is more frequently used among Colombian characters. This study concludes that telenovelas that have similar characteristics to real life speech provide the researcher with a corpus of linguistic behavior and can be used for linguistic analysis. Furthermore, because the actors are allowed to freely create their characters and improvise portions of the dialogues, the researcher may encounter forms of address that were thought to be extinct. One of these is the vestigial voseo employed by two Colombian characters. On the other hand, in the enhanced and stylized reality of the telenovela, some features of speech are manipulated for dramatic effect.



A study of two texts that deal with political violence in Latin America, and that reflect how violence in the political and public spheres reflects itself in the more private space of the home and the nuclear family. The two books and authors are: Evelio Rosero’s, Los ejércitos and Horacio’s Castellanos Moya’s Insensatez. The Colombian writer Evelio Rosero’s, Los ejércitos shows the armed conflict between the military government, guerrilla armies, and those who have been displaced from their homes and towns by the armed clashes between the military and the guerrillas. Insensatez, by the Salvadorian writer, Horacio Castellanos Moya’s, on the other hand, centers on the assassination of more than three hundred thousand indigenous people over ten years of military regime.

On the one hand, is the historically traditional violence endemic in Colombia looked at relatively recent history—that includes the bipartisan violence between Colombia’s main political parties, liberales and conservadores—which spans from the 1940s through the middle of the 1960’s. Some studies assert that this conflict ends in 1958 with the creation of the Frente Nacional, also known as the Benidorm Pact, through which the leaders of both political parties reached an agreement to rotate power in Colombia. Covered are nearly seventy years of armed conflict (1946-2016) between the Colombian government, paramilitary groups, and guerrilla groups. Thus, the dissertation expands the study of pervasive violence in Colombia and differ from traditional studies which tend to cover only the armed conflict with guerrilla groups, consequently only addressing half a century of Colombian history. In this manner, this project will focus on seventy years that are critical for setting up the grounds that have defined the social antecedents and consequences of the violence in Colombia.

This most recent wave of violence, besides having taken thousands of lives, displaced and left homeless over two million families all over the country in urban areas, and more recently, also in smaller cities. Besides this public form of violence which permeates the news and the conscience of Colombians, there coalesces a perhaps more insidious one: domestic violence.

On the other hand, studied is how Horacio Castellanos Moya examines the death of countless workers, peasants, students, and members of political organizations in the Guatemalan genocide and how these events shook the country and affected civil liberties in this nation. I will examine the mass assassinations, particularly of indigenous people, allegedly by governmental military forces during the confrontations that took place between 1960 and 1996. The examination of Castellanos’ writings—were reality intermingles with fiction—will be largely informed by two documents obtained from the Comisiones de la Verdad. One document was produced by the Comisión de Esclarecimiento Histórico and another by the commission on Recuperación de Memoria Histórica.

Violence has become a building-nation factor in societies where violence has unhinged and ruptured the nuclear family as a social construct. This phenomenon in Guatemala since resonates with what is happening in Colombia, where a sort of citizen that is being formed by the politically injected violence that pervades in these nations.



 La figura del monstruo ha sido siempre objeto de la curiosidad humana. El monstruo, el otro, es la representación de aquello que provoca miedo o rechazo, algunas veces por ser diferente y otras, en cambio, por ser demasiado cercano. El objetivo de esta disertación es analizar la figura y la evolución del monstruo hasta aislar sus características básicas y poder responder a una pregunta básica: ¿Qué es el monstruo? Acostumbrados a que éste sea siempre la causa o la consecuencia, lo que persigue o amenaza a un protagonista normativo alrededor del cual se mueve la historia, el poner el foco en lo excepcional, no deja de resultar atrayente.

