Changing Women, Changing Nation

Female Agency, Nationhood, and Identity in Trans-Salvadoran Narratives

By Yajaira M. Padilla

Subjects: Latin American Studies, Hispanic Studies, Women's Studies, Literary Criticism
Series: SUNY series in Latin American and Iberian Thought and Culture
Paperback : 9781438442761, 199 pages, January 2013
Hardcover : 9781438442778, 199 pages, July 2012

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Table of contents

Introduction: Writing Women into Nation, War, and Migration
1. Campesina as Nation: Feminine Resistance and Power in Manlio Argueta’s Un día en la vida and Cuzcatlán: Donde bate la Mar del Sur

2. Making Militants and Mothers: Rethinking the Image of the Guerrillera in Women’s Revolutionary Testimonios
3. Setting La diabla Free: Women, Violence, and the Struggle for Representation in Postwar El Salvador
4. ¿Hermanas lejanas?: Female Immigrant Subjectivities and the Politics of Voice in the Salvadoran Transnational Imagined Community
5. Salvadoran-American Sleuthing in the U. S. South and Beyond: McPeek Villatoro’s Romilia Chacón Mystery Series
Works Cited

Analyzes the literary representations of women in Salvadoran and US-Salvadoran narratives since 1980.


Changing Women, Changing Nation explores the literary representations of women in Salvadoran and US-Salvadoran narratives during the span of the last thirty years. This exploration covers Salvadoran texts produced during El Salvador's civil war (1980–1992) and the current postwar period, as well as US-Salvadoran works of the last two decades that engage the topic of migration and second-generation ethnic incorporation into the United States. Rather than think of these two sets of texts as constituting separate literatures, Yajaira M. Padilla conceives of them as part of the same corpus, what she calls "trans-Salvadoran narratives"—works that dialogue with each other and draw attention to El Salvador's burgeoning transnational reality. Through depictions of women in trans-Salvadoran narratives, Padilla elucidates a "story" of female agency and nationhood that extends beyond El Salvador's national borders and imaginings.

Yajaira M. Padilla is Associate Professor of Central American and US Latina/o Literatures and Cultures at the University of Kansas.


"Changing Women, Changing Nation is a project of intellectual significance. Evidencing great mastery of theory, while prioritizing the concrete analysis of specific texts, Padilla reframes our understanding of the impact of the Central American imaginary not only in its place of origin, but also within mainstream US culture. " — Arturo Arias, author of Taking Their Word: Literature and the Signs of Central America