Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences


Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Dierdra Reber


My dissertation analyzes the representation of Spanish “Conquest” in film as a critical commentary on the cultural present. Chapter 1, “Directorial Discord: The Cultural Politics of Representation in Apocalypto (USA/Mexico/UK, 2006) and Retorno a Aztlán (Return to Aztlán, Mexico, 1991)” focuses on the representation of the (im)possibility of Indigenous heroic protagonism and futurity in the origins of “Conquest.” Chapter 2, “‘The World is Thus’: Resistance and the Power of Ambivalent Conversion in Gabriel Retes’s Nuevo Mundo (The New World; Mexico, 1976) and Roland Joffé’s The Mission (USA/Paraguay, 1986)” posits that the “Conquest” problematizes the myth of absolute Indigenous religious conversion to Catholicism via ambivalent spiritual relationships between Spanish priests and their Indigenous converts. Chapter 3, “Capital and the Logic of Self-Preservation in Guillermo del Toro’s Cronos (Mexico, 1993), Fia-Stina Sandlund and Alejo Moguillansky’s El escarabajo de oro or Victorias Hämnd (The Gold Bug, or Victoria’s Revenge; Sweden/Argentina, 2014), and Icíar Bollaín’s También la lluvia (Even the Rain; Spain/Bolivia, 2010)” analyzes the representation of transnational capital on the global stage, where a colonial past links to the contemporary contest for control over Latin American resources. In light of public protests that have destroyed “Conquest” monuments across the globe, I offer my study of these films to analyze the contestatory logic of this movement.