Roanoke College Student Presents at 2017 National Conference of Undergraduate Research

by Marcus Stewart on April 19, 2017

Dantaé Henderson is a senior majoring in Spanish with concentrations in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL). She presented her research project, “Du Bois’s Double consciousness and The Afro-Peruvian Identity in Victoria Santa Cruz, ‘Me Gritaron Negra’”, at the 2017 National Conference of Undergraduate Research (NCUR) at the University of Memphis. Dantaé finished her project while completing her independent study for the Spanish major with Dr. Bañuelos-Montes.

She decided to investigate this topic because of her interest in analyzing literature and connecting literature to different theories.

“Vitoria Santa Cruz’s poem, “Me gritaron negra”, reveals how the paradigms of the dominant groups are formed and how the marginalized groups, in this study the Afro-Peruvians, are forced to deny the racial characteristics and cultural manifestations that make up their cultural identity. The stereotypes that separate the groups by race continue to create racial divisions in which the superior groups impose whiteness as the norm, thus imposing a colonialist idealism that categorizes marginalized groups as inferior. Victoria Santa Cruz’s poem is a reaction to the dominant discourse that poses as a threat to nationalism because such discourses manifest a process of acculturation and denial of the Afro-Peruvian’s identity. How does Victoria Santa Cruz resist this discourse of superiority? To understand this process, I will use W.E. B. Du Bois’ concept of double consciousness. The dominant discourse provides a realistic representation of how Afro-Peruvians are depicted in a traditional manner, which maintains, still, colonial stereotypes. This image impacts the perceptions of the Afro-Peruvian, as the dominant discourse continues to expose the stereotypical image; Du Bois believes that the marginalized individual will identify with that message on the long-term. This is the dialogue of the first part of the poem. The second part of the poem alludes to Du Bois’ attainment of the, “self-consciousness…into a better and truer self.” By applying Du Bois theory, I can argue that Victoria Santa Cruz creates an Afro-Peruvian subject that moves from the margin to the center, the creation of the Afro-Peruvian identity”.

Dantaé enjoyed having chance to work with Dr. Bañuelos-Montes.

“It was a great opportunity to utilize the knowledge and specialties of a specific professor because sometimes in the classroom they are not able to work one on one with a student and do a more profound research”.

Dantaé found the experience of presenting her research at NCUR very exciting.

“I never thought that an idea could turn into me presenting this research and defending in a foreign setting. It gave me experience that will help me in my future studies”.

To anyone thinking about doing research at Roanoke, Dantaé suggests you take the opportunity.

“It is a great way to specifically take on a topic that interests you that may not be to do in your regular classes”.

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