Communication ETDs


Diana Leon

Publication Date



This thesis focuses on Showtimes series Dexter as a rich text through which to study the production and consumption of racial and gender representations in media. More specifically, this research examines the representation of a prominent Latina character (Captain Maria LaGuerta) in Dexter and the audience readings of this character to explore the co-construction of contemporary discourses on Latinidad. On the basis of a critical discourse analysis of the television text and online viewer comments, I discuss relations between the meanings encoded in the text and the meanings co-constructed interactively by audiences online, and the ideological implications of such discourse on Latinidad given the current climate of racial relations in the United States. The analysis shows how a seemingly progressive representation of a Latina in a breakthrough role that over-steps 'old' racial and gender boundaries, does not break down the reproduction of stereotypical representations and notions of Latinidad based on homogeneity, symbolic colonization, and immigration as markers of Latina/o identity. In addition, the analysis shows how notions of Latinidad link Latina/os to ideologies of race and gender to which other minority groups are often associated in contemporary conservative discourse.




Communication Latinidad Television

Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Advisor

Rodriguez, Ilia

First Committee Member (Chair)

Washington, Myra

Second Committee Member

Rodriguez, Ilia

Third Committee Member

Lopez, Nancy