Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Oswaldo Zavala

Committee Members

Fernando Degiovanni

Magdalena Perkowska

Subject Categories

Latin American Literature


Revolución mexicana, Violencia en Colombia, Violencia, Estado, novelas, Colombia, literatura


In the face of the social and political crises that were both cause and consequence of the Mexican Revolution and the period in Colombia known as “la Violencia”, two state projects were consolidated and dominated the field of power throughout the 20th century. The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) in Mexico and the bipartisan coalition of the National Front in Colombia made use of the notions of revolution and violence, respectively, to legitimize their nation projects. This project investigates the role of the novel in the formation of these two new founding myths, from the urgent literary works that were written at the time of these armed conflicts and through those of the years that followed them. It analyzes how the former were valued or condemned because of their testimonial character and the way they were embedded in the immediate political debates, and how the latter, typically most prestigious works, achieved a place in the national canons due to their aesthetic capacity when referring to violence from a more distant temporal vantage point. When analyzing consecrated works, as well as lesser-known novels, this project also traces the politics of representation and the construction of a hegemonic narrative of the nation.