Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • De la península ibérica a Italia: concepción y práctica teatral de las primeras comedias castellanas

    Author:
    Marta Albala Pelegrin
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Ottavio Di Camillo
    Abstract:

    In my dissertation, De la península Ibérica a Italia: concepción y práctica teatral de las primeras comedias castellanas, I analyze the formation of early modern Spanish comedia, in the context of Italo-Iberian cultural exchanges. My aim is to incorporate the most popular Spanish plays of the first half of the sixteenth century into the larger scenario in which they belong: one that we could name the "formation of the genre of comedy". Works such as Juan del Encina's Eclogues, La Celestina (The Spanish Bawd), and Torres Naharro's Tinellaria and Soldadesca are seen in this light as milestones in a complex thread of contributions leading to the development in the seventeenth century of a Spanish Golden Age "national theater", and specifically in Lope de Vega comedia nueva, as well as to the Italian commedia erudita. Such a reconstruction has long been neglected due to the constitution of the Hispanic and the Italian literary studies, and the asymmetry between the Spanish and the Italian literary traditions, especially regarding the primacy of Italian "comedies" and "authors" in the constitution of a history of "western comedy". The formation of the genre of comedy it is seen in a new light within a textual and bibliographical history, grounded in the relationships among authors, printers, and readers. Cultural and merchant networks established between the Iberian and Italian Peninsulas helped to widespread not only books as commodities, but ideas and forms (genres) contained within them that would appeal to new audiences and readers. In my second chapter, I have reconstructed the possible ways in which these plays could have been represented, in contexts such as Alba de Tormes and Rome, by means of the analysis of internal text evidence (prompts, or configuration of the different scenes) and the extant records, both about its actual performances, and other contemporary spectacles. In order to make sense of the scarce available data, I have delved into architectural treatises (Vitruvio, Alberti, Peruzzi, Serlio), woodcuts, and extant Roman documents on contemporary theatrical performances. As a result of this reconstruction, Encina's latest plays, as well as Naharro's Soldadesca and Tinellaria, appear as deeply rooted in the avant-garde conception of the urban Roman scene, they share both techniques, and scene conceptions with avant-garde Italian authors. In my third chapter, I studied the function that comedies, such as Naharro's Tinellaria and Soldadesca, had at the time, insisting on the religious and political denunciations contained in them, as well as in their relationship with some discourses originating in the Lateran council. As a result of that, I have been able to delimit the circles, critical with the papacy of Julius II, in which these ideas originated, together with the political interests of those that voiced them.

  • El modernismo desde dentro: Discurso de la "gente nueva" y campo literario en la prensa modernista madrileña (1897-1907)

    Author:
    MARIA SUSANA BARDAVIO ESTEVAN
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    William Sherzer
    Abstract:

    This dissertation examines the trajectory of modernist discourse between 1897 and 1907 and its impact on the process toward autonomy of Madrid's literary field. In the late nineteenth century, the failure of the liberal project and of positivism plunged European thought into what has been called the fin de siècle crisis. Spain participated fully in this process, generating a series of protest discourses that rejected the prevailing system. In the arts and literature in particular, this led to a number of trends aesthetically or ideologically opposed to the political system of the Restoration, to bourgeois values, to radical positivism and to realist aesthetics. The material and social conditioning factors greatly hindered the development of the new aesthetics. This caused the young writers to come together as a community of discourse conjoining the plurality of perspectives that characterized them under two basic principles: the defense of literary renewal and the rejection of the established powers. The constant struggle for these two assumptions laid the foundations for a symbolic revolution in the literary field. I understand modernism as the collective discourse that in the late nineteenth century started to make its way into the literary field and whose impact on it would be crucial in the process of autonomization. My study focuses on the public sphere of modernist discourse. I have examined mainly the modernist magazines published in Madrid between 1897 and 1907 because, compared to the consecrated press, they were the means by which the gente nueva could freely express and disseminate their opinions. Throughout the dissertation I explore the development of modernist discourse to show that it was not immutable, but that it was changing within the literary field. As it was gaining recognition, the modernist writers adopted literary positions that caused confrontations among themselves, leading to the breakup of the original community of discourse. However, they were still sharing the defense of the aforementioned principles, and when they finally imposed them and their discourse was perceived as legitimate by the whole field, a degree of autonomy hitherto nonexistent in the literary world was eventually reached.

