Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Dr. Antonio Isea

Second Advisor

Dr. Irma López

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Millar

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Kristina Wirtz


Latin American, race studies, blacks-Mexico, Afro-Hispanic, nation studies, blacks-Central America


This project proposes a study of works from 20th and 21st Century Latin American Literature and its representation of “lo afro” (blackness). While most studies have focused on the Caribbean, I am interested in working with regions of Latin America that have a history of African heritage that has either been “whitewashed” or erased since the 19th Century creation of independent nations. The major areas studied are based loosely on Quince Duncan’s notion of the Caribe Continental (the continental Caribbean): Central America (Costa Rica and Honduras), Mexico, the Pacific Coast (Ecuador and Peru), and the Southern Cone (Uruguay and Argentina). Most studies to date work within the theoretical framework of “race” and “nation.” This project attempts to work with and then against these problematic notions in the following manner. First, it is important to identify and underscore the existence of an African influence and heritage in the national cultures. Second, most 20th Century works can be seen to “spatialize race and racialize space,” as Juliet Hooker postulates, and the works from this century are studied by looking at how the national symbols and discourse worked to isolate parts of the country and to assign them both a “race” and an extra-national space. Third, looking at works at the end of the 20th Century and from the 21st Century, the focus will turn to how these more contemporary novels are working against (or complementing previous works) the two popular notions of “race” and “nation” and will look at how studies of African heritage and culture in Latin America can move beyond these two categories to get at the cultural contributions of Afro-Latin Americans in regions that are considered predominantly mestizo (mixture of European and Indigenous descent).

Access Setting

Dissertation-Open Access