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Access Type

Open Access

Document Type


Degree Program

Comparative Literature

Degree Type

Master of Arts (M.A.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Translation, identity, coloniality, borders, language contact, Guillermo Gómez-Peña


This thesis explores the role of translation in the production and manipulation of identities in the contemporary Americas as exemplified in the work of Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Underscoring the instrumentality of borders vis-à-vis dominant constructions of identity and in connection with questions of language, race, and citizenship, I argue that translation not only functions as an agent of hegemonic superiority and oppression, but also as a locus of plurivocity and hybridization. Drawing from the concepts “continuous variation” (Deleuze and Guattari [1987] 2004), “coloniality of power” (Mignolo 2000), and “hybridization” (García-Canclini 1995), I discuss the connection of translation with three main topics: monolingualism, globalization, and racial hybridity. First, I discuss the influence that the dominant ideology of the nation-state has exerted on the way translation has been conceptualized since translation studies emerged as a field. Then I turn to colonial legacies in the Americas and the role of translation in situations of language hegemony as shaped by forces of assimilation and diversification. Finally, I look at translation as a crucial agent for the production and legitimization of Latin American identity throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Viewing translation as a performative and transformative activity, I critique a number of contemporary approaches to translation and I point to new understandings of translation as a cluster concept (Tymoczko 2007) in order to expand translation theory and practice beyond Western paradigms.


First Advisor

Edwin C. Gentzler