Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. William Olsen

Second Advisor

Dr. Nancy Eimers

Third Advisor

Dr. Daneen Wardrop

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Susan K. Freeman


Poetry, Ethnic Studies, Cultural Studies, Gender Studies, English Literature, Women’s Literature


First and foremost, Paris Burn- interrogates language as a rebel heteroglot in its relation to power and to identity, focusing on liminality and marginality. The speakers in these poems constantly (re)enact, generate, disassemble, and revise their lyric selves, either reaffirming or challenging dominant discourses and ideologies. Drag queens figure prominently throughout the manuscript because they are the physical embodiment of constructs that challenge an essential identity—race, ethnicity, sexuality, and gender. The title, an abbreviated form of Paris is Burning, an influential 1980s documentary profiling drag culture in New York City, invokes a physical body that figures in metaphorical relation to identity formation and subjectivity, drawing attention to anxieties concerning how certain bodies are privileged, politicized, silenced, and celebrated. In the manuscript, essentialist perspectives of identity are figuratively on fire, from being Mexican, to being a woman, to being a crime victim, to being legendary. Thematically, issues of heteroglossia inform the work in order to reconcile conflicts with the self, family, community, history, myth, pop culture, hegemony, and, above all, empathy.

Access Setting

Dissertation-Campus Only

Restricted to Campus until