Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Jerry Carlson

Subject Categories

Caribbean Languages and Societies | Film and Media Studies


Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Film, Caribbean Film, tourism, paradise


As one of the regions most economically dependent on tourism in the world, the Caribbean is a place where the impacts of colonial myth-making remain viscerally felt. Long framed as a tropical “paradise,” the Caribbean has been marked by campaigns to package and promote the region as idyllic, picturesque, and available for (primarily Western) consumption. Building upon the writings of Krista Thompson, Ian Gregory Strachan, and Angelique V. Nixon, Disrupting Paradise connects the myth of “paradise” and the modern tourism industry to the long, extractive history of colonialism in the region. Taking shape as a film series, this project examines the ways in which filmmakers and artists have sought to unravel such illusions, exposing the myth of “paradise” and its tropes (manicured beaches and vast resorts, for example) as modern extensions of colonialism. This white paper will focus on three case studies—films by Joiri Minaya, Natalia Cabral and Oriol Estrada, and Sofia Gallisá Muriente—that express core themes of the proposed series: a commitment to working class stories, an emphasis on hybridity and non-linear narratives, and subversion of the tropes of ethnographic film.