Alumni Dissertations and Theses

 
 

Alumni Dissertations and Theses

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  • TRAUMA, MEMORIA Y CUERPO: NARRATIVAS TESTIMONIALES DE MUJERES COLOMBIANAS (1985-2000)

    Author:
    Constanza López
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Magdalena Perkowska
    Abstract:

    In the midst of the seemingly endless conflict affecting Colombia, women have had to endure great losses. About half of all the displaced people in the country are women; their bodies have been considered as spoils of war, many have been detained illegally, tortured and killed, and some have simply disappeared. They have also suffered the deaths, kidnappings and disappearances of their husbands, children and other loved ones. In response, many have taken the lead in denouncing impunity and claiming reparation, they have filled the streets demanding protection from the state, and they have formed organizations for peace and justice. A few have written their personal memories, and by doing so, they have made visible the pain and wounds of the nation. This dissertation explores a testimonial narrative that has emerged out of this conflict. It specifically deals with the decades of the eighties and nineties when the Movimiento 19 de Abril (M-19) was active in the country. My work studies four testimonial texts –Razones de vida (2000) by Vera Grabe, Escrito para no morir: bitácora de una militancia (2000) by María Eugenia Vásquez, Cita en el Café La Bolsa (1998) by Mary Daza Orozco and Noches de humo: cómo se planeó y ejecutó la toma del Palacio de Justicia (1988) by Olga Behar – and examines how these authors challenge the official versions of violence in Colombia. Refusing to obliterate history, they opt instead to re-write and destabilize it, by questioning the dominant political and historical discourses. I approach these narratives with the aid of theories of memory, trauma, violence and gender and recent feminist scholarship on autobiography and testimonio. In my analysis, I argue that these texts join a wide range of female narratives from Latin America and around the world that challenge totalizing discourses. They are exemplary for vividly illustrating the trials that women undergo in situations of conflict and war, including those who have themselves been combatants. They are also accounts of women who ultimately chose peace over war, and an exploration of the implications this choice has had for themselves and for the future of the nation.

  • Europa, Africa y Norteamérica: Sarmiento y el viaje intelectual

    Author:
    Susana Maiztegui
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Juan Carlos Mercado
    Abstract:

    This dissertation will explore the ideological circumstances of the Argentinian thinker, politician and author Domingo F. Sarmiento, (1811-1888), his intellectual coming of age, his development as a public and political figure and his ever clear definition of nation, present in his abundant production -letters, essays, legislation. The main thesis will revolve around his proposal for the economic organization and development -and its inevitable echo on the socio-economic and cultural angles- of a country emerging from fifty years of civil wars and political strife, social unrest and tyranny. From his extensive travels through Europe, Africa and the United States, both as a private citizen and as an emissary of the Chilean and Argentinian governments, Sarmiento envisioned the sole remedy for Argentina's take off and entry into the new century: a serious course to industrialization. This conviction led to his vigorous support to develop crucial infrastructure for the young country, such as the network of railroads, the dredging and building of new port facilities for Buenos Aires, all these public works which took the country to the forefront in the export of agricultural commodities. The fact that such ambitious enterprises required large amounts of capital and labor was not an obstacle for him. Loans from international, mostly British, banks were never a problem for a country blessed with natural resources; however, the empty, undeveloped Pampas lacked the amount of labor necessary for the endeavors of this high value-added nature, which demanded the commitment of qualified hard work. Sarmiento bases his call, first, for selective immigration on the need to attract workers for the new industries and, second, on the imperative to occupy the new territories seized from the native tribes in the Pampas.

  • PRÁCTICAS Y REPRESENTACIONES DEL IMPERIO. GUERRA, IMPRENTA Y ESPACIO SOCIAL EN LA ÉPICA HISPÁNICA DEL QUINIENTOS

    Author:
    Miguel Martinez
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Isaías Lerner
    Abstract:

