Year of Publication

2010

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Ana Rueda

Abstract

Spanish migration narratives and films present a series of conflicting forces: the assumptions of entitlement of both Western and Oriental patriarchal authority, the claims to autonomy and self determination by guardians of women’s rights, the confrontations between advocates of exclusion and hospitality in the host society, and the endeavor of immigrant communities to maintain traditions while they integrate into Spanish society. Taking into consideration current theories of space, mobility, feminism, and assimilation, I center my analysis on four significant moments of migration: the inundation of Western media in other countries that inspires individuals to find alternatives to poverty and oppression; the trauma of the physical and emotional separation from the land of origin; the trials of adjustments to an unknown and, at times, hostile culture; and the construction of a new community within a host society.

The works give testimony to how contact with different cultures, religions, and languages has given way to a unique space between Western images and multicultural realities where power, identities, and destinies are negotiated. Exploring the patterns of displacement and gender roles, I point out how some authors align themselves with the power structures that stifle immigrants’ initiatives, while others choose to challenge the status quo. This space creates an opportunity for change propelled principally by the courage, agency, and mobility of female characters that weaken patriarchal domination in Muslim society and counter powerful Western ideologies. The resulting new culture imbued with personal values rekindles Hispanic-Moroccan historical links and opens the door to a revived multicultural, multilingual, multiethnic Spanish identity. I argue that the determination of the female characters is the key to the changes taking place in the twenty-first century Spanish society, which, according to Spanish migration narratives and films, could anticipate the dissolution of the Fortress Europe and the consolidation of integration. Establishing a dialogue between opposing forces, my analysis invites readers and viewers of the narrated process of immigration to consider their own personal positions on such a pressing issue.

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