Appointed As

Division of Humanities


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


Yale University

PhD Field of Study

PhD, Hispanic Literature, Indiana University, Bloomington

Dissertation Abstract

“Writing Antagonism: Exploring the Fissures of Hegemony in Mexico 1994-2020”

My dissertation explores the possible and complex intersections that exist between writing and politics in contemporary Mexico. A point of union that allows me to reflect on both spheres is antagonism. I theorize and develop the concept of “antagonistic writing” as a writing that defies and opposes dominant discourses from the State and its cultural institutions. The works I analyze aim to be antagonistic by interrupting an established order - political, cultural, literary. Through the trope of the face and a fragmented narrative, they reflect upon the construction of the subject and its absence of representation in both literary and political fields. First, I analyze the political statements from the Zapatista movement, which emerged in 1994 in Chiapas, Mexico, as a protest against the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). Second, I examine an experimental novel of Cristina Rivera Garza, a writer who represents the effects on Mexican society of the neoliberal economic policies implemented after the signature of NAFTA and the declaration of the War on Drugs in 2006. Both the Zapatista as well as Rivera Garza’s texts are works that, from absence (of the face, of history, of gender), create manifestos, calling for the rights of indigenous and oppressed individuals. At the same time, they are works that denounce new forms of war and violence in a social context where institutions are weakened by corruption. Both texts demand critical responses from an international public, a call to action in the case of the Zapatista Army, and an engaged reading from Rivera Garza.
This dissertation contributes to the field of cultural and literary studies in several ways. First, the interdisciplinary theoretical framework with which I approach the texts serves to highlight the importance of the humanities and particularly of literature to give visibility to unrepresented people. Second, I show how literary texts can function for marginal and oppressed populations as sites for dissidence and criticism of official discourses. Thirdly it reflects how facelessness writing is a form to redefine concepts like the “people,” “civil society,” and the “subject”. Finally, the dissertation contributes to restore the importance of literature in the Latin American cultural field.