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Dissertations 2008-2013


Las Escrituras del Margen. En Torno a los Territorios Canónicos de la Literatura Latinoamericana: Lorenzo García Vega, Jorge Gaitán Durán y Nicolás Gómez Dávila
Luis Carlos Ayarza
This dissertation is the study of some works that have been marginalized in contemporary Latin American canons. These writings, while not being absolutely unknown, occupy a marginal level of attention in secular junior and academic criticism (and therefore are rarely studied or proposed in the reading lists of literature programs). Among these texts are the following: memoirs, diaries, travel journals and epigrammatic writings such as scholia, and aphorisms.


The universal Quixote: Appropriations of a literary icon
Mark McGraw
First functioning as image based text and then as a widely illustrated book, the impact of the literary figure Don Quixote outgrew his textual limits to gain near- universal recognition as a cultural icon. Compared to the relatively small number of readers who have actually read both extensive volumes of Cervantes’ novel, an overwhelming percentage of people worldwide can identify an image of Don Quixote, especially if he is paired with his squire, Sancho Panza, and know something about the basic premise of the story. The problem that drives this paper is to determine how this Spanish 17th century literary character was able to gain near-universal iconic recognizability.


La usina del lenguaje: Teoría de la poesía neobarroca
Pablo de Cuba
La usina del lenguaje: Teoría de la poesía neobarroca examines one of the most relevant poetry tendencies of the last thirty years: the Neo-baroque. In this dissertation I have endeavored to analyze the works of a number of Hispano-American poets, such as: Jose Lezama Lima, Jose Kozer, Nestor Perlongher, Eduardo Espina, Roger Santivanez, among others, in order to demonstrate that Neobaroque is a significant component of the cultural and aesthetic spirit of the contemporary Hispanic World.


Language attitudes and linguistic profiling among micro-enterprisers in Mexico
Rebecca Ann Brewer
This study examines the language attitudes of entrepreneurial students enrolled in the Academy for Creating Enterprise (ACE) in Mexico City toward six rural and urban varieties of Mexican Spanish to consider whether their attitudes towards these varieties influence their decisions about hiring. A verbal guise test and focus groups were used to determine the current attitudes held by 98 ACE students towards the popular and upper-class dialects of Mexico City; the urban dialect of Mérida, Yucatan; the urban dialect of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua; the urban dialect of Monterrey, Nuevo León; and the rural dialect of San Jeronimito, Guerrero. It was determined that the ACE students, who are current and future entrepreneurs and employers, do engage in “linguistic profiling” (Purnell et al., 1999), preferring the northern varieties of Spanish and the variety spoken by the upper class of Mexico City in all three dimensions of attractiveness, status, and hireability. These results indicate that speakers of the popular variety of Mexico City and the southern varieties of Yucatán and Guerrero are less likely to be hired. In addition, the students’ ratings of hireability were also influenced by the students’ age, gender, business owner status, and exposure to the dialect in question. The students’ level of income was found to be the most likely to influence the ratings of speaker attractiveness and status. This case study of current and future employers enrolled at ACE responds to a call for the application of language attitudes research (Edwards, 1982; Garrett, 2010) and provides a model for working with an organization. Based on these findings, it was determined that ACE should modify its curriculum to include explicit training regarding linguistic attitudes and hiring practices.


Pensamiento lascasiano e indigenismo en la narrativa de Rosario Castellanos
Elia Tovar-Adams
The present dissertation analyzes the influence of the Lascasian thought in the works of Rosario Castellanos throughout Indigenismo. For that effect, an analysis of the trajectory of fray Bartolomé de las Casas and his evolution as the de Protector of the Indians and the development of the Lascasian philosophy has been made; at the same time, a study of Indigenismo as a philosophical ideology, has been carried out in this work. The Lascasian doctrine has evolved in the literary Indigenismo, with many representatives in Latin American Countries. Rosario Castellanos is considered one of the main writers of Indigenismo, that identifies itself with the Lascasian philosophy. New Indigenismo, derived from Indigenismo, is analyzed deeply in this work. At the same time, Indigenismo in the narrative of Rosario Castellanos have been studied extensively in this dissertation.



The post-dictatorial thriller form
Audrey Bryant Powell
This dissertation proposes a theoretical examination of the Latin American thriller through the framework of post-dictatorial Chile, with a concluding look at the post civil war Central American context. I define the thriller as a loose narrative structure reminiscent of the basic detective story, but that fuses the conventional investigation formula with more sensational elements such as political violence, institutional corruption and State terrorism. Unlike the classic form, in which crime traditionally occurs in the past, the thriller form engages violence as an event ongoing in the present or always lurking on the narrative horizon. The Chilean post-dictatorial and Central American postwar histories contain these precise thriller elements. Throughout the Chilean military dictatorship (1973-1990), the Central American civil wars (1960s-1990s) and the triumph of global capitalism, political violence emerges in diversified and oftentimes subtle ways, demanding new interpretational paradigms for explaining its manifestation in contemporary society.


Spanish language use and linguistic attitudes in Laredo, Texas between 1860 and 1930
Concepción María Hickey
This qualitative study investigated Spanish language use and linguistic attitudes in Laredo, Texas and the surrounding area from 1860 to 1930. In the public domain, sources include the Spanish and English language newspapers and Webb County Court documents. These were analyzed for evidence of the impact of English language contact and prevailing attitudes towards the use of Spanish from both the Hispanic and Anglo perspective. In the private domain, three major collections of private correspondence as well as other miscellaneous correspondence and records were transcribed and analyzed for evidence of metalinguistic or other attitudes towards Spanish. A linguistic analysis of the orthographic, phonological, morphosyntactic, and pragmatic features of Spanish used in the correspondence was also conducted.


