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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program

Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Jane the Virgin debuted on the CW in 2014 at a time when anti-immigrant, particularly anti-Mexican and anti-Latinx, sentiment in the U.S. felt very prevalent. This TV show was the latest to offer representations of Latin@s at the forefront and advanced a distinct political stance on immigration by calling for #immigrationreform. The series has not only been a ratings hit amongst the Latinx community, but has garnered wide acclaim from other races, ethnicities, and gender identities across the United States. This thesis explores the representation of the character of Alba (Ivonne Coll), through an investigation of the various physical and linguistic spaces which she occupies within the narrative of Jane the Virgin, and investigates how these spaces facilitate character growth, transformation, and a challenge to pre-established notions of Latinidad in U.S. mainstream television. It also questions the genre of Jane the Virgin itself, showing how the show’s unique hybridization of the televenovela genre and the sitcom contribute to its diverse spectatorship, both welcoming the dominant American viewer without alienating the Latinx viewer. Lastly, it brings attention to the usage of social media within the show’s narrative as well as outside of it. Building off of Mark Prenski’s generation of “Digital Natives” (2001), I call for a pedagogical shift and literacy in social media from scholars today to effectively engage and dialogue with what I coin “Social Media Natives.”

In exploring these various facets of representation in Jane the Virgin, I show how the occupation of “safe spaces” and “non-safe spaces” affects development– whether that be of Alba’s character, the dominant American spectator, or the “Social Media Immigrant” scholar. This work is informed by Michel de Certeau’s concept of “space” in The Practice of Everyday Life (1984), and utilizes Moira Kenney’s identification of “safe space” in Mapping Gay L.A., (2015). Intended to contribute to intersectional feminist race studies, this work also uses Judith Butler’s theory of gender performativity to negotiate identity (1990), Kimberlé Crenshaw’s notion of intersectionality (1989), and engages with somatic racialization and shaming proposed by Stephanie Fetta in her recent publication Shaming into Brown (2018).


First Advisor

Barbara Zecchi

Second Advisor

Albert Lloret