Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Magdalena Perkowska

Committee Members

Oswaldo Zavala

Paul Julian Smith

Subject Categories

Latin American Literature | Other Film and Media Studies | Spanish Literature


Ciudad, city, neoliberalism, neoliberalismo, Centro America, producciones culturales, posguerra, Central America, cultural productions


This project researches the radical change that the peace treaty of the 1990s brought to Central American societies in connection with economic models. Specifically, it examines the way in which the implementation of neoliberal policies has transformed the cities concerning the spatial and the social; consequently, resulting in an important urban shift in regard to postwar cultural productions. I build a theoretical model organizes the investigation in three representative examples of Central American urban imaginaries (The Visible, The Invisible, and the Imaginable) so as to enlighten and/or enrich the analysis of the region’s urban social realities—examined in detail in a selection of six contemporary films and texts. With this in mind, I center the dissertation around four goals: to draft and explain a theory of the Central American urban imaginaries in accordance with the researched neoliberal urban theory, to illustrate the concepts of urban neoliberal utopia (overexposure) and dystopia (underexposure) represented within the cultural productions, and to display alternative ways of apprehending the neoliberal city from within such productions that escape the utopic and dystopic dichotomy (metaexposure). Through this investigation I emphasize the importance of studying urban imaginaries in cultural productions by distinguishing how these representations are themselves an invitation to be critical of the implications that urban structures bring forth for the spaces, but also—and especially—for the social body.