  • Contact-induced changes in word order and intonation in the Spanish of New York City bilinguals

    Author:
    Carolina Barrera-Tobon
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Ricardo Otheguy
    Abstract:

    This dissertation is a variationist sociolinguistic analysis of the variable word order and prosody of copular constructions (Nicolás es feliz versus Feliz es Nicolás, Es Nicolás feliz, Es feliz Nicolás, `Nicolas is happy') in the Spanish of first- and second-generation Spanish-English bilinguals in New York City. The data used for the study come from a spoken corpus of Spanish in New York City based on 140 sociolinguistic interviews (details of the corpus will be presented in Chapter Three). This dissertation addresses the question of whether second-generation bilinguals have a less flexible word order in Spanish as a result of their increased use of, and contact with, English, where a more fixed order prevails. We will show that the informants in the present study, like their peers in Los Angeles and other parts of the US, exhibit a more rigid word order compared to their first-generation peers. We have established that this increase in rigidity of word order among the second-generation can be attributed in large part to their increased use of and contact with English. The studies mentioned above have interpreted their results to mean that these speakers are losing or have lost the discourse pragmatic constraints that govern word order. However, the data here show that the first- and second-generation speakers in the present study share many of the same conditioning variables and constraints for word order, although these variables appear to account for a smaller amount of variance among the second-generation. In this way, we have established that the second-generation is not losing the discourse pragmatic constraints that govern word order, but that they are differently sensitive to these constraints. In fact, we show that second-generation speakers are very capable of communicating the pragmatic functions that the first-generation speakers do using word order because they maintain the prosodic details of their first-generation counterparts. In other words, the second-generation communicates these functions in ways that are slightly different from the first-generation, relying more on prosodic resources than syntactic ones. Furthermore, the data indicate that their prosodic patterns are not modeled after the prosody of English. In general terms we show that the second-generation does not have a different grammar from their first-generation counterparts, as is claimed by other researchers. Instead we show that these speakers favor certain first-generation strategies over others.

  • Las historias de vidas en el siglo XVII: Juan Pablo Martir Rizo

    Author:
    Graciela Bazet-Broitman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Lia Schwartz
    Abstract:

    Abstract LAS HISTORIAS DE VIDA EN EL SIGLO XVII: JUAN PABLO MÁRTIR RIZO by Graciela Bazet-Broitman Adviser: Distinguished Professor Lía Schwartz This dissertation examines the role of the historias de vida (stories of lives) in XVII century Spain with particular focus on the stories of lives written by Juan Pablo Mártir Rizo. The purpose of this study is twofold: 1) to discuss the genre of said writings, which some critics, based on an apparent lack of concern by Mártir Rizo for historical documents and facts, have categorized as literature and, therefore, fiction, but which some others consider as truly historiographical texts; 2) to contest the characteristic of "practical" that was given by a particular critic to the historiography of the Spanish Baroque because one of its main objectives was to influence the readers and move them to carry out certain actions and abstain from others. To be able to arrive to a solid conclusion to both problems, the study first presents a brief but thorough historical background that focuses on the writing of the stories of lives and its relationship with literature and history, as well as on the role attributed to history in the various periods since the surfacing of the first bioi in ancient Greece. This study also analyzes the philosophical background that permeates the prevalent worldview during Spanish Golden Age, namely two schools of thought: skepticism and neo-stoicism. The study goes on to analyze in detail three of the four stories of lives written by Mártir Rizo, particularly centering on the historical sources and the many digressions that Mártir Rizo introduces and are such a fundamental component of his lives. Finally, this study considers three questions the responses to which were essential to determine the genre of Mártir Rizo's stories of lives and the place that the Spanish author allocated to historical facts: 1) How were his works considered by his readers? 2) How were these works classified in the libraries of his time? 3) Which were the historical sources available to Mártir Rizo and what use if any did he make of them?

