Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Magdalena Perkowska

Committee Members

Carlos Riobó

Oswaldo Zavala

Subject Categories

Latin American Literature | Latin American Studies | Women's Studies


Salvadoran Literature, Salvadoran Civil War Poetry, Language, Kenny Rodriguez, Leyla Quintana, Eva Ortiz, Feminist Theory, Salvadoran History, Guerrilla Women, Salvadoran Women Poets, Salvadoran History


This dissertation analyzes the literary production of Leyla Quintana, Kenny Rodríguez, and Eva Ortiz, three Salvadoran poets who participated actively in the Civil War of El Salvador (1980-1992), and produced their literary work in that same period. It explores, from the perspective of Nomadism developed by Rosi Braidotti, the resignification of the feminine subjectivity, as well as the construction of new figurations in order to articulate a counter discourse that challenges the official hegemonic and heteropatriarcal narrative. In the same order, it questions the validity of the cultural codes established and imposed by those groups that hold the political and economic power. These female poets of the war opt for the “margin”, as defined by bell hooks, a place of resistance and multiple possibilities and, in the textual space and as located subjects, they appropriate or claim their sexual difference and the axes of differentiation that intersect it. By means of this appropriation, Quintana, Rodríguez, and Ortiz formulate in their poetics other discursive codes that allow them to de-identify themselves from that feminine subjectivity erected by the heteropatriarcal vision. This process of de-identification enables them to transgress the social norms, scrutinize and redefine themselves, elaborate a counter History (as theorized by Foucault) of the Salvadoran civil war, and cartography new routes towards the construction of their own female genealogy. These poets are active agents that resignify themselves and by doing that, they transcend their own individuality.

On the other hand, in order to disseminate their literary work, Quintana, Rodríguez, and Ortiz opt for alternative spaces (independent publishing houses, cartoneras, poetry festivals, literary groups, non-profit organizations, among others) that surfaced during the postwar period and are run by poets, writers, feminine organizations, and cultural activists with a vision of culture and literature that opposes the official vision regulated, in terms of Bourdieu, by a habitus that perpetuates the reproduction of policies and practices of domination and exclusion, and that continues to eclipse the contributions of non-canonical writers. Women writers suffer, in this context, a double exclusion. In the margins, poets and cultural activists create new possibilities in order to have access to what Bourdieu called “the cultural capital”. In other words, from the periphery, they propose the resignification of the editorial and literary fields through the creation and application of heterodox and inclusive cultural practices and policies that recognize, legitimize, and make the non-canonical writers visible. Although the civil war ended 25 years ago, the interest for the past and the ideals that characterized that period continue to be present in the spaces above described, located in the margins. It’s in the periphery of the editorial field where the literary production of the civil war is being published, where the cultural workers are proposing the conservation of the historic memory through that literary work, as a project that creates social awareness and help secure the identitary processes among the youth and the population in general. It is in the margins where one can glimpse an invigorating and hopeful scene for the Salvadoran poetry, women writers, and literature.