Appointed As

Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Program


ACLS Emerging Voices Fellowships program


University of Pennsylvania

PhD Field of Study

PhD, Spanish and Latin American Studies, University of California, Riverside

Dissertation Abstract

"Subcultural Politics: Sexual Dissidence, Sickness, and Subversion in Chile and Mexico, 1986-2013"

"Subcultural Politics" is a study of minoritarian subjectivities conceptualized under socio-economic changes and political misrecognition in late twentieth and early twenty-first century Mexico and Chile. Subcultural Politics traces how, on the one hand, political and cultural changes in Latin America resulted in progressive and modernizing projects, and, on the other hand, produced new subjectivities found at the threshold of life and death. I argue that a politics of embodiment is congealed at the intersection of neoliberal state reforms, the dissemination of HIV, and juridical laws that fail to account for minoritarian identities. Chapter 1, “Nación aporética: Subculture and the Queer Commons in Pedro Lemebel’s Loco afán: Crónicas de sidario (1996),” follows the dissemination of HIV in Chile and analyzes the complicit relationship between the state and neoliberal reforms. This chapter dialogues José Esteban Muñoz’s work on the Brown Commons and Jasbir Puar’s reading of homonationalism to propose modes in which Chile’s locas (queer subjects) assemble communities as a form of survival. In Chapter 2, “Politics of Illegibility: Sickness, Transvestism and Monstrosity in Mario Bellatin’s Salón de belleza (1994),” I propose a reading through Jacques Rancière’s idea of the political and Judith Butler’s contention of corporeal (un)intelligibility. I suggest that Mexican discourse in the 90s produced a new subjectivity—the contaminated transvestite—that renders visible the limits of political representation.
Furtherly, Chapter 3, “Identity Disavowed: Queer Indigeneity and Difference in Edson Caballero Trujillo’s Atempa: Dreams by the River (2013),” proposes a queer indigenous analysis wherein I see an implicit contestation of (neo)coloniality and a color critique in Mexico. Hence, I postulate an alliance of queer studies and indigenous studies that operates at a distance, but which also unravels hegemonic assemblages of power imprinted since colonialism. Finally, Chapter 4, “The Limits of Language: Trans* Rights and Illegalities in Claudia Rodríguez Cuerpos para odiar (2013)”, addresses transvestism and transsexuality as new erratic perversions that threaten heteronormativity and the immunization of the social body. In dialogue with Judith Butler’s idea of linguistic vulnerability, I contend that the trans* abject body shows the ways in which language and law protect bodies that affirm the juridical distinction of the (il)legal subject-citizen and exteriorize the unlawful body expulsed to a zone of precarity.