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Access Type

WSU Access

Date of Award

January 2016

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Department

Classical and Modern Languages, Literatures, and Cultures

First Advisor

Hernan Garcia

Abstract

My dissertation, The Role of Nostalgia in the Literature of the Caribbean Diasporas – Linking Memory, Globalization and Homemaking, investigates diverse manifestations of nostalgia in the literature of Puerto Rican, Cuban, and Dominican diasporas. My study offers a comparative analysis of Esmeralda Santiago’s Cuando era puertorriqueña (1994), Gustavo Pérez Firmat’s Next Year in Cuba (1995), and Junot Díaz’s The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao (2008).

My approach to the notion of nostalgia as a syndrome of globalization offers a valuable contribution to the Caribbean diasporic narrative and by extension to the canon of the U.S. Latino/a Literature. The literary representation of nostalgia has not been fully explored in the Latin-American context, and studying its social, cultural, political, and national manifestations opens new venues of interpretation of migratory experience in the age of globalization. Through the literary analysis I examine diverse representation of the migratory experience of the Cuban, Puerto Rican, and Dominican Hispanic groups residing within the United States. Furthermore, I propose nostalgia as a catalyst that allows observation how displaced individuals from the Caribbean reconstruct homeland, culture, identity, and language in exile or immigration through adoption of new symbols, practice of tradition, remembrance of popular culture, and appropriation of civic spaces.

In my analyses, I consider the phenomenon of nostalgia as a crucial aspect of the assimilation process and formation of Latino/a culture identity as a means to explore collective memory. This frame allows me to investigate the evolving urban spaces where the Caribbean immigrants settle. Within this contextual map, my dissertation rests theoretically in the works of Svetlana Boym’s The Future of Nostalgia (2001), Suman Gupta’s Globalization and Literature (2009), Fred Davis’s Yearning for Yesterday (1978) to explore the intersections of globalization, literature, and collective memory as a space from which nostalgia emerges. My examination brings forth the changing landscape of nostalgia in response to modernization, cultural struggles and concerns that arouse from spatial reconfigurations within urban areas, changing socio-cultural boundaries, American-Caribbean history and the diasporic movements between the Caribbean and the United States.

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