Spanish and Portuguese ETDs

Publication Date

Spring 4-15-2022


The issue of violence against reproductive capacity and the right to motherhood in the context of the African diaspora in Brazil and Puerto Rico was systematically placed in the background, especially in the literary field, as was the case with the attitudes of resistance practiced against such violence. Considering this reality, this thesis compares two texts that approach such violence from a place of resistance, evidencing practices of insubordination common to such contexts: “A escrava” (1887) by Maria Firmina dos Reis (1822-1917) and “Matronas” (2012) by Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro (1970). Specifically, this study examines and compares the representational strategies used by the authors to destabilize hegemonic narratives of colonial origin about the body and subjectivity of enslaved women. The reading of both narratives reveals that the authors were able to positively resignify these women's acts of insubordination, breaking with a system that pushes Afro-descendant women into the space of invisibility.

Degree Name

Portuguese (MA)

Level of Degree


Department Name

Spanish and Portuguese

First Committee Member (Chair)

Paulo Dutra

Second Committee Member

Jessica Carey-Webb

Third Committee Member

Felipe Fiuza




motherhood, slavery, resistance, literature, Maria Firmina dos Reis, Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro

Document Type