Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS)


Mexican American Studies

First Advisor

Dr. Cathryn Merla-Watson

Second Advisor

Dr. Amy Cummins

Third Advisor

Dr. Marci R. McMahon


This thesis explores how Chicana/o cultural producers redeploy conventions of horror in order to explore the lived experiences of Latinx, particularly in South Texas. To do so, I will examine texts such as Sandra Cisneros's classic 1992 short story "Woman Hollering Creek," Terri de la Peña’s 1996 short story “Refugio” and Christopher Carmona's award-winning 2015 short story "Strange Leaves" and Josefina Lopez’s 2011 play “Detained in the Desert” through the lens of domestic horror. This thesis will demonstrate how the horrific is "differential," that is, how what we consider horrific is thoroughly racialized, gendered, classed, and sexualized. The thesis will illustrate how Chican@ fiction challenges the dominant narrative and redeploys horror as a tool for collective action against the systematic oppression of immigrants. More specifically, I will show how these corpus lends insight into the affective--and horrific--experience of gendered oppression.


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