  • La poética del cuerpo en la obra de Carmen Cecilia Suárez

    Author:
    Luz Betancourt Aduén
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Elena Martínez
    Abstract:

    In this Dissertation I reflected on the Poetics of the Body in the work of Carmen Cecilia Suárez, a contemporary Colombian writer and poet. I examined the literary influence of Un vestido rojo para bailar boleros (1988), which exposed the cultural patriarchal fabric that originates the colonized feminine subject in Colombia; and, in the achievement of this exposition, outstanding feminist literary critics of this country, such as María Mercedes Jaramillo, Angela Inés Robledo, Betty Osorio and Helena Araújo, were true sources of inspiration. We approached the notion of Woman focusing on the processes that favor the body as a "space of empowerment", especially acknowledging the birth of the Butterfly Woman, main metaphor of self-representation of the author; in the literary fashion of Hélène Cixous, we analyzed the struggles of hers `to speak otherwise'. Thus, Lilith became the icon whom other feminine figures depart from; the icon constitutes the core of the "aesthetics of disobedience" that in this Dissertation stems from the Argentine literary critic Susana Reisz; among those figures we literalized the Witch Woman and the Prostitute Woman. I have structured my study, with what I called the Centripetal Poetics (or the feminine individual body) and the Centrifugal Poetics (or the feminine social body); from the perspective of the first, we illustrated the "ethical conception" that resembles the philosophical approach to literature of Luce Irigaray, where the heterosexual couple becomes a "metaphor of sexual difference". It was staged in "La casa azul" of El séptimo ciclo (1992) and "Cuento de amor en cinco actos" of Cuento de amor en cinco actos (1997); in these analysis as well as the travesty performance of "Anorexia", we included important insights of Judith Butler. From the perspective of the second, we accomplished "the epic feat" of consolidating the multistratified (multifaceted-multispatial-multitemporal) Feminist Feminine Subject, called the Nomadic Woman (or in terms of our writer the New Woman); we valued the literary feminist theory of Rossi Braidotti which reflected in our exploration of several short stories of La otra mitad de la vida (2001). In the Poetics of Secret Spaces, where the author continued elaborating the postmodern condition (poscolonial, posthuman, postgender) of that Feminist Feminine Subject , we came closer to several poems of Espacios secretos (2002) and Poemas del insomnio (después del vino) (2005); we enter the field of the Cyborg Woman and the Simulacrum Woman respectively. In Retazos en el tiempo (2010), the New Butterfly Woman was born; parting from the poem "Zen", Zen was examined as an aesthetic fiction based on the "semiotics of the mandala", a formalization of a "dream of multiple dimensions" of the writer, where she continued developing her art of erotic invention, as the Poetics of Yin-Yang.

  • THE VARIABLE GRAMMAR OF THE SPANISH SUBJUNCTIVE IN SECOND-GENERATION BILINGUALS IN NEW YORK CITY

    Author:
    Kevin Bookhamer
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Ricardo Otheguy
    Abstract:

    This morphosyntactic dissertation study compares the use of MOOD (indicative & subjunctive) in first- and second-generation Spanish speakers in New York City. The data for this study are from a transcription of naturalistic Spanish conversations with New Yorkers of different generations, representing the six primary Spanish-speaking groups in NYC: Puerto Rican, Dominican, Mexican, Ecuadorian, Colombian and Cuban. We analyze data from 26 born in Latin America and 26 born or raised in NYC, totaling 52 transcriptions. The reference model is the mood usage of first-generation newcomers, not a standard Spanish normative framework. The objective was to examine the use of mood by way of descriptive and inferential analytical methods in order to determine whether or not the second-generation bilinguals' mood grammar has changed, and if so, to establish exactly where and how it differs from the first-generation. The research questions were: 1) Does the subjunctive use of second-generation NYC bilinguals differ from that of their first-generation NYC counterparts? 2) What are the syntactic and communicative contexts in which the subjunctive is used in the first and second generations? 3) What internal and external independent variables condition mood choice in both immigrant generational groups? 4) Is the second generation's use of mood such that grammatical command of mood appears developed and systematic? Or is there evidence of an incomplete or unsystematic mood grammar? Our findings corroborate the results from other studies centered on generational U.S. subjunctive use: the second generation generates fewer subjunctives and more indicatives than the first-generation, a finding supported by statistical significance. The two generations also differ significantly concerning the internal contexts where mood manifests, but command of mood does appear intact among the majority of the second generation, thus problematizing common notions such as attrition, incomplete acquisition, and to a degree, simplification. Furthermore, analyses concerning several external variables show that the first generation appears essentially homogenous with respect to their use of mood, whereas the second-generation displays far more variability. Finally, this dissertation contributes to the variationist-sociolinguistic knowledge of Spanish grammar in bilingual settings.

