Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name


Organizational Unit

Joint Ph.D. Program in Study of Religion

First Advisor

Theodor M. Vial, Jr.

Second Advisor

Jennifer Leath

Third Advisor

Elizabeth Escobedo


Colonialism, Pentecostalism, Queer theory, Subjectivity


James K.A. Smith argues that the first principle of Pentecostalism is that the same Holy Spirit described in the New Testament is !actively, dynamically, and miraculously present both in the ecclesial community and in creation” today. This ontological experience of the Holy Spirit transforms Pentecostalism into a hermeneutic thorough which Pentecostals interpret their social world. In his attempt to articulate a Pentecostal epistemology Smith leaves implied what this project seeks to make explicit: the emergence of subjectivity is mediated through the experiences of the body and is therefore affective and phenomenological in nature. I argue that pentecostal spiritual practices are the daily strategies through which believers attain an interpretive understanding of their social world; pentecostals have a worldview that is grounded in the phenomenological experience of pentecostalism. In developing this argument I rely on queer theory and postcolonial theory to draw connections between Pentecostal, queer, and Puerto Rican socio-political subjectivities and thereby articulate a theory of subjectivity that privileges the material body as a site of knowledge production. I examine the emergence and evolution of pentecostal spiritual practices, such as glossolalia, testimony, and bodily expression in Puerto Rico and the ways in which they operate as but one modality that reflect a queer epistemological posture of resistance that operates as survival strategy for coping with the lasting presence of US imperial colonialism. In doing so I consider Pentecostal and Puerto Rican socio-political subjectivities as queer subjectivities and demonstrate the ways in which they reflect each other, as well as the ways in which they come together as one subjectivity rooted in the experiences of the material body.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Jared Vázquez


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

185 pgs


Philosophy of religion, Religion, Theology