Date of Award

8-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Modern Foreign Languages

Major Professor

Michael H. Handelsman

Committee Members

Oscar Rivera-Rodas, Nuria Cruz-Camara, Chad Black

Abstract

This dissertation contributes to the study of Ecuadorian literature from the first fifty years of the twentieth century, not just as an isolated discourse, but as part of a multidisciplinary project of re-reading the nation-building project through literature. In that regard, the literary works of The Grupo de Guayaquil are examined as a primary resource to understand how the hegemonic social forces of the period imposed their one-dimensional perspective about the nation without considering the views held by those communities often referred to as subalternized. Special attention is given to how these same works of fiction constituted an expression of social and cultural resistance inspired by numerous marginalized communities which, today, constitute the foundation of a twenty-first century Ecuador that struggles to reconcile itself with its pluricultural and plurinational condition.

In order to achieve the goal of this dissertation it was necessary to study Hugo Mayo´s poetry work. Mayo´s vanguard text helps to understand the influence of this movement not just in art, but in the way of creating new symbols of identity and territorial space. The Grupo of Guayaquil transcends the vanguard and demonstrates the violent displacement of subalternized communities, specifically the montuvio, who suffered from the effects of the ideal of modernity. After 1941 the intention of establishing within literature the idea of diversity of The Grupo of Guayaquil failed. The mestizaje project created by Benjamín Carrion consolidates all the efforts to implement a homogeneous republic with the mestizo identity as its symbol of unity.

Within a larger Latin American context, the present study is part of an extensive effort to bring to the forefront of Latinamerican Studies the decolonial perspectives that allow reflection about a region, in this particular case the Andean Region, which is struggling to recover and to learn from the voices of those communities that have long been silenced, not only since colonial times but also throughout modernity.

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