Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Hispanic Literatures & Linguistics

First Advisor

Luis A. Marentes

Second Advisor

Ilán Stavans

Third Advisor

Barbara Zecchi

Subject Categories



This dissertation is a cultural analysis of Piolín por la Mañana, a Spanish-language radio talk show conducted by Eduardo Piolín Sotelo and broadcast from Los Angeles. The program expands the boundaries of the performing arts as well as the reach and elasticity of literary tropes and study. It connects often geographically disparate ―imagined communities‖ of working class Latino/as by revisiting traditional Mexican theater, joke delivery style, literary genre (e.g., magical realism and the picaresque), and taxonomies of everyday personalities. Central to my discussion of Piolín is listener participation, which stages community formation within the radio-text.

The introduction and the first chapter present the trope of the Mojarra, a person that crossed the U.S. border as a mojado/a (an undocumented immigrant), usually swimming or forging a river. Mojarras suffer el Síndrome de la Mojarra, the condition of feeling persecuted, believing that their freedom depends on the ability to evade capture. Mojarra Aesthetics revolves around the representational needs of the persecuted vii immigrant community; this aesthetic is comprised of artistic techniques that use humor and in particular explosive laughter and mitote. The second chapter explores how Piolín is a medium that connects, as well as creates, Latino communities through radio; it maps ―nonce taxonomies‖ of recognizable immigrant personalities. What follows, explores how Piolín encourages new ways of making and analyzing art, including the use of cantinfleadas and albures as central elements of oral folklore, comprising connections to traditional Mexican joke delivery (e.g., colmos, parecidos, que le dijo, telones, and bombas). The program, via this tradition, includes cultural tropes such as the mojarra, tlacuaches, nopales, nacos, nacas, among others. At the center of this dissertation is the carnival and, relatively new on the scene, the radio carnival. The radio program produces a Mojarra Difrasismo, deconstructing entrenched binaries and creating a new reality, forcing new critical thinking about what reality is or could be in relation to the immigrant experience and the immigrant body.


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Linguistics Commons