Off-campus UMass Amherst users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your UMass Amherst user name and password.

Non-UMass Amherst users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Dissertations that have an embargo placed on them will not be available to anyone until the embargo expires.

Date of Award


Access Type

Campus Access

Document type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Comparative Literature

First Advisor

David Lenson

Second Advisor

William Moebius

Third Advisor

Mario Ontiveros

Subject Categories

Chicana/o Studies | Latin American Studies


This dissertation explores the topic of migration focusing on science fiction works created by artists from Mexico, Puerto Rico, and the United States during the latter half of the twentieth century. My analysis investigates the four most common science fiction themes used to represent migration: space exploration, alien invasions, dystopian states, and virtual reality. The dissertation is in part a recovery project, demonstrating the significance (and even existence) of science fiction works created by U.S. Latinas/os. The dissertation is also a work of genre historical analysis, locating these Latina/o and Latin American writers and artists in the history of science fiction. Science fiction emerged in its current form during European colonialism-- its exploration, invasion, and colonization of places already settled. In my dissertation I have found that Mexican, Puerto Rican, and Latina/o writers and artists work against the coloniality of science fiction. I argue in my dissertation that the dominant plot in mainstream science fiction arose out of a particular form of colonial literature, the "going native" narrative in which a colonizer adopts characteristics of or is identified with a colonized people. In science fiction, the "going native" narrative is translated into what I call the "going alien" narrative. One can "go alien" in regard to issues other than colonialism, for example, race, gender, or nationality. In my dissertation I explore how Latina/o and Latin American science fiction writers and artists respond to and work against the "going alien" narrative system that has long been the foundation of mainstream science fiction.