Year of Graduation


Level of Access

Open Access Thesis

Embargo Period


Department or Program

Theater and Dance

First Advisor

Abigail Killeen


Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz (c. 1648-1695) was a Mexican nun, poet, playwright, and scholar from the colonial era. She has become an icon for various global, social, and political movements. This project looks at four dramatic works created by Sorjuanistas who reimagine Sor Juana’s story for contemporary audiences living in the United States. The works included in this essay are Estela Portillo-Trambley’s Sor Juana (1986), Karen Zacarías’s The Sins of Sor Juana (2001), and Alicia Gaspar de Alba’s “Interview with Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz” (1998/2014) and her newest work, Juana: An Opera in Two Acts (2019), libretto by Carla Lucero. In addition to reimagining Sor Juana’s story, these dramatic works expose the sexism, racism, and xenophobia perpetuated by U.S institutions of power that discriminate against Latin@ and Chican@ individuals. By shedding light on the social injustices that existed during the colonial era, an embodied Sor Juana teaches audiences how to resist and mobilize against such oppressive powers. Sor Juana’s narrative on stage is necessary because she is a role model for Latin@s/Chican@s. Sorjuanistas remind us that the body can be used to retell the narratives of the silenced individuals who are victims of oppression. By developing heritage performances, Sorjuanistas challenge histories that silence and overlook social injustices. Witnessing Sor Juana on stage triggers emotional responses to the past which allow historical actors to obtain intellectual, emotional, and political agency in an effort to affirm and remember particular contemporary and future commitments to fighting social injustices.