Type of Document Dissertation Author Hennes, Heather R. Author's Email Address email@example.com URN etd-07012005-174227 Title The Spaces of a Free Spirit: Manuela Sáenz in Literature and Film Degree Doctor of Philosophy Department Modern Languages, Department of Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title Santa Arias Committee Chair Barney Warf Committee Member Brenda Cappuccio Committee Member Roberto Fernández Committee Member Keywords
- Spanish America
- Manuela Sáenz
Date of Defense 2005-06-14 Availability unrestricted AbstractTHE SPACES OF A FREE SPIRIT: MANUELA SAENZ IN LITERATURE AND FILM
This project studies the various ways in which representations of space have been used to gender Manuela Sáenz Aispuru in literary, epistolary, and cinematic texts. I approach this study with an understanding of gender as a social space delineated by the subject's relationship to other individuals, entities, and ideas, and made intelligible through each individual's experience of physical and mental spaces. My framework draws from feminist, queer, and geographical theories, including those of Teresa de Lauretis, Judith Halberstam, Elizabeth Grosz, Gillian Rose, and Henri Lefèbvre. By reading representations of Sáenz through a lens of space, I respond to the growing interest in this historical figure and to the call made by scholars such as Nela Martínez, María Cifuentes, and Sarah Chambers to study the complexities of Sáenz's identity and historical significance.
In the first part of this project, I analyze the ways in which three of Sáenz's male contemporaries-Jean Baptiste Boussingault, Ricardo Palma, and Simón Bolívar-represent her and her transgressions of gender norms in their memoirs, essays, and letters, respectively. I find that Boussingault and Palma portray Sáenz as an unnatural and perverse individual because she handles her body space in ways contrary to hegemonic femininity. However, Bolívar, as her
lover and as General-in-chief of the Colombian Army, writes from a compromised positionality, from which he negotiates with Sáenz the limits to her transgressions into the masculine spheres of politics and military participation. In the second part, I examine Sáenz's personal letters and diaries, studying her self-representation in light of her ability to appropriate, manipulate, and navigate physical and mental spaces that have been culturally codified as either masculine or feminine. I find that by linking these manipulations of gendered spaces to the political, ideological, and geographical space of revolutionary Spanish America, she establishes for herself both a coherent identity and a sense of agency. Finally, I analyze Diego Rísquez's 2002 film Manuela Sáenz, Libertadora del Libertador, analyzing how the film depicts Manuela's appearance and movement within gendered spaces in order to construct her as a symbol of freedom, of rebellion, and of women's rights.
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