Este trabajo consta de dos capítulos de introducción sobre los estudios del monstruo desde trabajos de historiadores, filósofos, y teóricos del cine, y tres capítulos de análisis de siete películas españolas contemporáneas. La selección de los casos se basó en tres criterios: películas de producción española, filmadas en democracia y cuyo protagonista fuera el monstruo mismo, en cualquiera de sus formas. El primer capítulo es una breve revisión de cómo la figura del monstruo se desarrolla en la historia de la cultura occidental desde la Grecia clásica hasta el siglo XX. El capítulo II propone una definición del concepto que parte de la cuestión de la propia identidad y el relativismo de la excepcionalidad. El primer análisis de casos analiza el concepto de la monstrificación del individuo a través de la invasión del espacio doméstico. El siguiente capítulo aborda otro análisis desde un bloque temático diferente: la monstruosidad y su transmisión a través del control de la mirada. El último capítulo se desarrolla también alrededor del rol de la mirada en la monstrificación del sujeto, desde una perspectiva diferente: cómo el mismo deseo y acto de ver pueden monstrificar no solo al personaje, sino también al mismo espectador.

La conclusión de esta tesis doctoral se resume en un monstruo protagonista, una figura que, lejos de esconderse, se hace presente, convirtiéndose en el centro de la narración y arrastrando con ella a un espectador al que obliga a mirar en su interior.


Emily Renee GravesAn Isolated State of Mind: Seeking a Life in Exile. 2017

This dissertation analyses the evolutionary condition of exile among three Hispanic poets through an examination of the historical, sociological, and psychological state of exile that develops from past struggles and continues with a will of survival found in the production of literary works. The poets selected for this study include Ida Vitale, Juan Gelman, and José Kozer. In order to comprehend the various depths of exile, this dissertation focuses not only upon the crisis that questions one’s individual and national identity, but also the recovery of one’s self through nostalgia and the reestablishment of a life within a state of exile. The importance of this study does not intend, in any way, to undermine the struggles and suffering that these writers withstood before, during, and after their experiences of exile from their native countries. In turn, one must completely encounter the profoundness of each writer’s struggle and treatment of exile. This study evaluates how each poet confronts the past through a daily evaluation of the individual self and a pursuing idealism that develops in the production of their writings. The significance of each writer’s experience of exile demonstrates an individual challenge to acquire understanding and acceptance of an isolated state through examining political/religious factors and sociological/psychological effects that hinder nostalgic memories of a past life and encourage recovery of one’s identity.


Hernández, Michael. Narrar el exilio. Re-configuración del sujeto exiliado en la literatura cubana post-Mariel2016

Through this work, Narrar el exilio ( Re-configuración del sujeto exiliado en la literatura cubana post-Mariel), I analyze essentially the very complex phenomenon of the transfer of the experience of exile to the contemporary novelistic universe, through the narrative works of five Cuban writers, that began in some cases to publish books from the Decade of 1960 and some still publishing or writing today. They are Reinaldo Arenas (1943-1990), Guillermo Rosales (1946-1993), Carlos Victoria (1950-2007), Antonio José Ponte (1964) and Pedro Juan Gutiérrez (1950).

One of the central purposes of this dissertation is to investigate the vision these authors have of both political exile and other types of displacement –as transformation of the cultural centrality of the nation that has been left behind– for reasons ranging from the economic to the cultural, as well as the trace that can verified in their works. We cannot ignore that they suffered in their flesh the rigors of political exile from which their books outline somehow the route of such marginalization at the hands of the totalitarian State.

All of them are writers directly related to the central theme of this work, which has been one of the constants in the political and social scene of Latin America, especially since the 19th Century and continuing today. These Cuban writers, perhaps some more well-known than others, are all of great importance for the history of literature written in Spanish. At the same time, my goal is to examine how these works are a reflection of an existence marked and conditioned by the rigors of exile and how much revealed in them the everlasting contrast between literature and history.


Javier Marimón Miyares. El cine poético en Carlos Reygadas2016.

The cinematography of Mexican director Carlos Reygadas is the main focus of this dissertation, which aims to validate the artistic quality of his four films. JapónBatalla en el CieloLuz Silenciosa and Post Tenebras Lux define the creator’s creative Style. They demonstrate key influences of his cinematographic approach, and recognize his identification with the typology of poetic cinema, as a reactive model to narrative and cultural cinematographic formulas.