    The present study offers an analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of an often neglected corpus of Spanish epic poems published in the second half of the sixteenth century. In contrast with the fictional nature of the previous traditions of both Italian and Spanish heroic writing, poems such as Jerónimo Sempere's Carolea (1560), Baltasar del Hierro's Destruyción de África (1560) and Victoriosos hechos de Don Áluaro de Baçán (1561), Jerónimo Jiménez de Urrea's Vitorioso Carlos V (ca. 1569), and Alonso de Ercilla's La Araucana (1569) claimed to offer eyewitness accounts of the multiple contemporary wars of the Habsburgs' empire in which the authors themselves participated as soldiers. It is argued that the success of this new epic discourse is directly linked to the social and cultural practices of a specific socio-professional group that emerged after the Renaissance military revolution: the popular soldiery of the Habsburg imperial armies. The soldados pláticos, as they called themselves [`professional, experienced soldiers'], developed a specialized discourse on warfare that entailed an affirmation of their public relevance as the backbone of the Monarchy of Spain against the social and political ascendancy of the high nobility that in the course of the sixteenth century had for the most part abandoned its traditional military role. The poetics of the new epic opposed the chivalric representations of romanzi and libros de caballería that, though they no longer resembled the practices of actual warfare, continued to legitimate the social preeminence of the Spanish and European aristocracy. The global circulation of soldierly epic prints contributed to the consolidation of a complex military sociability organized around the institutions and practices of Renaissance war. These were, however, extremely heterogeneous, mobile, and unstable spaces that favored prolonged cultural contact and the development of unexpected solidarities. Thus the epic discourse produced, distributed, and consumed in the spaces of war by the imperial popular soldiery helped to create a sense of corporate identity that not always coalesced with the broader national and imperial allegiances expected from them, and in some cases their practices and discourses showed the fragility of the elites' grand representations of empire.

  • PRÁCTICAS Y REPRESENTACIONES DEL IMPERIO. GUERRA, IMPRENTA Y ESPACIO SOCIAL EN LA ÉPICA HISPÁNICA DEL QUINIENTOS

    Author:
    Miguel Martinez
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Isaías Lerner
    Abstract:

    The present study offers an analysis of the production, distribution, and consumption of an often neglected corpus of Spanish epic poems published in the second half of the sixteenth century. In contrast with the fictional nature of the previous traditions of both Italian and Spanish heroic writing, poems such as Jerónimo Sempere's Carolea (1560), Baltasar del Hierro's Destruyción de África (1560) and Victoriosos hechos de Don Áluaro de Baçán (1561), Jerónimo Jiménez de Urrea's Vitorioso Carlos V (ca. 1569), and Alonso de Ercilla's La Araucana (1569) claimed to offer eyewitness accounts of the multiple contemporary wars of the Habsburgs' empire in which the authors themselves participated as soldiers. It is argued that the success of this new epic discourse is directly linked to the social and cultural practices of a specific socio-professional group that emerged after the Renaissance military revolution: the popular soldiery of the Habsburg imperial armies. The soldados pláticos, as they called themselves [`professional, experienced soldiers'], developed a specialized discourse on warfare that entailed an affirmation of their public relevance as the backbone of the Monarchy of Spain against the social and political ascendancy of the high nobility that in the course of the sixteenth century had for the most part abandoned its traditional military role. The poetics of the new epic opposed the chivalric representations of romanzi and libros de caballería that, though they no longer resembled the practices of actual warfare, continued to legitimate the social preeminence of the Spanish and European aristocracy. The global circulation of soldierly epic prints contributed to the consolidation of a complex military sociability organized around the institutions and practices of Renaissance war. These were, however, extremely heterogeneous, mobile, and unstable spaces that favored prolonged cultural contact and the development of unexpected solidarities. Thus the epic discourse produced, distributed, and consumed in the spaces of war by the imperial popular soldiery helped to create a sense of corporate identity that not always coalesced with the broader national and imperial allegiances expected from them, and in some cases their practices and discourses showed the fragility of the elites' grand representations of empire.

  • Edición, estudio y notas de Piratas y contrabandistas de ambas Indias, y estado presente de ellas (1693) de Francisco de Seyxas y Lovera

    Author:
    Clayton McCarl
    Year of Dissertation:
    2010
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Isaías Lerner
    Abstract:

    Piratas y contrabandistas de ambas Indias, y estado presente de ellas (1693) by Francisco de Seyxas y Lovera (c.1646-c.1705) is a singular document, both among Hispanic and Northern European letters of the era. Fusing historiographical, political and autobiographical discourse, the text traces the audacious exploits of foreigners throughout Spain's overseas empire. Seyxas spent several decades at sea as a merchant and privateer, and, in writing Piratas y contrabandistas, draws upon these experiences, as well as upon numerous foreign books discovered during his travels. He completed his treatise in New Spain, where he had arrived shortly before to assume the post of alcalde mayor of Tacuba. Seyxas was to experience little success in the New World, however, falling out almost immediately with the viceroy, the Conde de Galve, and consequently spending most of his official tenure in prison. Piratas y contrabandistas was never published, likely remaining behind when the author finally fled New Spain, and has remained unknown to scholars for over 300 years. This edition is based upon a manuscript copy discovered in 2007. The project seeks to transmit this unique text, situating it within the history of piracy and Iberian imperial decline, examining the author's use of Spanish, French, Dutch and English written sources, and analyzing the intersections between Piratas y contrabandistas and Seyxas' other printed and manuscript books. This edition also attempts to clarify various aspects of the author's complex biography, drawing upon previously unexamined archival materials, and incorporates a series of map images from Taboas geraes de toda a navegaçaõ (1630) by João Teixeira Albernaz, an atlas once in the author's possession and which bears a close relationship to Piratas y contrabandistas.

  • The Paradoxes of (Anti-)Imperialism: Reason, Religion, and Resistance in the Latin American 'Arielista' Essay, 1898-1921

    Author:
    Shawn McDaniel
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Oscar Montero
    Abstract:

    This project analizes the concept of arielismo in the Latin American essay during the first two decades of the twentieth century. The principle argument of this study is that arielismo, far from a coherent, literary movement, is in reality rife with ambiguities, contradictions, and constant semantic shifts. Therefore, my analysis highlights the origin of the term, its ubiquity, as well as its limitations by focusing on the personal, sociopolitical, historical, and geopolitical contexts that inform the important but imprecise journey of arielismo in Latin American cultural history. Arielismo appears to be a fluid concept loosely based on José Enrique Rodó's essay, Ariel (1900). Most of this investigation is dedicated to the study of a series of essays and essayists that critics tend to call 'arielistas', a tendency I interrogate by underscoring the different ways in which the so-called 'arielistas' from various Latin American countries such as Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay, subvert or diverge from the fundamental precepts of Ariel. Specifically, I study the ways in which a variegated group of Latin American intellectuals, from the right and left, diplomats and anarchists, negotiate the discrepancies between reason and spiritualism, between elitism and democratic participation, between critical autonomy and religious hegemony, and between idealism and pessimism, in their respective projects, which were written in an time of frequent U.S. interventions in Latin America and the Caribbean. My readings of arielismo reveal that a Latin American anti-imperialist subjectivity, far from uniform, is marked by numerous paradoxes. As I will underscore throughout this investigation, those paradoxes reveal arielismo to be a terrain in which complex and contradictory negotiations aimed at assimilating intellectual and personal resistance and emancipation with traditional sociocultural structures. This is a dichotomy that people around the world continue navigating. Therefore, in a broader context this study examines the tensions between reason and religious faith (or between positivism and metaphysics) in various emancipatory projects and, at the same time, between the politics of agency and dependency in globalizing processes during the last century.

  • Between Montaigne and Goethe: The Birth of Modern Individuality in the Autobiographical Work of Diego de Torres VIllarroel

    Author:
    Jay Mitsche-Sepulveda
    Year of Dissertation:
    2009
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Jose Munoz-Millanes
    Abstract:

    This dissertation is a study on the overwhelmingly autobiographical work of Diego de Torres Villarroel (1694-1770), and has as its main objective to demonstrate that contrary to the time-honored and almost universally held belief, the history of modern autobiography has its origin in Vida, his autobiography, and not in Les Confessions, the autobiography of Jan-Jacques Rousseau. Herein is shown the unprecedented break that Vida brings about respective to the traditional confessional mode of autobiography, as bequeathed by Saint Augustine, a canonical mode that Rousseau, despite his claims to the contrary, continues and reinvigorates, and how that is carried out. At the same time, since this main thesis is posited on the ground that to break with this canonical tradition presupposes assuming a worldview that makes individual self-determination, autonomy and freedom central to it, by implication, herein Vida is proposed as one of the literary birthplace of the historical Enlightenment in Europe, and as the most original contribution of Spain to this movement. Taking into account that in dealing with the problematic he is confronted by in his resolve to render a truthful story of his selfhood Torres takes as his departing point the question of the phenomenology of his Being as a manifestation of the ontology of Existence, this study moves forward through a consistent discussion of the question of the concept of the Self, to probe into the fundamental way in which he faces, and solves, some of the most incandescent problems of self-representational discourse.