  • Francisco Sanchez y el redescubrimiento de la duda en el Renacimiento

    Author:
    Marcelo Broitman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Isaias Lerner
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this study was to explore philosophical skepticism from its origins in Greece to its resurgence in the European Renaissance, in particular in the work of Francisco Sanchez, the Hispanic medical doctor and thinker of the XVI and XVII centuries. In order to provide the background to Sanchez' book, Quod nihil scitur (That nothing is known), which called in question any possibility of knowledge, an analysis of the various stages of skeptical thought was conducted. Special attention was paid to the work of three ancient philosophers: Pyrrho of Elis, the legendary founder of the skeptical school who left no written work behind, but whose life, as told mainly by Diogenes Laertius, was a model for his followers; Arcesilaus, who helped to steer Plato's Academy towards skepticism during the period of that school that is known as the Middle Academy, and Carneades, who headed the so called New Academy. In the Middle Ages, skeptic doubt was displaced by dogmatic certainty, based mainly on the authority of Aristotle and the Church. With very few exceptions, such as those found in some texts by Henry of Ghent, dogmatism reigned during this period. This dissertation also deals with some characteristics of medieval dialectic. In this regard, it presents the translation of two important critical texts, one by Francesco Petrarca and the other by Juan Luis Vives, anticipating the criticism of Francisco Sanchez. This work also considers the role that two religious reformers, Girolamo Savonarola and Martin Luther, could have played in the revival of skepticism during their time. The last section of this study is devoted to Francisco Sanchez, and analyzes two of his works, Carmen de cometa anni M.D.LXXVII, and Quod nihil scitur. The latter was instrumental in the rediscovery of critical thinking, and was well known and highly appreciated, or defamed, in its time. It is the work that placed Sanchez in the history of Western thought.

  • Francisco Sanchez y el redescubrimiento de la duda en el Renacimiento

    Author:
    Marcelo Broitman
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Isaias Lerner
    Abstract:

    The purpose of this study was to explore philosophical skepticism from its origins in Greece to its resurgence in the European Renaissance, in particular in the work of Francisco Sanchez, the Hispanic medical doctor and thinker of the XVI and XVII centuries. In order to provide the background to Sanchez' book, Quod nihil scitur (That nothing is known), which called in question any possibility of knowledge, an analysis of the various stages of skeptical thought was conducted. Special attention was paid to the work of three ancient philosophers: Pyrrho of Elis, the legendary founder of the skeptical school who left no written work behind, but whose life, as told mainly by Diogenes Laertius, was a model for his followers; Arcesilaus, who helped to steer Plato's Academy towards skepticism during the period of that school that is known as the Middle Academy, and Carneades, who headed the so called New Academy. In the Middle Ages, skeptic doubt was displaced by dogmatic certainty, based mainly on the authority of Aristotle and the Church. With very few exceptions, such as those found in some texts by Henry of Ghent, dogmatism reigned during this period. This dissertation also deals with some characteristics of medieval dialectic. In this regard, it presents the translation of two important critical texts, one by Francesco Petrarca and the other by Juan Luis Vives, anticipating the criticism of Francisco Sanchez. This work also considers the role that two religious reformers, Girolamo Savonarola and Martin Luther, could have played in the revival of skepticism during their time. The last section of this study is devoted to Francisco Sanchez, and analyzes two of his works, Carmen de cometa anni M.D.LXXVII, and Quod nihil scitur. The latter was instrumental in the rediscovery of critical thinking, and was well known and highly appreciated, or defamed, in its time. It is the work that placed Sanchez in the history of Western thought.

