Department of Romance Languages and Literatures.
April 24, 2020.
Advisor: Mariano Siskind, Harvard University.
Doris Sommer, Harvard University.
Benita Sampedro-Vizcaya, Hofstra University.
Lisabeth Paravisini-Gebert, Vassar College.
My dissertation compared 20th-century postcolonial literary texts from Equatorial Guinea, The Canary Islands, Cuba, and Puerto Rico as a means of understanding the specificities of insular cultural production, and the role of islands within Spanish colonialism and neo-colonial legacies. My comparative analysis of insular texts produced in different timelines and cultural locations required a cross-disciplinary approach in the framework of Global Hispanophone, Environmental Humanities, and Island Studies. From this point, I developed a de-centered model of analysis and transnational comparative methodology that problematize the trope of the isolated-island and highlight its extraordinary relational capacity as a historical epicenter of cultural, human, and material exchange. I argued that thinking of island spaces in terms of absolute separation entails anchoring in a dichotomous epistemology of center/periphery in which the island stands as an apprehensible space, physically and geographically delimited (and limited), and therefore susceptible to being located on the margins.