Alumni Dissertations

 

Alumni Dissertations

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  • Lavanha Historiador e a Cronica Inacabada de D. Sebastiao

    Author:
    Regina Castro McGowan
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Jose Miguel Martinez Torrejon
    Abstract:

    In 1618, during the Iberian Union, João Baptista Lavanha was appointed by Phillip II of Portugal as Royal Chronicler for that kingdom. Along with this prestigious position came the rather uncomfortable task of writing the first official chronicle of King Sebastian, the young monarch whose disastrous invasion of Morocco forty years earlier had cost him his own life, the lives of almost all of the country's nobility and, ultimately, Portugal's independence. Over the course of the next six years (1618-1624), Lavanha diligently collected and transcribed primary sources from the last quarter of the 16th century documenting King Sebastian's controversial life. Some of these transcriptions made by Lavanha are the only known copies of important lost originals. Many of the documents he used were original letters exchanged between the king, his grand-mother Queen Catherine, his great-uncle Cardinal Henry, Pope Pius V, Pope Gregory XIII, his uncle King Phillip II of Spain, and a network of Castilian, Portuguese and Papal ambassadors. He also gathered polemical testimonial accounts by some of the men who survived the battle of Ksar-el-Kebir, where King Sebastian was killed. Along with collecting documents, Lavanha began writing his own narrative, detailing events that led up to the king's demise. His anticipated chronicle, however, was never finished, for reasons still unknown. With Lavanha's death in 1624, the documents he organized into two codices should have been sent to the king for the next chronicler in charge of the writing of King Sebastian's life. Instead, the more valuable of the two codices (for its original letters) ended up in private hands, while the second eventually found its way to the Portuguese monastery of Alcobaça. Both codices are preserved today in the National Library of Portugal, although only the first one bears Lavanha's name. A copy, with variants, of the Alcobaça codex, equally anonymous and of unknown provenience was acquired by the French Royal Library in the 19th century. Unfortunately, without the literary achievement of having completed the first official chronicle of King Sebastian, the memory of Lavanha as a cronista-mor working on such an important project gradually faded. Today, there is very little in the literary historiography of the Peninsula regarding Lavanha's works as a humanist - much less that he worked on a crónica sebástica - whereas his earlier works in nautical engineering continue to generate interest within academia. The documents collected by Lavanha have been studied by many scholars for their individual value. Yet, heretofore there has never been a study relating the three codices and tracing them back to the chronicler. Nor has there been a contextualization of Lavanha's work on King Sebastian, amidst the intellectual and political circumstances that resulted from Spain's control over its neighbor. Along with information on Lavanha's life and work as a privileged courtier in Madrid, this study proposes a philological analysis of his codices and a comparative examination with some of the late 16th and early 17th century writings on King Sebastian's bellicose mindset, Phillip II's maneuvers, and the political annexation of Portugal. It also studies the inclusion of elements from these codices in the works of Portuguese authors writing in the mid-18th century. Finally, this study includes an analysis of the pertinent affairs of the day, as documented by Lavanha in his codices.

  • Hacia un nuevo imaginario nacional: narradoras cubanas de los noventas

    Author:
    Mabel Cuesta
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Elena Martínez
    Abstract:

    As opposed to other Latin-American literatures, Cuban literature in the seventies and eighties of the last century was not characterized by the development of narrative written by women. This could seem a contradiction given the emphasis that the project known as the "Cuban Revolution" placed on restituting misappropriated values put on women by a pseudo-republican Cuba for the services of foreign interests. For the new female "partner" in the interior of the emerging revolutionary discourse, her image would not be identified with that of the prostitutes, housewives or illiterate mothers that the governing powers in previous times wanted to impose as the only image, however she would be identified with that of active subjects -physically and intellectually- in the construction of said project. The present dissertation has as its foundation the necessity of a study that shows that the production of the selected writers (born in between 1959 and 1975) whose work begins to be written and published during the 1990's, undertakes the labor of re-writing the national imaginary. Through these authors and the selected works, we can progressively identify the national displacements -invisible to the mediums of diffusion and the propagandist apparatus of power in the last years. I will focus on the study of the manner in which the representation of the female characters is articulated by the selected authors.

  • Pensamiento politico y heterodoxia literaria en Francisco Umbral, cronista de la Transicion

    Author:
    Noelia Dominguez-Ramos
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    William Sherzer
    Abstract:

