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Title page for ETD etd-06292010-111700

Type of Document Dissertation
Author Castellanos Gonella, Carolina
URN etd-06292010-111700
Title Performances de masculinidades: mujeres guerreras y transgresión de género en la literatura latinoamericana
Degree PhD
Department Spanish and Portuguese
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Emanuelle Oliveira Committee Chair
Cathy L. Jrade Committee Member
Earl E. Fitz Committee Member
Marshall C. Eakin Committee Member
  • Latin American literature 20th century
  • transgresión
  • gender performance
  • mujer guerrera
  • naming
  • female masculinity
  • clothing
  • emphasized femininity
  • gender passing
  • transvestism
  • female guerrilla
  • bandits
Date of Defense 2010-05-21
Availability unrestricted
This dissertation analyzes three key Latin American regionalist novels: Los de abajo (1915), Doña Bárbara (1929), and Grande sertão: veredas (1956). Specifically, it provides an innovative study of three female characters—la Pintada, doña Bárbara, and Diadorim—because literary critics have interpreted them as negative, evil, barbaric, or virginal (Griffin 1993; Sommer 1991; Galvão 1981). The dissertation, then, proposes that the characters are fundamentally warrior women in the sense that they retain power, give orders, use weapons, fight, dress in masculine clothing and depict a masculine behavior. By drawing on gender studies theory (Butler 1990, 1993; Connell 1995; Garber 1992; Halberstam 1998), the dissertation argues that the warrior women characters carry out a performance of masculinity as they appropriate and use elements and roles associated with males. This performance—analyzed in four chapters—is based on the transgressive use of clothes, the power play embedded in names and nicknames, the relationship with male and female characters, and the performance of hegemonic masculinity. Thus, warrior women’s gender performance becomes a strategy of self-empowerment and an identity through which the characters question hegemonic discourses on gender, social class, and race. Furthermore, the analysis affirms that warrior women’s female masculinities question the structure of their societies and signal masculinities alternative to the one embodied by the traditional heterosexual and masculine hero. Thus, warrior women highlight and validate the presence of other types of heroes in the construction of regionalism/nationalism in Latin American literature. Additionally, the last chapter of the dissertation analyzes interdisciplinary texts from the 20th and 21st century that portray warrior women characters, such as La negra Angustias, Hasta no verte, Jesús mío, Viva o povo brasileiro!, No me agarran viva, Memorial de Maria Moura, La mujer habitada, and Falcão: mulheres no tráfico. In this chapter the dissertation conceptualizes the ways in which warrior women’s performance of masculinity continue to challenge hegemonic categories by introducing transgressive gender performances in predominantly masculine spaces, such as wars and revolutions in Latin America.
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