Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ofelia Schutte, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Charles Guignon, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Stephen Turner, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Joanne Waugh, Ph.D.


Nietzsche, Language, Postcolonial, Hybridity, Hermeneutics


This dissertation addresses the question of marginalization in cross-cultural communication from the perspectives of hermeneutic philosophy and postcolonial theory. Specifically, it focuses on European colonialism‘s effect on language and communicative practices in Latin America. I argue colonialism creates a deeply sedimented but unacknowledged background of inherited cultural prejudices against which social and political problems of oppression, violence and marginalization, especially towards women, emerge—but whose roots in colonial and imperial frameworks have lost transparency. This makes it especially difficult for postcolonial subjects to meaningfully express their own experiences of psychic dislocation and fragmentation because the discursive background used to communicate these experiences is made up of multiple, sometimes conflicting traditions. To address this problem, I turn to a strategic use of Nietzsche‘s conceptions of subjectivity and language as metaphor to engage the unique difficulties that arise in giving voice to the subaltern experience. Thus, I argue that while colonialism introduces an added layer of complexity to philosophical discussions of language, the concrete particularities and political emergencies of Latin American history necessitate an account of language that can speak to these concrete particularities. To this end, I develop a conception of, what I call, ―hydric life,‖ a postcolonial feminist hermeneutics that better accommodates these cultural specificities.