Date of Award

2021

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Philosophy (Ph.D)

Department

English

First Advisor

Steven Alvarez

Second Advisor

Raj Chetty

Third Advisor

Shanté P Smalls

Abstract

This dissertation presents trenzando as a method and paradigm for studying how Dominican women resist against various forces (institutions, cultures, ideologies, and individuals) in their lives so they can gain access to sex and sexual pleasure. I use trenzando as a method to study a myriad of texts in order to analyze key moments of resistance that Dominican women have to employ in order to explore their bodies and actually be able to engage in sex and reach any semblance of sexual pleasure. My methodology represents a trenza (a braid), each chapter presents a strand or forces that Dominican women could be accounting for as they navigate sex. That braid is composed of a myriad of source materials that help make up this process as well as the different kinds of writing required of creating a dynamic trenza which is historical, personal, literary, and centered on lived experience. Each chapter is committed to exploring a different set of forces that limit sexual possibilities for second and third- generation Dominican women. In the first two chapters, I grapple with three forces (history, gender, and culture) to get a sense of the transnational conversation and rhetoric surrounding women’s access to sex and sexual pleasure in the study of a popular magazine. In the third chapter, through the study of a set of literary works that document the diasporic journey of leaving the Dominican Republic and coming to the United States, I analyze how Dominican women resist the forces of mother and motherland in order to seek and engage in sex. In the final chapter, I argue that for us to work towards challenging the hegemonic narratives that limit Dominican’s women sexuality, new stories must be circulated. I present how I created a digital repository and gathered stories for it. I also analyze Dominican women’s stories to show the ways in which they resist all the forces outlined in the previous chapters. As I conclude the dissertation, I account for what it means to use trenzando in order to conduct research on Instagram and consider the orgasm as a future for sexual possibility.

Available for download on Thursday, July 20, 2023

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