Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Committee Chair

Lillian Manzor

Committee Member

Rebecca Biron

Committee Member

Sandra Paquet


This dissertation traces the narrative of contemporary Cuban women writers from their early work published in Cuba through their Diaspora narratives. It explores the discursive and narrative techniques that contemporary Cuban women deploy in their narratives to challenge Cuba's dominant cultural constructions of national and gendered identity. I posit that contemporary Cuban women's narratives produced on and off the island display aislamiento (isolation) that serves as a means of "talking back" to Cuba's patriarchal discourses. The introduction presents an overview of recent debates on nation, gender and identity within the context of contemporary Cuban literary history and feminist theory. Chapter one examines the textual and discursive techniques Daína Chaviano deploys in Fábulas de una abuela extraterrestre and El hombre, la hembra y el hambre to expose and denounce dominant discourses on nation and gender. In her insular and Diaspora narratives, Chaviano borrows from and contests various literary works and traditions to rewrite Cuban history and the Canon and "talk back" to those who have sought to construct and silence women. Chapter two investigates the ways Zoé Valdés deconstructs Cuban history and its national icons in order to represent Cubanness. Whereas the first part explores the narrative techniques Valdés and Dulce María Loynaz apply in their novels Sangre azul and Jardín, to contest traditional notions of nation and gender, the second part analyzes La nada cotidiana and elucidates how this text debunks Cuba's revolutionary icons. Chapter three examines the narrative and discursive strategies Yanitzia Canetti utilizes in Al otro lado and Novelita Rosa to represent and undermine gender and national identity. The conclusion offers some insight into the future of Cuban Studies.


Awarded by the University of Miami, Coral Gables, FL in August 2002.