  • El género de la guía en María Zambrano

    Author:
    Pablo Moraga
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    José Muñoz Millanes
    Abstract:

    In this dissertation, we will study the spiritual guide based mostly on the writings of Maria Zambrano which see the guide as an experiential genre that serves as a bridge between philosophy and life. Through her examples, we will look at the guide as a historic genre which corresponds to the Spain's humanism to which Zambrano felt particularly attracted due to her interest in the ethical, religious and moral values conforming to the classical teachings. The fictional writings that Zambrano uses as examples of guides, find their justification in the genre due to their capacity to offer an allegorical reading. Finally, we will see how the genre has changed in modern times under two completely different modalities: One represented by the writings of Zambrano, like Claros del Bosque and De la Aurora; and the other by self-help books.

  • Novela y Violencia en Colombia: Narcotráfico y sicariato

    Author:
    Oscar Osorio
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Araceli Tinajero
    Abstract:

    In this dissertation I will analyze twenty four novels which inquire into the topics of drug trafficking and contract killings in Colombia. I will enter these novels into the widest sphere of the narrative of Colombian violence; I will discuss the denomination "sicaresca" and the approach of literary analysis to this narrative. I will also propose a definition of said literature according to the connections with socio-historical referents that their works of fiction deal with. This is necessary because some of the critical approaches to this corpus carry an inheritance of prejudices that mar these analyses. I approach this narrative through the individual analysis of each of these novels and the cross-analyses of groups of novels according to the emphasis on the topics of drug trafficking and contract killing. I find that although these corpuses (drug trafficking novels and contract killing novels) have connections most of the times, they maintain substantial differences in their understanding of the phenomena of drug trafficking and contract killings, the city-violence relationship and the configuration of delinquents and their social impact. It is necessary to take into account that the social perception of the phenomenon of drug trafficking is determined by cultural, historical and regional conditions that determine the construction of literary fictions and the perception of the world that these entail. For this, I propose a literary cartography that examines the sociocultural influences and determinations in the construction of the world that these novels perform in five regions: the Atlantic coast, Valle del Cauca, Antioquia, Eje Cafetero and Bogotá. In regard to the contract killer novels, I inquire into the construction of the figure of the assassin, the city-violence relation, the phenomena of drug trafficking and contract killings, and the implications of the narrative in the reading matter of the reality that these works of fiction put forward. Finally, I perform a reading of the novel La Virgen de los Sicarios in which I present the existence of a criminal thinking of the narrator that determines the evaluation of the world that the text proposes. At the end of this chapter, I examine the cinematographic adaptation of this novel and the deep transformations that are entailed in the construction of the learned narrator and his perception of reality.

  • Revisión y transgresión del canon literario puertorriqueño: La obra de Manuel Ramos Otero

    Author:
    Marta Perez
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Elena Martínez
    Abstract:

    Abstract Revisión y transgresión del canon literario puertorriqueño: La obra de Manuel Ramos Otero by Marta Isabel Pérez Adviser: Professor Elena M. Martínez This dissertation examines how the work of the late Puerto Rican writer Manuel Ramos Otero (1942-1990), questions and confronts the literary canon of Puerto Rico. In this dissertation, I study Ramos Otero's writing strategies and transgressive themes that function to revise and challenge traditional and fixed ideas. These anti-canonical themes are expressed by including the experiences of a variety of subjects who live in the margins of society. These abject subjects are often homosexuals. The first chapter discusses the writing strategies that Ramos Otero uses in order to confront and question the Puerto Rican literary canon. Some of these methods include metafiction, which creates a narrative that is self-reflective of the act of writing itself, the use of a non-traditional syntax and the hybridization of genres. In the second chapter, I study the development of a collective voice, which begins from a place of isolation and loneliness, often experienced by emigrants. Additionally, I study the idea of nation in concert with some of the ideas posited by Homi Bhabha. The third chapter is an analysis of Manuel Ramos Otero's two poetry collections titled, El libro de la muerte and Invitación al polvo. In this chapter, I concentrate on the theme of death and its relevance to the time period in which the author composes the poems. In particular, in the second collection titled Invitación al polvo, the biographical component serves to develop a sense of criticism of a society who rejected those suffering from AIDS. The influence of Manuel Ramos Otero is manifold. Some of the themes he developed include: the humanization of the abject subject and the denunciation of the indifference of society towards the AIDS epidemic. All of these strategies have served as a bridge between the preceding and younger generations of writers in Puerto Rico.