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Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

English

Year Degree Awarded

2018

Month Degree Awarded

May

First Advisor

Mari Castañeda

Second Advisor

Jenny Spencer

Third Advisor

Agustín Laó-Montes

Fourth Advisor

Rachel Mordecai

Subject Categories

American Literature | American Studies | Caribbean Languages and Societies | English Language and Literature | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Latin American Languages and Societies | Latin American Literature | Latina/o Studies | Literature in English, North America | Race, Ethnicity and Post-Colonial Studies | Reading and Language | Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature | Theatre and Performance Studies | Translation Studies | Women's Studies

Abstract

We can learn and gain a lot by putting Dominican women writers at the center of our attention. Yet they rarely have that place. This dissertation looks at Dominican women authors who have lived and written in the United States —Josefina Báez, Marianela Medrano, Yrene Santos, Aurora Arias, Nelly Rosario, Annecy Báez, Ana Maurine Lara, Raquel Cepeda— and how they fit within the spaces of contemporary American society, and more broadly within world flows of peoples and cultural productions. I draw on the theories and methodologies of Gloria Anzaldúa and her generation of feminists of color, as well as subsequent decolonial, indigenous and Afro-diasporic thinkers, including Marta Moreno-Vega. In heeding María Lugones’ call for playfulness, I play with the very words space and place, while exploring how space and place play out in the works and lives of these writers and how sexism, racism, and colonialism have shaped their lives, their works and the lives of their works —the birth, development and dissemination of their works. I include storytelling about my own Kiskeyana life and try to decolonize the very language of analysis: Latina/o becomes Latinx, Dominican becomes Kiskeyana, America becomes Abya Yala and even space and time become egun. I also play around with Latinx, feminist and indigenous research and writing methodologies like Participatory Action Research and the use of the second person, as when I address you, the reader. These writers offer so much more than any of our contemporary limited critical language and vision can encompass. At the same time, I argue for the application of some language and labels that are not normally applied to Dominican women writers, such as nature writers and mystical writers. I urge you to visit and experience their writings directly and hope that the dissertation achieves that end if nothing else, but I also have in mind the needs of you who will be reading this dissertation, whoever you are, so I hope that the dissertation also serves as a space of reading and learning pleasure for you—and possibly healing.

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