Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Berkeley

UC Berkeley Electronic Theses and Dissertations bannerUC Berkeley

El sonido y la cultura aural en la narrativa del fin de siglo diecinueve en México.


This dissertation questions the analytic categories that have been used to study nineteenth century Mexican and Latin American literatures and culture. My dissertation explores the way aural and sonic culture impacts fiction and non-fiction narratives during a period of high economic liberalization and State consolidation. I draw upon the fields of sound studies and literature, to analyze the Mexican fin-de-siècle marked by the emergence of a sonic excess, which I define as the proliferation of sounds (technological and human) that modified arts and politics during a period of nation dependent integration into a global economy.

I work on the concept of aural regimes and performative listening, where I explore the ways in which gender and modernista aesthetics are projected and heard in the noises of modern cities such as Mexico and Paris. I analyze how gender is learned, represented, reinforced, or contested in the aural regime. Here, categories of the feminine (and their intersectionality with race and class) are constituted within spatial sound environments where power, inequality and agency are manifested in the sonic field. Sound becomes a signifier that helps us to understand how power relations, gender, and aesthetics are constructed. I also study a war narrative, Tomochic, an historical novel that gives account of a military campaign to reduce and silence a popular upheaval in northern Mexico as an audionarrative, this is a narrative informed, mainly, through different points of auditions, voices, and war sounds, shifting the naturalist and realist narratological conceptualization of nineteenth century approaches. Additionally, I analyze, for instance, sound representations in a non-fiction travel narrative from the perspective of intellectual Justo Sierra who travels to the United States from Mexico City, noticing that in his geographical displacement there is also an epistemological one that takes him from the lettered city to the audible city, in which the power of writing assimilated by the political order, is affected not only by the hegemonic discourses of elites, but by the noises and sounds of multicultural North American cities.

In this sense, war, material and popular culture, and fiction and non-fiction narratives allow me to reinterpret the turn of the 19th century archive in terms of sound ecologies informed by gender, economics, technologies, and nation building and social movement processes.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View