IS THERE POTENTIAL FOR EDEN ON DIVISION STREET: ANTI-COLONIAL DISCOURSE, MIGRATION AND THE GOD OF NATIONALISM
Abad, Erika Gisela
MetadataShow full item record
In the past few decades, Puerto Rican Cultural Studies have explored divergent subject positions regarding cultural performance and Puerto Ricans' political and migratory history. Using correspondence with former FALN member Oscar Lopez Rivera, this dissertation explores the cultural heritage debate that emerges as a result of Puerto Rican scholarship that attempts to defend and critique Puerto Ricans' "national character." In so doing, this dissertation draws attention to the multiple nationalisms at play. According to one of the first letters I received from Oscar Lopez Rivera, the "cultural heritage," debate is not complex because of the myriad forms of access one has to Puerto Rican cultural and political history. That access, as explored by scholars writing on Puerto Rican political organizations of the mid-twentieth century, frames how Puerto Ricans in the United States approach Puerto Rico's colonial question. Divergent subject positions on the status question--whether or not Puerto Rico is a colony of the US and whether or not statehood, or independence would be feasible options--allude to the complexity. The disparities between migrant and island-based Puerto Ricans further said complexity because of the inherent negotiations made as a result of social and political marginalization in contrast to relatively greater socio-economic stability. For both communities, the question of contribution and participation arises, resulting from racialized, gendered, classed, and sexualized marks of exclusions and silence. Using Chela Sandoval's Methodology of the Oppressed and Jose Esteban Munoz's Cruising Utopia, this dissertation argues that the complexities in the cultural and political discourse that addresses said question provide greater avenues of possibility. Exploring the possibilities of reconfiguring the role of discourse in assigning the value of contribution and participation, this dissertation incorporates Division Street, a novella that functions as a social commentary regarding the discursive and ideological parameters set around participation and contribution. Because the primary figures who model participation and contribution are male--both because of the discourse they produce and how others ideologically construct them--the novella's female characters function as antagonists to what leaders like Pedro Albizu Campos, Filiberto Ojeda Rios imagine as necessary to critically contribute to the anti-colonial struggle.