This dissertation pursues a new strategy for the study of contemporary Mexican
narrative —particularly that which is produced on the border with the United States—
using human rights as an analytical framework. By examining Mexican narrative
through a human rights hermeneutics, I argue that we can better situate the intricate
negotiations among legal, cultural, and political discourses of subjectivity they set in
motion. This negotiation is particularly fraught in the wake of the terrorist attacks of
September 11, 2001 and the drastic shift in public and legal stances on immigration that
followed them. The dissertation’s introduction outlines human rights theory and
positions this study of resistance literature at the nexus between postcolonial, legal, and
human rights theory. Chapter One examines the notion that immigrants are vulnerable
subjects of human rights as recognized by intergovernmental organizations such as the
International Labor Organization, the United Nations, and the Organization of
American States. It then further reviews this condition as portrayed through
international laws and treaties designed by the above entities to protect these subjects.
Chapter Two demonstrates that immigration policies established by state and federal
authorities in the United States breach international treaties and have caused the “criminalization” of Mexican immigrants. Here, I analyze ethnographic and statistical
data from the perspective of cultural anthropology with the purpose of finding an
explanation of the relationship between human rights violations of Mexican immigrants and the increment of border enforcement in the United States. Chapter three sets up the
analytical categories derived from the framework created in the first two chapters and
establishes a dialogue between human rights and Mexican narratives depicting
immigrants. The following chapters then apply these categories to the study of an array
of literary works created by Mexican authors such as Luis Humberto Crosthwaite, Hugo
Salcedo, J. Humberto Robles Arenas, Victor Hugo Rascón Banda, and Rosario
Sanmiguel. In particular, I look to examine the ways in which these works represent the
effects of human rights violations of Mexican immigrants and thereby enter into salient
debates within the field of human rights, mainly the debate regarding national
sovereignty versus individual rights.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. August 2009. Major: Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures and Linguistics. Advisor: Luis A. Ramos-García. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 315 pages. Ill. (some col.) + 1 computer file (PDF); English title page
Reyes Zaga, Héctor Alberto.
Migración y Derechos Humanos: Un encuentro multidisciplinario en la narrativa mexicana contemporánea.
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