To complete this present work, the conceptualizations of six emblematic figures in cinema were chosen as the dissertation’s theoretical foundation: Luis Buñuel, Robert Bresson, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Éric Rohmer, Andrei Tarkovsky and Abbas Kiarostami. Based on their perceptions of film, resemblances are noted, whether consciously or unconsciously referenced by Carlos Reygadas. Characteristics of poetic cinema are analyzed, including how such creators interpreted the use of sounds, editing, scene duration, space, dialogue of characters or models, importance of the creator’s ethical values, methods of choosing and developing themes, and technical resources for handling images, among others.

The poetic implications of Carlos Reygadas, a creator focused on stimulating an individual’s sensory perception through the proper use of key cinematic tools –using image and sound to create a sense of time– are confirmed through a series of interviews done by the creator following his four films. In these interviews, reoccurring content in his speech is consistent: symbolism of titles, story ideas, use of non-actors, creative methods, filming process, sound and music, sex and faith, nature, references to film and literature, use of space and time, presence of death and the grotesque, and other technical elements.

Finally, these and other cinematic elements and their variations in the four feature films by this director are discussed. Together they validate the affirmation that Carlos Reygadas is one of the most representative creators of poetic cinema in the early twenty-first century throughout the Americas and worldwide.


Héctor Enrique Antonio Weir Gil. The Catholic puzzle: Faith in the Borderland Narratives of Carmen Boullosa and Rolando Hinojosa. 2016.

The Catholic experience in the Texas-US borderlands represents a void within the humanities. The attitudes that surround the topic of religion in socio-historical and literary studies have limited the scope of works. Two of the most problematic biases are the pro- and anti-Catholic discourses that have been intertwined with national political agendas in both countries. They have created important obstacles that complicate the study and understanding of the identities that have arisen since the conquest. In the border, a significant percent of Mexican families maintain strong links to Catholic practices and beliefs despite living under the pressures of Americanization and secularization that are deeply rooted in the anti-clerical discourse. On the other hand, pro-Catholic approaches often lose sight of the realities found in the margins of society, as they can be over-reactionary to perceived attacks.

Taking this counterpoint in consideration, this dissertation studies the multiple faces of Catholicism portrayed in the contemporary narratives of Texas: La Gran Ladronería en el Lejano Norte (2013) of Carmen Boullosa; and in Generaciones y Semblanzas (1977), Claros Varones de Belken (1986) and Becky and her Friends (1990) by Rolando Hinojosa and which form part of his Klail City Death Trip Series. This analysis is situated within pro- and anti-Catholic discourses, as well as with the critical works on cultural change of anthropologists such as Fernando Ortiz, Gonzalo Aguirre Beltrán, Clifford Geertz, Elizabeth Fernea, and Dan Rose. Some of the historians considered with regards to the subject of Mexican-American culture and religious change are Albert Camarillo, Robert Wright (O.M.I.), Carlos E. Castañeda, Timothy Matovina, and Robert Treviño. The works of these critics, in conjunction with the study of the borderland titles, allow for the possibility of re-tracing the Mexican-American Catholic experience in the Rio Grande Valley starting from the years that immediately followed the treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo in 1848. Ultimately, this dissertation allows for a better understanding of the religion shared by many generations of Mexican Americans and proves that Boullosa and Hinojosa’s works are crucial in understanding the processes responsible for the generational shifts and reactions that many historiographers have noted in the study of the borderlands.


Carlos Andrés Rodríguez González. Arte y guerra en Colombia de 1995-2015: zona gris y posconflicto en la guerra global. 2016.

