Recently Defended Theses

Date range: July 2023 – October 2023

PhD in French Studies

Andisheh Ghaderi

Reimagining the American dream: critical perspectives by Francophone voices

This study examines the success and failure of French-speaking immigrants in the U.S. due to factors such as class, gender, and identity politics as represented in literature and cinema. The select authors for this thesis actively reimagine the American Dream, breaking free from the limitations of capitalist rhetoric that asserts the Dream is only attainable through material prosperity and hard work. By challenging this notion and exploring alternative possibilities, they seek to decolonize the Dream and create a vision of success that is more equitable and inclusive.

Joel Akinwumi

L’oubli et ses enjeux dans les littératures africaine et antillaise / Forgetting and its implications in African and Caribbean literatures

This dissertation unravels the protean nature, operation, and socio-cultural implications of forgetting in connection with the representation of the historical phenomena of the past, key among which are the Middle Passage, Transatlantic Slave Trade and Colonialism. Critical attention is paid to how forgetting derives from discursive practices and subtly imposed political and insidious ideologies. As an inevitable force, forgetting is often construed as the obverse face of memory and consequently as a kind of amnesia or dysfunction. Breaking away from this postulation, my research demonstrates that forgetting is not just a denial of memory but a peculiar modality of processing traumatic historical experiences.

PhD in Hispanic Studies

José Ricardo García Martínez

Letters of blood and fire: writing and accumulation in Latin America, from the chronicles of the Indies to the present

This is a study of Latin American literary production, the role of writers and intellectuals, and the relationship between writing, the market, and power. At the core of this dissertation is the argument that accumulation has to be produced, and that it builds on what I term cumulation. That is, accumulation is not simply a matter of amassing things (whether material objects, possessions, or words) or piling them up; that would be mere cumulation—I say “mere” cumulation, but it requires its own procedures of (often violent or traumatic) transport and collection. But for cumulation to become accumulation, there has to be some way to count what has been amassed, thereby also to make it count, to accord it value. Using a heterogeneous framework that includes Marxism, post-structuralism, and Affect Theory, I argue that the transformation from cumulation to accumulation, as depicted in Cortés’s Letters, is exhausted.