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Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Comparative Literature

First Advisor

David R. Lenson

Second Advisor

Edwin C. Gentzler

Third Advisor

José N. Ornelas

Subject Categories

Comparative Literature | Film and Media Studies | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Studies | Music


This dissertation situates these three modes of artistic expression in a broader interdisciplinary framework to better understand the cultural, socio-political, and historical processes of countercultural formation in Latin America.

In Chapter 1, I define my conceptualization of Latin American counterculture. Here I make the case for including antipoetry, nueva canción and third cinema as part of Latin American counterculture seeking to contest foreing influences and elitist cultural models.

In Chapter 2, I present the theoretical foundations of decolonial aesthetics, which serves as a framework that guides my analysis of key filmmakers, poets, and musicians and their respective representative works of art. Here I argue for the need to rethink aesthetics from a non-Eurocentric and non-elitist position. To conceptualize decolonial aesthetics, I draw on the work of Enrique Dussel, Jacques Ranciére, Aníbal Quijano, Ramón Grosfoguel, and Nelson Maldonado-Torres.

In Chapter 3, Nicanor Parra, Mario Benedetti, Ernesto Cardenal, and Roque Dalton elicit a reevaluation of the shifts in Latin American poetics toward colloquial and accessible poetry intended for non-traditional audiences and underrepresented voices in the historical narratives of the region.

In chapter 4, I study Violeta Parra, Víctor Jara, Mercedes Sosa, and Silvio Rodríguez as salient voices of a committed generation that sought radical societal changes, but whose music continues to have an appeal with newer social struggles.

In chapter 5, select films by Fernando Solanas Tomás Gutiérrez Alea, Humberto Solás, and Raymundo Gleyzer are essential in my study of nationalist and regional preoccupations with developing new cinematic languages and depicting histories of colonialism, racialization, failed revolutions, oppression of women, and the tensions among the bourgeoisie and various labor movements.

Throughout this dissertation, I stress the importance of cross-genre and pan-Latin American readings as a way to reinterpret Latin America's cultural canon in the 1960s and 1970s. I propose a reexamination of third cinema, antipoetry, and nueva canción as movements that produced artistic works with imbricated aesthetic and ideological projects (decolonial aesthetics) at a time when pro-independence struggles, liberation projects, and anticolonial sentiments pervaded globally; in turn, the specificities of political, social, and cultural contexts rendered some artistic projects more successful in achieving their respective goals than others.