Date of Award

Spring 6-11-2022

Document Type

M.A. Essay

First Advisor

Carlos Cortez-Minchillo

Second Advisor

Israel Reyes


This essay dissects the language of Latin American revolution and nationalism to locate the body of the black woman and the appropriation of her image. In two seemingly incommensurable radical movements—the Cuban Revolution (1952-1959) and the Brazilian Unified Black Movement (1978-)—the contributions of Black women are unevenly recognized. Reading the poetry of cubanas Nancy Morejón and Georgina Herrera and brasileiras Sônia Fátima and Esmeralda Ribeiro, this essay claims that in both contexts, the Black woman is marginalized to a geographic “elsewhere.” Expanding on this term, coined by scholar Carol Boyce Davies, this essay further identifies temporal and ephemeral “elsewheres.” The “elsewheres” allow Black women a particular space to critique white supremacist, patriarchal, and nationalist violence, transforming sites of marginalization into those of critical resistance. Intervening the works of theorists María Saldaña-Portillo, Audre Lorde, and Saidiya Hartman, this essay suggests that the resistance of Black Cuban and Brazilian women necessarily engage with the historical archetypes of the sexualized mulata and negra. The argument that this essay locates in the poetry is that these images, borne from violence against enslaved black women, endure in periods of radical upheaval. The poetry thus provides alternative, critical modes of resistance.

Original Citation

Keys, Aidan. “Ephemeral Elsewheres: Locating Narratives of Resignation, Resistance, and Refusal in the Poetry of Black Cuban and Black Brazilian Women.” Dartmouth College, 2022.