Languages, Literatures, & Cultures Theses and Dissertations

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    (2022) Battauz, Cecilia Edith; Sosnowski, Saúl; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    As a result of Spanish colonization, nation-building in Latin America followed distinctive and diverse processes, and a protracted chronology that spanned an entire century. The new nation-states that emerged from the nineteenth century wars of Independence forged their own symbols, imagery, and foundational narratives to provide a framework to disparate populations. Throughout the continent, literature played a fundamental role in the construction of symbolic narratives, which inexorably intertwined with official national history. In Argentina, one such myth was built around the “gaucho”, the cowboy of the Pampas plains who freely roamed the countryside. Once an actual social type, the “gaucho” disappeared around the end of the 19th Century due to changes introduced by modernization as Argentina transformed and refocused its economy to supply raw materials for European industries. As a literary figure, however, the gaucho survived as the dominant character of poems, novels, and short stories that conform a unique national literary genre: Gauchesca Literature.In my dissertation I study the comics Inodoro Pereyra, el renegau by Roberto Fontanarrosa (1944-2007), which features an atypical gaucho accompanied by his loyal talking dog. I analyze how Fontanarrosa deconstructs the national literary myth of the horse riding “gaucho” unveiling the inherent racism, social injustice, and ideological manipulation it has conveyed for the last two centuries. Fontanarrosa’s creation, which appeared regularly in the Argentine press and in book format for over thirty-four years until the author’s death, not only denounces the unspoken influence this traditional figure has had in shaping Argentine society, but it also highlights the common misrepresentation of indigenous communities and the unfair treatment to which they have been, and continue to be, subjected. Using parody, humor, and caricature, the comics revise national history and canonical literature along with artifacts from contemporary popular culture, such as films and folk songs. In addition, it offers a postmodern approach to the foundational narratives of the nation. My claims are that the comics offer an ex-centric perspective and that its subversive message defies traditional views of identity as fixed forms that could be predetermined. I propose that the narrative genre of comics—still marginalized from the literary canon—constitutes an excellent medium to present an alternative and irreverent approach to the subject, since its literary standing challenges the centrality of the official canon. At the same time, the comics suggest the need to see tradition and identity as concepts under constant change, thus showing a postmodern critique to monolithic grand narratives. Although my study concerns Argentine society, I believe it to be microstructurally significant for its premises may be applied to other societies built upon national myths, such as those created by most nation-states in the Americas after gaining their independence from colonial administration and cultural hegemony.
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    Variation in Interlanguage: Evidence from Internal and External Patterning of Morphosyntactic Variability in the Speech of Second Language Learners
    (2022) Zheng, Qi; Jiang, Nan; Second Language Acquisition and Application; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    Language is inherently variable, and learner language is particularly variable. The variationist paradigm considers learner language a heterogeneously variable yet inherently rule-governed system. Specifically, learners’ alternation between native-like and nonnative-like variants of a variable or invariable target native speaker (NS) form constitutes learner language variation. Variation is also viewed as an indication of a transitional phase towards acquisition (e.g., Regan, 2013; Tagliamonte, 2011). With a particular concentration on second language (L2) morphosyntactic variation, this dissertation explored inter-learner variation and intra-learner variability together with interlanguage development by analyzing Japanese L2 learners’ oral performances in English oral proficiency interviews. The research observed and studied the variation pattern in the interview data and identified the linguistic, paralinguistic, and nonlinguistic factors and factor groups which may give rise to Japanese L2 learners’ repeated exercise of their interlanguage grammar for four morphosyntactic features: preposition/particle, article, object pronoun-dropping, and modal auxiliary verb. The data were analyzed by using classification trees, random forests, and mixed-effects variable rule methods which together identified a hierarchy of variable importance among potential factors and factor groups and the influential factor levels within each significant factor group. With modern mixed models, the dissertation concluded that the observed morphosyntactic variation is subject to inter-lingual and intra-learner factors. Additionally, learners may also have individualized baselines and grammar. More importantly, the findings of the current research have provided important theoretical and empirical justification on whether and how individual patterns mirror the interlanguage patterns and hence an inter-lingual developmental understanding of L2 morphosyntactic competence.
