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

George Yudice

Second Committee Member

Hugo Achugar

Third Committee Member

Lillian Manzor

Fourth Committee Member

Elena Grau-Lleveria

Fifth Committee Member

Eduardo Elena


My project explores ways in which legitimacy is granted within the literary field. This is done through an analysis of literary anthologies, university course syllabi, publishing trends, literary prizes, and levels and sources of critical attention. The project seeks to determine the extent to which the works of Afro-descendant Spanish American and Belizean writers are reflected in the hegemonic Spanish American and Anglophone Caribbean literary canons. I examine the works of Cristina Rodríguez Cabral (Uruguay), Shirley Campbell Barr, and Delia McDonald Woolery (Costa Rica), and Zee Edgell, and Zoila Ellis (Belize). The project records the varying degrees of legitimation these writers have received and the factors that have had an impact on their recognition. It also shows that literary interculturality is possible in Spanish America and the Anglophone Caribbean through the aesthetics some writers employ and the activities of legitimizing agencies. Further I propose a plurality of canons based on the concept of plural public spheres/counterpublics as outlined by Nancy Fraser and Michael Warner. My analysis of Belizean works emphasizes ways in which a national literary canon can be considered a counterpublic within a regional literary corpus. The concept of counterpublics I use to present the works analyzed is a model other scholars can employ in their examination of other minority literatures.


Afro-descendant; legitimation; aesthetics; plural canons; interculturality