    The objective of this research is the study of the journalistic/literary texts of the Spanish writer Francisco Umbral within the political context of the Spanish transition to democracy, focusing mainly on two aspects. In the first approach, we examine the causes that brought about the marginalization of Umbral's work from the contemporary literary canon, which have been divided into two, with regard to both formal and extraliterary factors. In the case of the first, we find the difficulty in cataloguing Umbral´s novels because of their continued use of gender heterodoxy. Besides that, his linking of a prosaic quality and a composite construction of a journalistic column has tended to obscure the verbal beauty of his poetic prose and the originality that is brought about by the simultaneity of a literary creation that is directed toward the sociopolitical events of a changing Spain. On the other hand, the extraliterary factors are related to a public image of a polemical and bad-tempered writer in constant confrontation with academia, in addition to the proliferation of his literary production and his manifest interest in benefiting from his work as a writer. Secondly, this study constitutes an attempt to trace the map of Francisco Umbral's political thought with respect to the institutional changes that came about following the death of Francisco Franco, with the objective of understanding the relevance the author had as a "generator of opinion" with his daily columns. This study illustrates the fact that from Umbral's work is born a firm opposition to those who had the intention of convincing the population that the schizophrenia suffered after four decades of cultural isolation and political repression had been overcome with the arrival of democracy. As a consequence, Umbral expressed an exacerbated skepticism with regard to the supposed political and social modernization with which Spain presented itself to the international scene, based primarily on the urgency with which the institutional changes were developed, the country's consistent incapacity to overcome its history, and the continuous recourse to a feeling of victimization, self-compassion, and an inferiority complex when faced with a more "westernized" and democratic Europe.

  • Pensamiento politico y heterodoxia literaria en Francisco Umbral, cronista de la Transicion

    Author:
    Noelia Dominguez-Ramos
    Year of Dissertation:
    2011
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    William Sherzer
    Abstract:

    The objective of this research is the study of the journalistic/literary texts of the Spanish writer Francisco Umbral within the political context of the Spanish transition to democracy, focusing mainly on two aspects. In the first approach, we examine the causes that brought about the marginalization of Umbral's work from the contemporary literary canon, which have been divided into two, with regard to both formal and extraliterary factors. In the case of the first, we find the difficulty in cataloguing Umbral´s novels because of their continued use of gender heterodoxy. Besides that, his linking of a prosaic quality and a composite construction of a journalistic column has tended to obscure the verbal beauty of his poetic prose and the originality that is brought about by the simultaneity of a literary creation that is directed toward the sociopolitical events of a changing Spain. On the other hand, the extraliterary factors are related to a public image of a polemical and bad-tempered writer in constant confrontation with academia, in addition to the proliferation of his literary production and his manifest interest in benefiting from his work as a writer. Secondly, this study constitutes an attempt to trace the map of Francisco Umbral's political thought with respect to the institutional changes that came about following the death of Francisco Franco, with the objective of understanding the relevance the author had as a "generator of opinion" with his daily columns. This study illustrates the fact that from Umbral's work is born a firm opposition to those who had the intention of convincing the population that the schizophrenia suffered after four decades of cultural isolation and political repression had been overcome with the arrival of democracy. As a consequence, Umbral expressed an exacerbated skepticism with regard to the supposed political and social modernization with which Spain presented itself to the international scene, based primarily on the urgency with which the institutional changes were developed, the country's consistent incapacity to overcome its history, and the continuous recourse to a feeling of victimization, self-compassion, and an inferiority complex when faced with a more "westernized" and democratic Europe.

  • De la iglesia carismatica a la iglesia institucional: El mundo cultural del Libro de buen amor

    Author:
    John- Estrada
    Year of Dissertation:
    2013
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Ottavio Dicamillo
    Abstract:

    No.

  • El oficio de la escritura y la estética en la obra de Roberto Bolaño

    Author:
    Ainoa Inigo
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Araceli Tinajero
    Abstract:

    This dissertation aims at attaining a general understanding of the aesthetics and philosophy on the practice of writing of Roberto Bolaño (1953-2003), the Chilean poet and writer, through interpretive devices developed by him and by extrinsic means. Bolaño claimed that his works stemmed from a pre-extant poetic universe, so that each work is interrelated thematically with the rest of the oeuvre and individually representative of the totality. Throughout the works analyzed, our two primary questions--the aesthetical and ethical--intercept while we examine his understanding of the role of the writer and literature itself. Estrella distante (1996), Los detectives salvajes (1998) and 2666 (2004) present a world of conflict where literature acts as both a means of resistance and sensual stimulus, as well as control and intellectual numbing: the canon, official literature, publishing businesses, &c. Given the differences in form and content between these pieces, each one has required a unique theoretical approach. Estrella distante has been analyzed against hitlerian aesthetics and the theory of the grotesque developed by Mikhail Bakhtin. Los detectives salvajes was treated as the central self-critique leveled by Bolaño on vanguardist movements in general but most importantly his own infrarealismo, where a complex combination of praise and criticism comes through. 2666 has been interpreted through the theory of transmodernity developed by Rosa María Rodriguez Magda, and various approaches to cultural and economic globalization. All pieces have been analyzed and contrasted in the last chapter through their metafictional content, bringing to light the ways in which this philosophical totality makes works converge and diverge in form, while preserving the principal concerns of the writer: for the pieces as products and for literature as a whole.

