I position myself as a feminist theorist and cultural critic with a specific focus on cultural production from women writers and filmmakers of the Caribbean and and its diaspora population located in the US. In the context of my research, feminist theorizing refers to the historical and interdisciplinary task of unearthing the lesser ­known voices of women writers and intellectuals and bringing these voices into dialogue with more familiar texts and authors. As a theorist and philosopher, I consider this search a broad­ scope interdisciplinary task rooted in common theoretical principles. I believe that the discovery of women’s voices from the past constitutes an important contribution to scholarship that examines the relationship between masculine and feminine perspectives and embodiment in different cultural contexts.

In my work as a cultural critic, I focus on texts from Caribbean women writers and filmmakers that demonstrate resistance to oppressions made possible through individual and collective empowerment. I have found Nelly Richard’s Masculine/ feminine paradigm of cultural criticism in which the “feminine” is considered a socio­-cultural force that disrupts the “masculine” objectification of difference through metaphors of a socially unified whole rooted in race, class, and gender hierarchies and inequality useful in this endeavor. Through comparison of the logic, motivating forces and causal relationships at work in representations of power that oppress with empowered representations, my work aims to identify and cultivate understanding of the differences that characterize appropriations of cultural otherness by discourses of power and the empowered voices of resistant subjectivities that stand alone in their articulation of identity.

My dissertation, “Resisting Traditions: The Transformation of Identity Politics in the Work of Three Caribbean Women Writers,” is an example of how I combine my work as a feminist theorist and cultural critic in my scholarship. In this project, I bring together three texts from the Hispanophone Caribbean, In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez, Nuestra Señora de la noche by Mayra Santos­-Febres, and La hija de Cuba by María Elena Cruz Varela as models of fictional biographies that give voice to historical women in their respective national contexts by narrating their lives and the experiences leading up to their role as agents of history and social change. Drawing on the theory and method of cultural critics Jean Franco and Nelly Richard among others, I argue that Alvarez, Santos­-Febres, and Cruz Varela use the lives and work of the Mirabal sisters (1924­-1960 Dominican Republic), Isabel Luberza (1901­-1974 Puerto Rico), and Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda (1814­-1873 Cuba, Spain) as a point of departure for writing a biographical fiction that disrupts cultural messages about race, class and gender identity through penetration into the meaning contexts of race, class, and gender positions within the discursively constructed identity paradigms of their respective national cultures. This is accomplished through a narrative form that presents readers with a biographical account of these historical women’s lives that moves from experience to understanding in its presentation of the protagonist’s character. In doing so, these works resist traditional reading practices that filter textual meaning according to culturally prescribed beliefs and assumptions and explore the historical nuances of race, class and gender positions as a lived reality. In In the Time of the Butterflies, Nuestra Señora de la noche and La hija de Cuba, readers are able to observe the protagonists’ resistance to oppression contextually, as motivated by specific experiences and feelings as they work with others to bring their will into action and transform their social context. At present, I am preparing an article and book manuscript from this material for publication.