Document Type


Date of Degree

Spring 2017

Degree Name

PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)

Degree In


First Advisor

Martín-Estudillo, Luis

First Committee Member

Méndez Rodenas, Adriana

Second Committee Member

Barbosa, Maria José

Third Committee Member

Filios, Denise K.

Fourth Committee Member

Muñoz, Luis


This dissertation, Emancipated Peripheries. Politics of Spatial Representation in the Re-imagined Iberia, explores how the emergence of Basque, Galician and Asturian literatures has changed the web of relations between these literatures and the other consolidated Iberian literatures (Castilian, Portuguese, and Catalan), and how the coexistence of these literatures in the Iberian Peninsula forces us to re-conceptualize Iberian space as the place where the identity of a certain linguistic community is performed, understanding space in a performative way. This dissertation questions two predominant assumptions: first, that peripheral literatures are nothing but small imitations of national literatures, and that they follow the same paradigm at a minor scale, with minor achievements which are significant only in their own context. Second, that there is a centripetal center towards which every cultural movement tends to refer. I argue that peripheral Iberian literatures establish themselves as new interconnected centers of cultural production that are no longer dependent, but rather are inter-dependent, transforming the periphery into a privileged place for renovation and the formulation of new cultural proposals and tendencies. This reading of the Iberian context also invites a new reading of the Castilian canon, unearthing hidden masterpieces and alternative readings of the tradition. A post-colonial, ecocritical and biopolitical approach to these issues allows an in-depth understanding of what has been hidden: alternative conceptions of modernity, dissimilar readings of the literary canon, and the strong and concealed voices of the peripheral, the women, or the rural.

This dissertation examines how peripheral literatures (and among these I include a certain reading of the Castilian tradition) redefine the relation between the human and non-human, masculine and feminine, nature and culture (focusing on the poetry of the Galician poet Olga Novo); how they draw new symbolic maps of the Iberian literatures and their traditions (as the Asturian writer Xuan Bello does); how they recover the lost memory of certain communities (studying novels by Basque writer Iñigo Aranbarri and the Castilian novelist Julio Llamazares, as well as video installations by artists like Barbara Fluxá or Iván Cortázar); and how certain literary works propose a new web of relations between peripheries (analyzing the novels by the Portuguese writer Valter Hugo Mãe).

Public Abstract

This dissertation deals with the new webs of relations established between the different literatures in the Iberian Peninsula after the restoration of democracy. The emergence of democratic governments in Portugal (1974) and in Spain (1975) completely changed not only the political landscape of the Iberian Peninsula but also its cultural map. In particular, Franco´s consecutive governments had enacted policies against the use of any other language than Spanish (i. e., Catalan, Galician, Basque, and Asturian). Democracy represented the opportunity for these languages, and their literatures, to re- awaken. The once central role of Spanish Literature became just one among equals; and peripheral literatures established new webs of relations, influences, and sympathies.

Specifically, this dissertation explores how these changes affected these literatures not only at the level of influences, but also, and above all, as a way to re-imagine the space they reflect. First, I focus on how Franco´s dictatorship carried out policies of urban planning (for example, the construction of new geometrically designed cities) and population movements with the goal of controlling public spaces, comparing this with contemporary books in Spanish, Basque, and Galician which reclaim a different perspective over that conception of space. Next, I explore on how new Iberian poetry in Galician and Asturian create a new spatial perspective by re-centering their own territories in relation to Castile (the Spanish ‘heartland’), and how they establish a completely new understanding of the land. Finally, I show how certain Portuguese novels propose a new understanding of the relations among peripheries.


Ecocriticism, Iberian Studies, Spatial Humanities


vi, 294 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 276-294).


Copyright © 2017 Martín López-Vega