Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Latin American, Iberian and Latino Cultures


Paul Julian Smith

Committee Members

Fernando Degiovanni

Jean Graham-Jones

Luis Alegre Zahonero

Marta Segarra

Subject Categories

Latin American Languages and Societies


Spain, queer, performance, crisis, fiesta


This dissertation studies performing arts practices that reimagine Spanishness after the 2008 financial crisis from a theoretical framework based in queer temporalities. I argue how the recession not only allowed Spanish citizens to claim their rights through the organization of social movements such as the 15M or through cultural objects mimetically representing the crisis through a variety of artistic expressions, but that the 2008 financial crisis also enabled a wide range of creators to reimagine how the Spanish State has been traditionally represented. The contemporary performers I study in my dissertation originally propose new visions of the commons by calling on official representations of the nation. My dissertation proposes the understudied theoretical notion of heterocrony (Foucault) to group a creative movement that advocates for a queer present in opposition to the long-held straight future that ruled in Spain until 2008. They do so through performances that intersect with the notion of fiesta in what I call “performances festivas.” I frame this new critical, cultural, and theoretical paradigm as the “España rarita.”

The first chapter of my dissertation analyzes three performance art artists (Abel Azcona, Niño de Elche, and Vértebro) whose work challenges national symbols (national holiday, anthem, and flag) in a moment when the national promise of happiness fails (Ahmed, Halberstam) with the arrival of the crisis. The second chapter engages three activist collectives (Flo6x8, anti-bullfighting associations, and the Archicofradía del Coño insumiso) that disidentify (Muñoz) with flamenco, bullfighting, and Holy Week processions trough ruptural performances (Perucci) that call on State abuse during the crisis. The third chapter pays attention to three mainstream artists (Rosalía, the Javis, and Palomo Spain) who call on filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar’s universe to promote a millennial Spanish brand (“Marca España”) that cosmetically hides and tacitly visibilizes the consequences of the crisis for the millennial generation. My dissertation concludes how the “España rarita” develops at the same time the State reinforces its official representations (symbols, patrimony, brand) through politics that ended up translating into the recent rise of reactionary forces in Spain.