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Modern Languages and Literatures

MLL Student Successfully Defends Thesis

Congratulations to Rebecca Rabizadeh for successfully defending her thesis, “La presencia de la vergüenza inscrita en la época colonial en los cuerpos y la sexualidad de las mujeres latinas y latinoamericanas en tres textos narrativos.” 

Her work investigates the effect of the Spanish conquest of Latin America on Latin American women’s relationships with their bodies and sexuality. Colonizers imposed Eurocentric cultural and religious ideals to “civilize” indigenous peoples. The ideal most relevant to this analysis was the imposition of shame surrounding female bodies and sexual desire. The lasting presence of colonially imposed shame is analyzed in the female protagonists of three Latin American narrative texts: ​Never Marry a Mexican​ by Sandra Cisneros, ​Northern Ladies ​by Silvana Paternostro, and ​Perras ​by Jorge Enrique Lage. All three texts present different facets of the relationships between the female body, female sexuality, society, and Latin American identity. I conclude that the imposed Eurocentric colonial lens and concept of shame are still present in the ways that Latin American female bodies and sexuality are conceptualized by Latin American women and the societies in which they exist.