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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Luis A. Marentes

Subject Categories

Ethnic Studies | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Latina/o Studies | Modern Literature | Other Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature | Women's Studies


"Crisis y Paradojas" examines the construction of modern Hispanic femininity in self-help literature aimed at U.S. Latinx women. The work is divided into three thematic sections and begins with an analysis of two texts belonging to this ethnic niche: The Maria Paradox: How Latinas Can Merge Old World Traditions With New World Self-Esteem by Rosa María Gil and Carmen Inoa; and The Latina’s Bible by Sandra Guzmán. The first part explores the origins of the new Latinx woman of the 1990s and 2000s within contemporary Latinx literature and introduces the main characteristics of Latinx women's self-help literature. The second section delves into one of the central ideas from which these two manuals stem: the belief that Hispanic women are in a cultural crisis that hinders their progress in the American context. In this case, "3. The Crisis of the Latina: Origin and Main Causes" analyzes the foundations and consequences of this crisis, while "4. Epistemological Myopia in the Era of Self-Help" offers a critical perspective on the individualistic gendered psychology employed by the texts and the different ideological influences that shape their theorizations. The third part examines the proposed solutions to overcome the presumed ethno-cultural crisis of Latinas. Specifically, it focuses on the process of strategic acculturation promoted by the texts and the modern female ideal they advocate through two forms of female subjectivity: “la nueva marianista” and “la nueva Latina”. On one hand, "5. Strategic Acculturation I: From Relational Collectivism to Liberal Individualism" reflects on the concept of acculturation and one of the most relevant changes involved in this tactical transcultural process: individualization. On the other hand, "6. Acculturation II: New Femininities" investigates what the modernization of the Latinx woman consists of according to these guides and what discourses, trends, and gender postulates construct that modernity. Finally, "7. Acculturation III: Adaptations and Latinities" addresses how the process of strategic acculturation prescribed by the texts affects the construction and representation of the Latinx identity.

Key words: acculturation, self-help, crisis, femininity, Hispanics, identity, individualism, Latinidad, literature, U.S. Latinas.


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.