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    Potencialidades desbordadas: Comunalidad y resistencias en las fronteras mexicanas
    (2022) Reyes , Nidia Mariana; Long, Ryan R; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    In recent years, the intense crises of economic globalization, political polarization and escalating violence have increased the dangers faced by migrants around the world. Mexico and Central America present cases where these factors have exacerbated the precariousness and brutality suffered by undocumented migrants. My dissertation focuses primarily on the representations and practices that portray the current socio-political situation of forced migration from Mexico and Central America to the United States. As well as on the artistic responses that shed new ways of imagining the resistance of the migrant and Latinx community. The variety of responses to the migration crisis is reflected in the diversity of the materials I analyze and interpret: documentaries, websites, novels and poetry. I compare Mexican writer Yuri Herrera's novel Señales que precederán al fin del mundo (2009) with Citizen Illegal (2018), a collection of poetry by José Olivarez, an American writer born to Mexican immigrants. I also develop an analysis of the transnationally co-produced (American and Salvadoran) multimedia journalistic project Los que iban a morir se acumulan en México (2017), which I read under the theoretical guideline of Mexican writer Sara Uribe's Antígona González (2012). Finally, I study the way in which the issue of migrant disappearances on the Mexican border is treated. I analyze the documentary María en tierra de nadie (2011) by Marcela Zamora, which portrays the journey of Central American mothers searching for their missing daughters and relatives, and the website WhoisDayaniCrystal, inspired by the documentary, ¿Quién es Dayani Crystal? (2013), which deals with the process of identifying the body of an undocumented migrant found in the so-called "corridor of death", one of the hottest and most dangerous areas of the Arizona desert. My analysis of literary texts from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border shows how the border is not only a geopolitical and economic boundary but also a confluence of times, spaces, and bodies. But above all, it is a confluence of migrants and a multiplicity of people who, despite encountering violence at the borders and the migrant path, resist through every day and/or fleeting acts. En los últimos años, las intensas crisis de globalización económica, la polarización política y la escalada de violencia han aumentado los peligros a los que se enfrentan lxs migrantes en todo el mundo. México y Centroamérica presentan casos en los que dichos factores han exacerbado los niveles de precariedad y brutalidad que sufren lxs migrantes indocumentados. Mi disertación se centra principalmente en las representaciones y prácticas que retratan la actual situación sociopolítica de la migración forzada desde México y Centroamérica hacia Estados Unidos. Así como en las respuestas artísticas que arrojan nuevas formas de imaginar la resistencia de la comunidad migrante y latinx. La variedad de respuestas a la crisis migratoria se refleja en la diversidad de los materiales que analizo e interpreto: documentales, páginas web, novelas y poesía. Por ejemplo, comparo la novela del escritor mexicano Yuri Herrera, Señales que precederán al fin del mundo (2009) con Citizen Illegal (2018), una colección de poesía de José Olivarez, un escritor estadounidense nacido de inmigrantes mexicanos. También desarrollo un análisis del proyecto periodístico multimedia coproducido transnacionalmente (estadounidense y salvadoreño) titulado Los que iban a morir se acumulan en México (2017), mismo que leo bajo la pauta teórica de Antígona González (2012) de la escritora mexicana Sara Uribe. Finalmente, estudio la manera en la que se trata el tema de las desapariciones de migrantes en la frontera mexicana. Analizo el documental María en tierra de nadie (2011) de Marcela Zamora, que retrata el viaje de madres centroamericanas que buscan a sus hijas y familiares desaparecidxs y la página web WhoisDayaniCrystal, inspirada en el documental, ¿Quién es Dayani Crystal? (2013), que trata del proceso de identificación de un cuerpo de un migrante indocumentado encontrado en el llamado "corredor de la muerte", una de las zonas más calientes y peligrosas del desierto de Arizona. Mi análisis de los textos literarios de ambos lados de la frontera entre México y Estados Unidos muestra cómo la frontera no es sólo un límite geopolítico y económico, sino también una confluencia de tiempos, espacios y cuerpos. Pero, sobre todo, es una confluencia de migrantxs y una multiplicidad de personas que a pesar de encontrar violencia en las fronteras y el camino migrante, resisten a través de actos cotidianos y/o fugaces.
