Cartographies of Vulnerability: Body and Space in Contemporary Mexican Literature and Culture

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Esparza Rodriguez, Maria, Spanish - Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, University of Virginia
Lagos, María Inés, Spanish, Italian & Portuguese
Pellón, Gustavo, Spanish, Italian & Portuguese
Rogers, Charlotte, Spanish, Italian & Portuguese
Brickhouse, Anna, American Studies, English
Cuatlacuatl, Federico, Art

This dissertation explores how Mexican women writers and artists are contending with and reconfiguring notions of gender, sexuality, citizenship, and space in a globalized twenty-first century Mexico. Chapter one examines bodily and spatial malleability in Cristina Rivera Garza’s Nadie me verá llorar (1999). I argue that the spaces represented within the narration as well as the ones that inspired this historical work of fiction allow for the representation of sexual, class, and gender fluidity. Taking as a point of departure an analysis of Ana Clavel’s Cuerpo naúfrago (2005), chapter two explores perceptions of sexuality and gender identity, and simultaneously examines disruptions of the traditional literary forms and other artistic interventions. Chapter three argues that Guadalupe Nettel’s El huésped (2006) provides new approaches to understanding the city and its irrepresentability. The novel also rethinks the role that works of fiction and other artistic objects offer in response to the growing urbanization of the country. In this way, the spatial representations in much of the chronicles of the mid-twentieth century by men authors are reconfigured by Nettel and other women artists. The final chapter focuses on relingos, mapmaking, and the disappearing boundaries of spaces in Valeria Luiselli’s work of fiction and non-fiction. This dissertation examines the thematic, theoretical, and narrative innovations that Mexican women authors and artists integrate in their recent works. It also requires that we consider how these works challenge current perceptions of gender, sexuality, and space while offering a way to rethink the Mexican literary production of the twenty-first century through cultural studies.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Mexican Studies, Mexican Literature, Cultural Studies, Spatial Studies, Gender and Sexuality, Women Writers, Urban Studies, Contemporary Literature, Escritoras mexicanas, Estudios culturales, Estudios espaciales, Estudios Urbanos, Estudios de género y sexualidad, Cristina Rivera Garza, Ana Clavel, Guadalupe Nettel, Valeria Luiselli, Literatura contemporánea mexicana
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