Culture, poverty, and necessity entrepreneurship: The Academy for Creating Enterprise Mexico and the Philippines.
Jeremi Brad Brewer
This dissertation demonstrates how ACE has successfully equipped thousands of poor Filipinos with the tools necessary for them to raise themselves out of poverty by offering them a culture-specific curriculum that they can implement in their businesses. Furthermore, it will be argued that ACE’s culture-specific curriculum could theoretically be applied in Mexico, where the “culture of poverty” exists in abundance.



Promoting positive ethnolinguistic identity in the Heritage Language classroom through dialect awareness.
Lisa Gardner-Flores
This study examined dialect awareness as an instructional practice when used to teach Spanish Heritage Language (HL) learners at a university located on the U.S.- Mexico border. The author employed bidialectalism as a theoretical perspective, recognizing the important role that U.S. Border Spanish plays in constructing ethnolinguistic identity. A mixed-methods research framework was used that included a pre-post survey instrument, focus group interviews, and classroom observations to examine HL student confidence toward learning a prestige language variety and attitudes toward speaking U.S. Border Spanish. Discourse analysis was employed to examine the discursive practices of the DA classroom. Quantitative survey results showed that students developed a number of significant attitudinal changes after taking a course infused with dialect awareness. Triangulated qualitative findings confirmed that student attitudes had changed after one semester. The author proposed an agenda for future application of dialect awareness in Spanish Heritage Language classrooms.


The construction of early modernity in Spanish film
Miguel Angel Zárate Casanova
The presence of early modern Spanish history in Spanish film has received only limited scholarly attention. The entire group of Spanish films dealing with the Spanish early modern era has never been placed under study by any overarching research. This dissertation reframes the evolution of the cinematographic representation of the Spanish past as it studies the mechanisms employed by Spanish films in representing an essential part of Spanish past: early modernity. Studied are 19 period films that group themselves around some of most representative subjects in early modernity: the Monarchy and Nobility, and the Spanish Inquisition. Studied also is the most expensive Spanish period film, Alatriste (2006). Through the analysis of artistic, industrial, historiographical, and political elements, and the deconstruction of the historical message of each film, as well as the analysis of their reception, it is clear that Spanish period films set in early modernity tell us as much about the time of their making and the shaping of the historical consciousness of Spain as they do about the era that they represent on screen.



Neobarroco y erotismo en la poesía de Eduardo Espina y Néstor Perlongher
Rosalinda Aregullín-Valdez
The poetry of Eduardo Espina and Nestor Perlongher is one of the most transcendental of Hispanic neo-baroque, emerging in the eighties and persisting in the new millennium as one of the most influential literary tendencies in the latest Latin- American generations. This dissertation explores neo-baroque as defined by Omar Calabrese: aesthetics of repetition; aesthetic of monstrosity; the importance of imprecision; predominance of labyrinth within a preference for enigma, occult, or the weight of nonlinearly reading of artistic fragmented texts and eroticism as defined by Georges Bataille in the poetry of Espina and Nestor Perlongher. Both poets emphasize the problematic figure of the transvestite and the homosexual transgressive subject and propose a new perspective of linguistic artifice as an artistic and discursive technique and employ eroticism as a mask that unveils the conventionality of the categories, which govern the patriarchal, masculine-heterosexual Western civilization.


The exploration and preliminary colonization of the “Seno Mexicano” under don Jose de Escandon (1747–1749): An analysis based on primary Spanish manuscripts
Deb Cunningham
In this study, I transcribe, translate, and study all primary Spanish manuscripts documenting the exploration of the Seno Mexicano, and the preliminary colonization of the newly founded province of Nuevo Santander. I provide the first English annotated translation of Escandón’s Informe documenting the exploration of the Seno Mexicano, and the first English-language account of the preliminary colonization of Nuevo Santander that is based on all available manuscripts documenting the event: Escandón’s Autos and Friar Simón del Hierro’s Diario.


General Alonso de Leon’s expedition diaries into Texas (1686–1690): A linguistic analysis of the Spanish manuscripts with semi-paleographic transcriptions and English translations
Lola Orellano Norris
In this interdisciplinary study, I transcribe, translate, and analyze the diaries from two different perspectives: linguistic and historical. The linguistic analysis examines the most salient phonological, morphosyntactic, and lexical phenomena attested in the documents. This synchronic study provides a snapshot of the Spanish language as it was used in Northern Mexico and Texas at the end of the 17th century. An in-depth examination discovers both conservative traits and linguistic innovations and contributes to the history of American Spanish. The historical analysis reveals that frequent misreadings, misinterpretations, and mistranslations of the Spanish source documents have led to substantial factual errors which have misinformed historical interpretation for more than a century. Thus, I have produced new, faithful, annotated English translations based on the manuscript archetypes to address historical misconceptions and present a more accurate interpretation of the historical events as they actually occurred.


Voseo to tuteo accommodation among two Salvadoran communities in the United States
Travis Doug Sorenson
This study documents and accounts for maintenance and change in dialectal features of Salvadoran Spanish in the United States, especially voseo , as opposed to tuteo , terms signifying the use of the second person singular familiar pronouns vos and tú , with their corresponding verb forms. It compares two distinct Salvadoran populations, one in Washington, D.C., and the other in Houston, Texas.



Historia y estructura lírica de la canción popular hispanoamericana: El caso de Centroamérica
Juan Carlos Ureña
The Latin American popular song has emerged from a long historical process whose roots can be traced from Medieval music and poetry, the arrival of European and African music to the new world, and its fusion with the music and poetry that existed in the pre-Columbian Americas.