This dissertation explores the ethical-political relationship of Colombian art production (literature, film, and installation art) from 1995 to 2015 that focused on the Colombian War. During the period of time between the 1990s and the early 2000s, Colombia’s armed conflict experienced the most violent phase in its history due to the transition from a civil war confined to a closed territory to a global war. Colombia has experienced the longest armed conflict in the Western Hemisphere, and for almost eighty years the country has attempted to end it. As a result of this, Colombia has experienced partial transitions toward democracy. The current peace talks between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia- People’s Army (FARC-EP) (2012-2016) have finally brought the promise of the conflict’s conclusion. Nevertheless, the neo-paramilitary groups, which have integrated into the neoliberal system with military interventions in different parts of Latin America and the world, coupled with Colombia’s necro-capitalism are clear signs that this armed conflict no longer falls merely under the sovereignty of the Colombian State; this conflict belongs to the entire world.

The biggest difficulty for concluding the armed conflict is the gray zone, a political space that produces two kinds of sovereignty: one political and the other economic. At the same time, the gray zone produces both “dialectizable” and unconvertible violence. Art production from the past two decades has been dedicated to reflecting upon the gray zone by means of making a critique of the main concepts of political modernity, such as: confession, forgiveness, human rights, memory, militancy and insurrection. The critical review of these concepts shows that they are emptied, incomplete, full of neoliberal reformism, and thus unable to intervene in the gray zone. Making these problems of the Colombian political reality explicit also serves to make evident a set of problems that are happening in different parts of the world at this moment. The dual transition in Colombia will be the type of post-conflict transition experienced by all other contemporary wars, such as the drug wars in Mexico and Central America or the wars in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and other parts of the Middle East.


Alicia Zavala GarciaCelestinas, parcas y diosas: representaciones artístico-literarias de la mujer unidas por el hilo. 2016

A study of iconography and literary works to analyze the relationship between women and thread throughout history. There are examples dating from Greek mythology and pre-Columbian goddesses up to the present in which women can be observed with thread in their hands. Thread is the framework of the research because of its symbolic value. Thread opens a window of interpretations and metaphors depending on the circumstances in which it is used. Furthermore, these symbolic connections are apparent in the unconscious metaphoric uses of verbs such as “spin” and “weave” to represent the linking together of thoughts and words into narrative patterns. One of the expressions most commonly used when talking about people who are in government is that “they pull the strings,” implying by this that they have the power to move society at their will. In this sense, the thread is a metaphor of control and power that a few have over many. The dissertation is based on an extensive reading of different areas such as anthropology, Greek mythology, indigenous studies and current literary works. The ultimate outcome creates a unique interdisciplinary perspective on women studies. The investigation demonstrates that the tasks resulting from manipulating yarn such as spinning and weaving have given women a sense of empowerment with which they have been able to express and denounce the abuses they have been victims of, and I also prove that what began as an imposition or occupation has become an asset as women have slowly learned to master these skills.


Martha María Montejo Pizarro. Flotar en la viscosidad literatura cubana de los 90. 2015.

Flotar en la viscosidad. Literatura cubana de los 90 is a dissertation that focuses on Cuban literature in the 1990s as one of the stages of major changes and literary projections after 1959 in Cuba, as part of Latin American literary developments following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The late twentieth century in Cuba was a time of fractures and vulnerabilities in different representations of the social subject and his/her circumstances, historically manipulated by the government. As examples of this rupture with the socialist literary canon, I study three authors and their representative works from this period: the poet Reina María Rodríguez, the narrator Pedro Juan Gutiérrez and the poet, narrator and essayist Antonio José Ponte. As I demonstrate in my dissertation, their works are able to dialogue with particular and dissimilar voices using original prose fiction, poetry and essayistic elements, mostly absent on the island map during the three previous decades of socialism. Similarly, their books reflect a critical period, damaged paradigms and a new subject that coincides with a novel national imaginary, contrasting with the new man (el hombre nuevo) as symbol of the socialist regime. In this regard, I have paid close attention to two major events for the continent after the collapse of the Berlin Wall: the so-called special period in peace time and the triumph of neoliberal globalization in the rest of Latin America.


Other Dissertation Pages:
(2005-2009) | (2010-2014) | (2015-2019)