Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Insurgent Poetics: Literature and Alternative Textualities in Contemporary Abya Yala

Burdette, Hannah (2014) Insurgent Poetics: Literature and Alternative Textualities in Contemporary Abya Yala. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

Accepted Version

Download (1MB) | Preview


The last two decades of the 20th and the first decade of the 21st centuries have been marked by a notable increase in indigenous political action as well as an outpouring of texts produced by native authors and poets. Amerindians from Alaska to Chile are increasingly raising their voices and reclaiming the right to represent themselves, in both a political and a discursive sense. This boom in indigenous literature and social movements is arguably one of the most significant occurrences at the turn of the twenty-first century, yet it remains largely understudied on a comparative level. This dissertation seeks to address that gap by expanding the possibilities for North-South dialogue and exploring the commonalities and particularities of different movements across both continents. By critically adopting native activists’ use of the term Abya Yala—meaning “Continent of Plenitude and Maturity” in the Kuna language of Panama—I explore alternative conceptions of space and place that impart a powerful starting point for rethinking comparative, inter-American work through the lens of indigenous studies.

Central to this inquiry is the concept of insurgent poetics, which I introduce to convey a mode of writing that narrates and/or performs acts of resistance and partakes in the struggle for political and intellectual sovereignty. Through an analysis of several novels, essays, and poetry collections from Guatemala, Mexico, Colombia/Venezuela, the Southwestern United States, and Bolivia, I demonstrate that literature constitutes a key weapon in indigenous social movements, as it provides a means of rendering subjugated knowledges visible (visibilizar) and of envisioning alternatives to modernity/coloniality (visualizar). Given that this process of revitalization represents a struggle for autonomy in what is ultimately a poetic (re)creation of the self, I contend that insurgency represents not only the negation of oppression, coloniality, neoliberalism, or the dominant classes (as the case may be), but also the affirmation of possible alternatives to the dominant power structures and systems of knowledge. Contemporary indigenous insurgency thus represents a form cultural resurgence, an emergence into the scene of global politics, and an in-surgence into the sphere of lettered culture and State power.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Burdette, Hannahhab44@pitt.eduHAB44
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMonasterios, Elizabethelm15@pitt.eduELM15
Committee MemberBeverley, Johnbrq@pitt.eduBRQ
Committee MemberDuchesne Winter, Juanduchesne@pitt.eduDUCHESNE
Committee MemberLamana, Gonzalolamana@pitt.eduLAMANA
Committee MemberEiss,
Date: 28 January 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 25 September 2013
Approval Date: 28 January 2014
Submission Date: 24 November 2013
Access Restriction: 5 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 5 years.
Number of Pages: 288
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Hispanic Languages and Literatures
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: indigenous literature, Native American studies, social movements, inter-American studies, decolonization, cultural revitalization
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2014 17:16
Last Modified: 28 Jan 2019 06:15


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item