  • THE TRANSNATIONAL LATIN AMERICAN REGIONALISM OF MARIO VARGAS LLOSA AND MILTON HATOUM

    Author:
    Michele Kettner
    Year of Dissertation:
    2014
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    Juan Mercado
    Abstract:

    The present dissertation analyzes the novels The Green House (1966) and The Storyteller (1987), by Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa, and Two Brothers (2000), by Brazilian novelist Milton Hatoum and reinterpret literary regionalism in the Amazon region. I claim that the new variety of regionalist literature represented by both authors challenges hegemonic national representations of Peru and Brazil and conceptualizes Amazonian ecology in the context of global capitalism. In the first chapter, I evaluate the critical apparatus of the older tradition of Latin American regionalism proposing the concept of the "region" as an "invention" (Albuquerque Jr.). My reading reveals how the institutionalized invention of the region as a homogenous community was produced through the erasure of discursive diversity in literature and fostered by the press and the state. In the second chapter, I analyze these images and literary representations of the Amazon region and how Vargas Llosa and Hatoum break from this old tradition by emphasizing hybridity in Latin American society and the relationship between the indigenous groups, past colonizers and new immigrants. In the third chapter, I examine how the choice of setting the stories in the post-rubber era of the Amazon allowed both authors to portray the urban Amazonian areas as colonial ruins destroyed by the forces of capitalism. The authors used the post-rubber era as a springboard to establish a discussion about the role of immigration in the global economy as well as the economics of power in the globally marginal Latin American countries. This new variety of regionalism represented by both authors refuses the hegemonic national representation of Peru and Brazil and conceptualizes the ecological environment within a globalized capitalist world. In their works, Mario Vargas Llosa and Milton Hatoum reveal their theories on hybridity in Latin American society and its relationship between the indigenous groups, past colonizers and new immigrants.

  • ANTONIO MACHADO AND HIS SOCIO-HUMAN EPISTEMOLOGY IN JUAN DE MAIRENA

    Author:
    Hyon Kim
    Year of Dissertation:
    2012
    Program:
    Hispanic & Luso Brazilian Literatures & Languages
    Advisor:
    William Sherzer
    Abstract:

    The emergence of modernization at the end of the nineteenth century and the early twentieth century in the form of integration of technology into our every day lives brought a profound change in every aspect of human experience and reality. While Heidegger saw as a consequence of that "the objectivization (Verge-genständlichung) of our ordinary lived experience" as expounded in Sein und Zeit, Antonio Machado through Juan de Mairena finds the root of scientific modernity in materialism (Five Portraits 70). This is not just materialism in the economic sense of quantifying values and services but scientific in the sense that it converts minerals, nature and even living organisms into mathematical and scientific data. Juan de Mairena considers Descartes the initiator of this approach in modernity, which in a way had its influence from the pre-Socratics: Democritus of Abdera in association with the Milesian School and Ionian School. Juan de Mairena's main concern about modernization was the effects technological society would bring to human affairs and the human value system. To understand Juan de Mairena's concern about the human's place in modernization, I analyze in chapter one passages in Juan de Mairena in relation to various literary and philosophical works such as Kafka's The Castle, Sartre's Nausea, Heidegger's concept of `Dasein,' Gadamer's analysis of `Erlebnis' and other related concepts and compositions (all of which deal with the topic of humans coping in a systematized life under modern administration). In chapter two, I distinguish, through the textual analysis of Juan de Mairena, the difference between the way objects and humans are in phenomena, and explain the reason why Juan de Mairena thinks that the Cartesian scientific method is inappropriate for learning about human beings. Following that, I expose the tenets of Cartesian scientific modernity and finish the chapter with a preliminary description of what is entailed by "socio-human epistemology" In chapter three, I trace the historical roots of Cartesian scientific modernity and explain briefly the transition between its theoretical conceptions and its materialization in phenomena through applied science and engineering. In addition, I convey the meaning of `socio-human epistemology' within Juan de Mairena's conception of human experience and reality.

  • El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo de José María Arguedas. Edición, anotación y estudio preliminar

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

    El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo de José María Arguedas. Edición, anotación y estudio preliminar. This research consists in developing an annotation of the novel El zorro de arriba y el zorro de abajo by Peruvian writer José María Arguedas. J. M. Arguedas wrote this novel in Spanish, but thinking of the Quechua language, myths and indigenous oral tradition that have survived throughout the centuries. Arguedas is permanently struggling with both languages. He wants not only to communicate through the Spanish language, but also to convey the fusion of both cultural universes. This research consists of a detailed explanation of Spanish words and phrases influenced by Quechua language that could be misinterpreted in the novel. The first edition of El zorro... appears in January, 1971, in Buenos Aires by Losada Editores. In 1983, in Lima, Horizonte Editores publishes the complete fictional works of José María Arguedas under the supervision of Sybila Arredondo. This edition includes El zorro... in Volume V, and takes Losada's edition as reference, but Arredondo, the overseer, uses fragments of articles and magazines published before 1971. She also uses original copies of texts. The research and studies pertaining to El zorro..., have omitted the perspective we will introduce. In other words, there are no works that include aspects of the syntactical, lexical and mythological, as well as a complete study. The existing works did not offer a study of these issues, thereby, diminishing the richness of the novel. It is my purpose to facilitate the reading of the text which can be obscure and confusing to any reader not familiar with the Quechua language and its culture by explaining the points I mentioned above. I will attempt to facilitate the reading by introducing explanatory and necessary notes which can provide a reliable source for students and researchers. I am using the edition supervised by Sybila Arredondo, 5 vols., Lima: Horizonte Editores, 1983 as a reference.

  • 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.