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Las ciudades del deseo: Las políticas de género, sexualidad y espacio urbano en el Caribe hispano

Elena Valdez

Las ciudades del deseo: Las políticas de género, sexualidad y espacio urbano en el Caribe hispano explores the representations of gender, sexuality and urban space in the contemporary narrative from Cuba, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. By examining a corpus of novels published since 2000, the book shows how the changes in urban landscape create a new image of the city that destroys traditional gender roles and produces different discourses on sexuality. At moments of crisis in political agendas that took place between 1990 and 2000 queer subjects become spokespeople to outline new national projects on each island, while claiming space in the national imaginary. The nation is no longer on blood ties, patriarchal norms, or biological procreation, but rather starts incorporating previously excluded racial identities and sexual practices that point towards a necessity of an alternative future. By juxtaposing the narratives of the three countries and putting into dialogue the topics of nationality, sexuality, urban space and sex tourism widely researched by Latin American and Caribbean scholars, Las ciudades del deseo breaks away from a tradition that tends to study them separately. In contrast to much scholarship on the Hispanic Caribbean, it contributes new perspectives on an emerging culture of resistance to heteronormative dynamics and power structures that is developing simultaneously in Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. It enlarges Caribbean studies by offering a nuanced examination of sexuality in contemporary Dominican literature and sheds light on larger connections between literature and LGBTQ activism in the Spanish-speaking Caribbean.


"This project is particularly interested in studying the ways in which the approach to sexuality (sexualities) in these novels de liberately disassembles traditional binary approaches that have rested fundamentally on the heterosexual matrix. This binarism is perceived by the author as a contributor to the creation and preservation of foundational myths and patriarchal readings of spaces and cultures, subjects and citizens of the Hispanic Caribbean. Turning this approach on its heels, this monograph explores policies and traditions on gender and sexuality in these urban spaces from an alternative perspective, one that is often hidden and silenced within the discussions that express opinions or attempt to codifythe citizens who should represent the nation."

—Myrna García-Calderón, Syracuse University

Elena Valdez is a Lecturer of Spanish at Christopher Newport University. She received her Ph.D. in Hispanic Literature from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, where she also completed her M.A. studies. Prior to joining the faculty at Christopher Newport University, she taught at Swarthmore College.

She specializes in Hispanic Caribbean Literature, U.S. Latina/o literature, 20th–21st Century Latin American Novel, Gender and Queer Studies and Diaspora Studies. Within Latina/o and Caribbean studies, her principal interests include queer sexuality, urban space, national identity and visual culture. She has publis hed a number of articles on contemporary Caribbean literature in edited volumes and peer-reviewed journals such as CENTRO Journal of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, Small Axe: A Caribbean Journal of Criticism and Letras hispanas. She has presented on a range of topics at professional national and international conferences, such as the Modern Language Association and the Latin American Studies Association. In 2017 she was the NeMLA Summer Fellow, and in 2016 she was a recipient of the Columbia University Libraries Research Award. Her next book project addresses the representations of non-biological motherhood and different ways of mothering in contemporary Hispanic Caribbean cultures. At Christopher Newport University, she teaches courses on Spanish-Speaking Caribbean literature and Latina/o literature, as well as Spanish language courses.



PSRL 86. Paper. $45.00. e-Book available. 


Page last updated on 9 January 2024.

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