Oral Defence: José Feliciano Lara Aguilar

Room: 203 of the Graduate Student Centre (6371 Crescent Road). Latecomers will not be admitted

Las formas del duelo: memoria, utopía y visiones apocalípticas en las narrativas de la guerrilla mexicana (1979-2008)

During the second half of the 20th Century, diverse social groups put the legacy of the Mexican Revolution proclaimed by the ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) into question: the unsolved promises of the Agrarian Reform and the lack of civic and political rights gave rise to a series of protests, and instead of finding peaceful solutions to the demands of society, the government acted violently against peasants, students, union workers, and members of the leftist opposition groups. As a result, several guerrilla groups emerged at the end of this period known as “Dirty War”, in which suppression, torture, massacre and disappearance of the political dissident was common practice. This study analyzes six literary works of the Mexican contemporary guerrilla that covers the years 1979 to 2008: Al cielo por asalto (1979) by Agustín Ramos, ¿Por qué no dijiste todo? (1980) and La patria celestial (1992) by Salvador Castañeda, Morir de sed junto a la fuente. Sierra de Chihuahua 1968 (2001) by Minerva Armendáriz Ponce, Veinte de cobre (2004) by Fritz Glockner, and Vencer o morir (2008) by Leopoldo Ayala. In both their form and structure, these narratives address the notion of mourning, as well as its inherent categories, such as: work of mourning or grief work, melancholy, loss, grief, remnants, and specters, among others, which call into question and destabilize the generalized social discourse. In this tension, I observe the emergence of aesthetic languages that take place within the post-revolutionary imaginary of the 1960’s and 1970’s with the exhaustion of revolutionary imaginary that was predominant in the preceding decades. These aesthetic languages provide mourning with new contents, organized in three fields: memory, utopia, and apocalyptic visions, which recreate mourning as a symbolic space where an important social struggle for the reconstruction of the past is still ongoing.


Examining Committee Chair:
Dr. Michael Blake (Anthropology)

Supervisory Committee:
Dr. Rita De Grandis, Supervisor (Hispanic Studies)
Dr. Kim Beauchesne (Hispanic Studies)
Dr. Alessandra Santos (Hispanic Studies)

University Examiners:
Dr. William French (History)
Dr. Jon Beasley-Murray (Hispanic Studies)

External Examiner:
Dr. Alexander Avina, Department of History, Florida State University