Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2011

Document Type




First Advisor

Asuncion Horno-Delgado


The purpose of this thesis is to use literature to bridge the gap between two distinct theories: the theory of the intellectual and feminist theory. Initially, I discuss the changing definitions of the intellectual over time—including the definitions presented by Voltaire, Jean- Jacques Rousseau, Antonio Gramsci, and Howard Zinn. However, when evaluated as separate and conflicting theories, each of them fails to depict the complexities of the intellectual as a societal figure. Therefore, I chose to use the characterization of the intellectual presented by Edward Said in Representations of the Intellectual: The 1993 Reith Lectures (1991). Said defines the intellectual in an inclusive rather than exclusive manner by amalgamating previous articulations of the theory of the intellectual to create a nuanced depiction of this societal role. I then continue on to discuss the definition, purpose, and goals of the theory of feminism in general. Furthermore, I distinguish Latin American feminism from general feminist theory citing varying sociocultural factors (i.e. religion and ethnicity) as the underlying purpose for this distinction. After analyzing Respuesta a Sor Filotea de la Cruz (1691) by Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Mujer que sabe latin…(1974) by Rosario Castellanos, and El coloquio de las perras (1991) by Rosario Ferré, I conlude that these three women fulfill the societal roles attributed to the intellectual through their work as Latin American feminist writers. By questioning and criticizing the misogynistic rhetoric and norms of patriarchal society, Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Rosario Castellanos, and Rosario Ferré connect the intellectual and feminist theories.