  • Writing the Visual in Baroni: un viaje and Other Recent Works by Sergio Chejfec

    Author:
    Margaret Carson
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Magdalena Perkowska
    Abstract:

    This dissertation has three parts. First, I explore the ways in which word intersects with image in several recent texts by the contemporary Argentine writer Sergio Chejfec, whose oeuvre is replete with verbal descriptions of visual artifacts. Second, as a complement to the critical essay, I present my English translation of Chejfec's Baroni: un viaje (2007), a novel featuring the Venezuelan artist Rafaela Baroni, whose extraordinary wood carvings of Virgins, saints and other figures are described in key passages. Third, as a bridge between these two parts, I reflect on the related critical discourses of ekphrasis and translation and on the task of translating Baroni: un viaje. Chejfec's engagement with the visual as both an essayist and novelist has received little critical attention to date. In the first part of my study, I consider recent essays and blog postings in which he discusses the problematics of the word-image encounter, both in his own work and in that of others. I contend that Chejfec's privileging of the word and of the artifice of writing affirms W.J.T. Mitchell's concept of ekphrastic hope. By examining ekphrastic passages in Baroni: un viaje, I study the effects of the ekphrastic encounter in the novel and move beyond the notion that ekphrasis represents a spatial fix or halt in the narrative. In the second part, I offer my English translation of Baroni: un viaje. In the third part, I discuss the affinities between the critical discourses surrounding ekphrasis and translation. I conclude with a Translator's Note that posits that the cleft that splits one of Baroni's wooden carvings, described at the novel's outset, can be understood as a powerful trope for the gap separating word from image, and the original Spanish of the novel from my English translation. I argue that although translation implies rupture, one hopes for engagement with the other in the space such a translation opens.

  • Colonizando lenguas: misiones y la política del español en Guinea Ecuatorial

    Author:
    Susana Castillo-Rodriguez
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    José del Valle
    Abstract:

    The colonization of Equatorial Guinea wasn't merely a matter of physical domination; it was a question of contested linguistic imperialism. Baptists, later banished, made inroads in the 1800's, but English only survives now in the creole pichi. Meanwhile, the history of Equatorial Guinea is written in Spanish. Spanish agents first infiltrated vernacular languages through missionary grammars, effectively impeding the spread of English, then prohibited vernacular languages in the Francoist regime. Framed in Afro-Hispanic Colonial Linguistics I propose a new turn in transatlantic studies as a paradigm for the triangular relations of Afro-Ibero-Americans. My dissertation analyzes the language ideologies embedded in critical language-policy (Tollefson 1991) carried out during the Spanish colonization of the territories of present-day Equatorial Guinea (1778-1968). Methodologically I have obtained historical data from archives and libraries located in Madrid, Equatorial Guinea and the USA. I have also compiled all missionary linguistic production from 1841 to 1968. The two primary social agents to develop language policies in Equatorial Guinea since 1845 were the Catholic missions and the Francoist regime. Early missionaries, whose zeal was driven by the evangelization of the natives, waged a war for linguistic domination upon a battlefield shaped by British control of the colony. I argue that the linguistic imperialism (Phillipson 1992) in this phase was played out through language shift (English) and the instrumental use of vernacular languages as a means of communication with the natives. While missionaries strategically wrote grammars in the vernacular languages, parasitically forging connections with Spanish, their hidden agenda was to override the Baptist influence in the colony. The Francoist regime strengthened language policy and prohibited vernacular languages. It invoked la hispanidad, an ideology distinct from españolidad in that el idioma patrio was conceived anew at the center of a unified map of resignification of the Hispanic World in the wake of the lost colonies and the Civil War. I then engage in critical discourse analysis to deconstruct the ideologemes of la españolidad and la hispanidad embedded in the missionary journal La Guinea Española (1903-1968), and the official newspaper, Ébano (1939-1968), respectively.