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Desert Landscapes: Violence and Enduring Subjectivities in Contemporary Mexican Literary and Visual Cultures

  • Author(s): Torres Méndez, Martha
  • Advisor(s): Mahieux, Viviane
  • et al.
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Abstract

Desert Landscapes: Violence and Enduring Subjectivities in Mexican Literary and Visual Cultures studies the use of the desert as a trope in twentieth and twentieth-first century Mexican literary and visual works. Situating this project within the cultural debates during and after the presidency of Felipe Calderón Hinojosa, I focus my study on representations of violence deeply anchored in the imaginary of the desert, and more broadly, in Northern Mexico. Each chapter illustrates this by focusing on novels such as Daniel Sada’s Porque parece mentira la verdad nunca se sabe (1999), Roberto Bolaño’s 2666 (2004), Sylvia Aguilar Zeleny’s Todo eso es yo (2016), along with the documentaries Cuates de Australia (2011), Los otros californios (2011) and the photography of Itzel Aguilera. By employing a literary and cultural studies approach in my readings of these works, I examine current context shaped by necropolitical enforcement in guaranteeing hegemonic ideals on identity, society, and culture. Drawing on ecocriticism, critical theory, and film studies, this dissertation stages an in depth analysis of the narratives of violence presented in each work to bring into view necroecological grammars of violence that evidence the emergence of subjects that oscillate between exhaustion and resilience, ultimately creating the texture of endurance. Ultimately, this project seeks to contribute to the emergence of new theoretical frameworks from where to understand and critique phenomena such as femicides, state violence, narcotraffic, environmental violence, that as a mélange signal the crisis of the nation-state within economic systems that sharply impose a logic of consumerism and disposability.

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This item is under embargo until June 5, 2025.