English Language and Literature ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 8-1-2023


Resistance Narratives: Storytelling of Transnational Insurgencies in 1960-70s US and Mexico emphasizes how the narratives from the Mexican Insurgency, the American Indian Movement (AIM), and the leftist faction of the Chicana/o Movement in the 1960s and 1970s articulate intersecting notions of resistance, liberation, and transnational solidarity. The comparative analysis of the testimonial novel Las mujeres del alba (2019) by Chihuahuan novelist Carlos Montemayor, the autobiographies Lakota Woman (1991) and Ohitika Woman (1993) by Sičháŋǧu Lakȟóta writer and AIM militant Mary Brave Bird (formerly Crow Dog), and the memoirs and plays by the San Diego-based group Teatro de las Chicanas, collected in Teatro Chicana: A Collective Memoir and Selected Plays (2008), traces how the Indigenous oral tradition anchors the narrative resistance of these social movements. Although adapted to modern contexts, they hold on to their roots as transmitters of stories and knowledge that authoritarian regimes would have otherwise erased. Emphasizing the role of women as storytellers and historical agents, Resistance Narratives underscores how women played crucial roles in liberation struggles, arguing that the internalization of colonization and heteropatriarchy devalued their contributions and labor. Centering on women’s narratives unveils the ways in which male militants exhibit significant contradictions through their disregard for women’s perspectives and their tendency to overlook the arduous resistance labor and survival efforts undertaken by their female counterparts. Despite their fervent fight against oppressive conditions that marginalized the colonized and working classes, these men continue to maintain hegemonic gender dynamics that reinforce the subordination of women, thereby devaluing feminized labor and agency that ultimately jeopardized social movements and insurgencies. This dissertation raises the following questions: What imaginaries, Mexican, Chicana/o, and Indigenous authors build around the colonized feminine and masculine experiences of insurgency, decolonization, and counterinsurgency? What contributions, actions, and subjectivities are considered revolutionary? Is someone who has not been politicized or given a choice but carries out duties indispensable to the liberation struggle considered a revolutionary subject? Conversely, is a person who behaves oppressively toward their comrades but otherwise contributes to the struggle still regarded as revolutionary?

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Level of Degree


Department Name


First Committee Member (Chair)

Dr. Bernadine Hernandez

Second Committee Member

Dr. Sarah Hernandez

Third Committee Member

Dr. Pim Higginson

Fourth Committee Member

Dr. Cole Rizki




resistance, narratives, storytelling, insurgency, Chicana/o, Cold War

Document Type