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    (2022) Bulansky, Daniela; Sosnowski, Saúl; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    The villas (commonly viewed as “shanty towns”) in Argentina, have been addressed in literary texts since they began to form as part of the “informal city.” This dissertation interrogates the literary images of these spaces in the city of Buenos Aires, with a particular focus on works that emerge from the villas themselves. Accordingly, they do not appear as marginal, but are situated as the narrative center from which it becomes possible to question the image of a modern, compact and definitive view of the city. This dissertation has grouped texts as they relate to their sociopolitical contexts. The first group includes the short story “$1 en Villa Desocupación” (1933) by Enrique Amorim, the dramatical work La marcha del hambre (1934) by Elías Castelnuovo, and Las colinas del hambre (1943) by Rosa Wernicke (the only novel that takes place in another region); all three set in the 1930’s. The second provides an analysis of the novel Villa Miseria también es América (1957) by Bernardo Verbitsky, in order to follow the trail of the first appearances in newspapers of the term “villa miseria,” which paralleled the ways these phenomena were made visible in the second half of the 1950’s. The third group consists of four novels that followed the 2001 socio-economic crisis: Santería (2008) and Sacrificio (2010) by Leonardo Oyola, La Virgen Cabeza (2009) by Gabriela Cabezón Cámara, and Con V de villera by Lula Comeron. By then, the villas were a well-recognized fact; therefore, these novels do not necessarily center on revealing their existence. The spaces that comprise the villas that these works produce are boundless, diverse, and fluid; moreover, they move away from privileging visual images, prominent in the works of the two previous groups. All of the works insert the villa within a literary tradition as spaces, equal to any other, where literature is possible. It is not a question of ignoring the power dynamics that mark the villas as a phenomenon, but to consider the movements that these works represent as they relocate the center by focusing on the interior of the villas and thus, literarily, constructing narratives from within.
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    Exilios y redes en el hispanismo de Estados Unidos (1962-2011): Ficciones y migraciones
    (2022) Devesa Gómez, Nélida Isabel; Naharro-Calderon, Jose Maria; Merediz, Eyda; Spanish Language and Literature; Digital Repository at the University of Maryland; University of Maryland (College Park, Md.)
    With the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War and the ensuing Franco dictatorship (1936-1975), Spaniards fled and went into exile in large flocks. Unfortunately, the United States only admitted a small group of Spanish intellectuals, deemed politically neutral, who joined institutions of higher education and developed multicultural, academic, and social networks. These intellectuals had a lasting influence that led to a significant revival of Hispanism in the USA. This dissertation, Exiles and Networks in US Hispanism (1962-2011): Fictions and Migrations, interrogates autobiographical novels and memoirs that focus on the experience of three of those exiles: Prof. Carmen de Zulueta (CUNY/Lehman College, 1966-1984), Prof. Ildefonso-Manuel Gil (Rutgers University, 1962-1983), and Prof. Víctor Fuentes (U. California-Santa Barbara, 1965-2003).Despite differences in genres and viewpoints (memoirs, autobiographies, autofiction, etc.), these authors share specific chronotopes of exiles. These chronotopes are based on three dimensions through their experience of displacement: spaces, times and intellectual networks, through which they recreate their exilic itineraries. Each author accentuates a specific dimension of these chronotopes: Zulueta (Chapter 1) puts distance between herself and her account and focuses on the portrayal of the intellectuals that assisted her along the way; Gil (Chapter 2) relishes the recreation of time as a game that is played out on the page; and Fuentes (Chapter 3) adopts characters of traditional Spanish literary works (picaresque, Don Juan, revolutionary) to create chronotopes in which the three dimensions are equally relevant. The analysis of these authors’ chronotopes of exile reveals not only their identities as exiles, but also their relationship with Spain as their homeland, and the United States as their host. They develop a special relation with both countries since they become transatlantic and transoceanic figures that greatly enjoy the new opportunities found in the US, but long for the past lives of their homeland. Their accounts also divulge the ways in which the previous Spanish intellectuals that had arrived in the US assisted each other and helped them to emigrates. They also portray the spaces of their new home and the “non-places” of Spanish culture that they constructed once they were settled.