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Title:Latinas Talk Back: The Latina Body, Citizenship, and Popular Culture
Author(s):Baez, Jillian
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Valdivia, Angharad N.
Department / Program:Communications
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Women's Studies
Abstract:This dissertation explores the discursive construction of the Latina body across media institutions, popular culture, and lived experience. In particular, it asks: what is the discursive construction of the Latina body in mainstream U.S. and Latina/o popular culture and how do Latinas engage with these representations of their bodies? Within the last ten years, mainstream popular culture has represented and circulated Latina imagery that foregrounds the hypervisibility of both spectacular bodies, such as Jennifer Lopez, and ordinary bodies, such as undocumented female migrants. Given the historical under-representation of Latinas in mainstream U.S. media and Latinas' limited access to self-representation, these texts mark a shift in contemporary popular culture. This dissertation underscores this shift by exploring various popular culture texts over the last ten years (1997-2007) that foreground the Latina body in relation to how Latinas construct their own bodies vis-a-vis these representations. Drawing from and extending transnational feminist media studies and theories of cultural citizenship, this dissertation illuminates the mediated representations and experiences of Latinas. Using a discourse ethnography methodology, the study employs a multidimensional and multiperspectival approach that combines textual analysis with multi-sited participant observation, interviews and focus groups to document how symbolic and material bodies collapse in everyday life. Overall, this dissertation illustrates how Latinas perform cultural citizenship through their readings (particularly critiques) of specific media texts, creation of a "new" ideal Latina femininity and sexuality that disrupts dominant discourses, media activism, and for some, cultural production (e.g., poetry, theater) that challenges media representations.
Issue Date:2009
Description:224 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3391879
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2009

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