Author ORCID Identifier

Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Susan Larson


This dissertation studies identity formation and race informed by the discipline Whiteness Studies. As such this dissertation conceptualizes Spanish Whiteness historically and analyzes its representation in Spanish narrative in prose and film. This research responds to two questions: 1) How has Spanish culture historically instrumentalized Blackness thus contributing to the creation of the Western’s conceptualization of Whiteness? 2) What does Spanish representation of Empire say about its Whiteness? In an effort to answer these questions, this study is divided into two parts that correspond to the conceptualization and representation of what are termed ‘Situational Whiteness’ and ‘Imperial Spanish Orientalism.’ I argue that both are the result of a Spanish differential exceptionalism based on Orientalist cultural practices of tactical assimilation, by means of which the Black experience is subsumed on the margins as a part of Spanish Whiteness.

To prove this hypothesis, Spanish Whiteness is conceptualized for the purpose of exploring the strategies of tactical assimilation of the Spanish Orientalism (Hispanism, Arabism, Africanism, Hispanotropicalism) towards its former colonies in Latin America and Africa. In addition, the contrasting cases of instrumentalization of Blackness as resistance in José Martí and Fernando Ortiz’s notion of Cuban racial ‘counterpoint’ as well as and the racial ‘particularism’ of Joan Maragall and Blas Infante inform cultural notions of Spanish Whiteness as well as its fragmentation. In the second part of this dissertation, the analysis focuses on understudied cases of the Spanish Imperial Whiteness’s representation in relation to Equatorial Guinean and Afro-Cuban Blackness.

The overall propose of this research is, on the one hand, to explain how the situational nature of Spanish Whiteness is present throughout foundational moments in diverse forms of Spanish Orientalism; and, on the other hand, to inform Whiteness Studies from a different cultural angle thus providing the discipline with a transnational bridge towards a better understanding of white processes of racial formation, historical strategies and cultural forms of structural domination.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)