Semester of Graduation

Fall 2023 (1S2024)


Master of Arts (MA)


World Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Document Type



This thesis examines the Puerto Rican Bomba as a multifaceted cultural and political phenomenon, focusing on its pivotal role in challenging and subverting the enduring issues of racial and gender discrimination on the Island. Drawing from an interdisciplinary framework that encompasses cultural studies, anthropology, history, performance and film studies, this research elucidates the complex interplay between Bomba's rhythmic and choreographic elements, its historical evolution, and its contemporary significance in the context of Puerto Rico's sociopolitical landscape. By analyzing Bomba's historical roots in African and indigenous traditions, its adaptation during colonial and post-colonial eras, and its ongoing relevance in the struggle for social justice, this study explores how Bomba has functioned as a vehicle for resistance and empowerment. Through a comprehensive examination of documentaries, user-generated videos, and ethnographic fieldwork, this thesis uncovers the ways in which Bomba has provided marginalized communities in Puerto Rico with a platform for self-expression, collective identity formation, and resistance against systemic discrimination. Furthermore, it delves into the gender dynamics within Bomba, shedding light on the role of the subjectivities in challenging traditional gender norms through their participation in this dance form. The findings of this research contribute to a deeper understanding of the intricate connections between culture, identity, and social change in Puerto Rico, ultimately emphasizing the enduring significance of Bomba as a means to challenge racial and gender discrimination on the Island.



Committee Chair

Morris, Andrea E.