Amplifying Subaltern Voices: (Media)tion and Marginalized Identities in Guatemala, Mexico, and Brazil
Miller, Tiffany Dawn Creegan
University of Kansas
Spanish & Portuguese
Copyright held by the author.
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This dissertation explores manifestations of mediation and their relationships with representations of marginalized, principally indigenous subjects, in print and digital media. In my understanding of mediation, I draw from the debate concerning the role of Elizabeth Burgos in the authoring of Rigoberta Menchú Tum's testimonio. This project goes beyond Menchú Tum's classic case to address broadly the role of mediation in a variety of artistic productions in connection with larger social movements. For my purposes, mediation generally refers to two primary processes: the editorial processes involved in the creation of cultural production and the ways in which audiences influence and participate in these procedures. Using a postcolonial and performance studies approach, with particular emphasis on orality, each chapter explores the politics of collaboration and how marginalized subjects negotiate their self-representations. Grounding my study in Rigoberta Menchú Tum's seminal text, Chapter 1 draws from the plethora of definitions of testimonio to explore how Victor Montejo, Kaqchikel poet Calixta Gabriel Xiquín, and the artists who created the murals in San Juan Comalapa have used the genre as a way to project their own voices, albeit mediated, and represent their Maya identities. The next chapter explores poetry by Juan Yool Gómez and Humberto Ak'abal as well as online performances by Ak'abal and Kaqchikel children. These examples demonstrate how Maya speakers have agency in their representations, yet they also show how Internet users other than the original performers influence these texts and recordings. Chapter 3 continues to analyze Maya identities, this time in the context of the Zapatista Movement in Mexico, focusing on issues of collaboration in the artists' books and Facebook account of Taller Leñateros, a collective publishing house in Chiapas. The final chapter shifts contexts quite radically to analyze the negotiation of local and international cultural forms in music by people affiliated with the Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra in Brazil in order to explore relationships between mediation and representation of identity in a non-indigenous context. Finally, my conclusion offers possibilities for future work on the relationship between mediation and representations of marginalized identities in other regions of Latin America.
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