Publication Date




Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PHD)


Modern Languages and Literatures (Arts and Sciences)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Andrew Lynch (Co-chair)

Second Committee Member

Lillian Manzor (Co-chair)

Third Committee Member

Elena Grau-Lleveria

Fourth Committee Member

Eduardo Negueruela Azarola

Fifth Committee Member

Gerard Aching


In this dissertation, I argue for a much-needed reconsideration of language and gender in the constructions of local, postnational, and global identities in the Gran Caribe, which dislocates the Latino US, athough not necessarily dismisses it. I explore the ways in which Caribbean and US Caribbean-origin women writers and playwrights such as Achy Obejas, Mayra Santos Febres, Jennine Capó Crucet, Aurora Arias, Caridad Svich, and Josefina Báez reinterpret language through practices of language crossing and linguistic virtuosity, thus creating a grancaribeña community of practice. By questioning macro-narratives through the linguistic, aesthetic, and thematic components of their texts, these authors and their works have been exposed to critical accusations of inauthentic misrepresentation of their cultures of origin. In response, I demonstrate how these texts contest the linguistic boundaries of US, US-Latina, US-Caribbean, or Caribbean discourses as traditionally defined. The crux of my argument is that these authors employ and actively construct a language that destabilizes national imaginaries and cultural archives of both the US and the Caribbean. Reframing the notion of “life on the hyphen,” i.e., the state of being between languages and nations, I maintain that the linguistic forms and discursive patterns evident in the texts that I study are not suggestive of in-betweenness or burden of linguistic identity, but rather perform an aesthetics of multiplicity within their own right.


Language crossing; multiaccentuality; Gran Caribe; multiplicity; hyphen