Date of Award
Master of Arts in American Studies (MAST)
Dr. LeeAnn Lands
Dr. Debarati Sen
Murga is a popular carnival genre in Montevideo, Uruguay. Carnival in Montevideo lasts 40 days in the summer months of January through March but is different from carnival celebrations in Argentina and Brazil. Carnival performances are competitive and occur in neighborhood stages (tablados de barrio) and private stages (tablados comerciales). A government body judges performances to determine a winning group from each of the five performance genres: Sociedad de Negros y Lubolos, Revista, Humorista, Parodista, and Murga. Murga is a musical and theatrical performance that utilizes satire to convey dissent towards quotidian occurrences of heteronormativity. Numerous communities outside of Montevideo express dissent through satire, but these expressions are usually not part of mainstream culture. In Montevideo, murga’s satirical dissent informs popular culture and identity; what this thesis refers to as hegemonic dissent. From the perspective of Transnational Feminism, and through the methods of critical discourse analysis and ethnography, murga offers its spectators a lesson in critical thinking through its satirical discourse. When complicity with murga leads to visibility of oppressive systems of power, it becomes an interstice that makes oppression visible and open for discussion. Visibility of, and dissent towards, oppressive systems of power may lead to decolonizing the mind. When a group of individuals participate collectively in this exercise at neighborhood stages (tablados de barrio), decolonizing the mind can be a politicized act of hegemonic cultural citizenship that makes sense of the world outside of heteronormativity.