Date of Award

Spring 1-1-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Leila Gómez

Second Advisor

Tania Martuscelli

Third Advisor

Andres Prieto

Fourth Advisor

Celeste Montoya

Fifth Advisor

Robert Buffington


This dissertation explores the different ways testimonial narratives about Central American women represent and resist repressive governments, patriarchal culture and North American imperialism during the Cold War. The texts I study are: (1) Margaret Randall’s “Somos millones…”: la vida de Doris María, combatiente nicaragüense (1977), (2) Elizabeth Burgos’ Me llamo Rigoberta Menchú y así me nació la conciencia (1983), and (3) Medea Benjamin’s Don’t be Afraid, Gringo. A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart: The Story of Elvia Alvarado (1987). I use feminist and queer analytics to explore the narrators’ diverse positionalities and reveal the conditions from which their unique brands of de-colonial feminism emerged. This dissertation also analyzes the forms of gendered oppression that the speakers describe in their testimonies, including but not limited to: a lack of decent paid employment opportunities for women (Doris Tijerino), rape as a tactic of war (Rigoberta Menchú), and domestic violence (Elvia Alvarado).