La subjetividad femenina y la modernidad en Puerto Rico y Brasil (siglos XIX y XX)
My dissertation, Feminine Subjectivity and Discourses of Modernity in Puerto Rico and Brazil (19th and 20th century), explores the construction of modern feminine subjectivities during the social, cultural and industrial modernization of Puerto Rico and Brazil throughout the 19th century. With this investigation I analyze, from the perspective of gender studies and recent analyses of modernity, the construction of the idea of "woman" that derived from marginal discourses focused on notions of progress. For this purpose, I will analyze the works of the following writers from Puerto Rico: Alejandro Tapia y Rivera (1826-1882) and Ana Roqué de Duprey (1853-1933), and from Brazil: Joaquim M. Machado de Assis (1839-1908) and Julia Lopes de Almeida (1862-1934). Studying these writers and their literary production, I will be able to contribute to current debates on how modernization generates new forms of feminine subjectivity. Moreover, these new forms rearrange and transform the process of modernization from a feminine perspective. This approach is essential to the understanding of the cultural production of the modern woman within one of the more complex periods of Latin America's history. In the first part of the dissertation, I explore the novels of Tapia y Rivera and Machado de Assis. These writers present different aspects of spiritualism regarding women. With the work of these two male intellectuals, I will focus on how spiritualism influences femininity while simultaneously participating in new economic forms. In the second part, with the novels of Roqué de Duprey and Lopes de Almeida, I study the dynamics between rural and urban zones and how this impacts the configuration of gender. As a result of these processes of modernization, a modern feminine subjectivity emerged, yet it was one that did not necessarily share the new social and cultural ideals of progress. On the contrary, this subjectivity combined traditional cultural patterns with new ones. This contradiction generates different visions of modernity than that proposed by intellectuals and politicians. This shows how, in Puerto Rico and Brazil, the role of women in modernity allows for new interpretations in this period of crisis and national changes.