Date of Award

Spring 4-1-2016

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Lorecia Kaifa Roland

Second Advisor

Payson Sheets

Third Advisor

Jennifer Shannon

Fourth Advisor

Joe Bryan

Fifth Advisor

Stephen Lekson


Mestizo identity has been long used as a way to homogenize the cultural and biological diversity of Nicaragua. Mestizo, as a hegemonic identity, refers to culturally modern people (no indigenous cultural practices) who live in urban areas, speak Spanish and practice Catholicism. Government representations in tourism narratives reignited a colonial identity, contrary to the official multicultural national discourse (Chapter 2). Tourism, its economic effects, along with its cultural impact indicate that mestizos as well as indigenous people are going through an identity crisis rooted in the intense cultural destruction of the colonial policies continued during the creation of the Nicaraguan nation-state (Chapter 3). Such ethnic disruption affects mestizo identity, mainly because it remains, at best, broadly defined. My analysis glimpses into the direction of new investigation of the redefinition of the mestizo identity from the inhabitants of Granada and western Nicaragua (Chapter 4). Granada is where the process of mestizaje has been most noticeable and tourism most pervasive.