I’m often asked:
“What exactly does a Spanish (literature) professor research*?”
(*insert [not so] subtle sarcasm or incredulity here*).
I created this blog to provide insight into my own research and teaching projects for a broad audience – including but not limited to my colleagues, students, friends, and family. My posts focus on my teaching experiences and assignments, as well as my research interests. I do not write in great detail, or in a very “academic” manner about my research projects, but rather I aim to make their most pertinent themes and topics accessible and (*gasp*) appealing to a wide range of readers. For example, I recently started writing “blog-style” versions of my academic book reviews:
- The Body, Blood, and Soul of Spanish Modernity: review of Life Embodied
- A New History of Iberian Feminisms (review)
- Multiple Modernities: New essays on Carmen de Burgos (review)
- Matilde de la Torre and the Republican Courts in 1930s Spain (review)
Creating these short posts allows me to practice writing and communicating, while also developing and sharing future research or teaching ideas by making connection to contemporary images, pop culture, or news articles. I’ve also been able to re-visit and further explore my love for art and its connection to my research – especially surrealism and Salvador Dali, two topics that first sparked my interest in Spanish cultural history but had been pushed aside while working on early 20th century women’s literature.
ay to learn to write accessibly and to engage with a broader audience. – See more at: https://chroniclevitae.com/news/473-how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-the-blog?cid=VTKT1#sthash.3mSPYhfA.dpuf
Currently, I am an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Kansas State University, in the “Little Apple,” Manhattan, Kansas. I have taught intermediate and advanced Spanish conversation and grammar courses, as well as Peninsular and Latin American literature courses, including our Don Quijote seminar(!), and Spanish Civilization and Culture. Since the 2016-17 academic year, I have been teaching a graduate seminar on AP Spanish literature, which has varied in focus each year (from Latin American, to Transatlantic, and most recently to a Peninsular focus). The goal of this course is to prepare graduate students – and also advanced Spanish and Education majors – to be efficient AP Spanish literature and culture teachers. Previously, I spent two years as an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Grinnell College in Iowa, where I taught courses ranging from Introductory and Intermediate Spanish Language, Introduction to Textual Analysis (in Spanish), and mid-level literature seminars. In the Spring of 2014, for example, I taught a transatlantic seminar, “Refashioning the Self: Hispanic Women’s Literature in the 20th Century.” You can see the syllabi from my Grinnell courses, as well as several posts about readings, lessons, and student work from my women’s literature seminar on my Teaching page.
I encourage all my students to study abroad, even if they are not language majors, as I believe spending time outside one’s own country, culture, and comfort zone offers enormous opportunities for learning and personal growth. Personally, I have studied and/or lived in Madrid, Spain; Adjuntas, Puerto Rico; Copán Ruinas, Honduras; Puebla, Mexico; and Atenas, Costa Rica. I have presented at conferences in Spain – Santiago de Compostela in 2014 and Salamanca in 2015 – and I’m looking forward to presenting at the Cervantes Society of North America’s annual meeting in Calgary in September, 2018. In January 2018 I took Kansas State Students to Costa Rica for a 2-week service-learning experience. My newest project and accomplishment is a 5-week program in Spain I designed for Kansas State students in summer of 2019: “Spain Today: Madrid, Pamplona, and Barcelona”. This will be an annual summer offering for K-State students, and in the first year (2019) there were 10 participants.
Finally, regarding “Academic blogging,” several excellent articles on the benefits of honing this skill have both inspired me to create this blog and to continue adding content (even when my teaching/research/service projects sometimes cause my posts to be a bit more sporadic!). Below are a few of my favorite insights:
Katherine Moos wrote for Chronicle Vitae about the benefits of making blogging a regular practice: “How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Blog.” I especially agree with her perception of blogging as a great way to learn to write accessibly and engage with a broader audience. As she explains, this audience is often international in scope, thus providing opportunities to connect with academics and researchers all around the world (without having to apply for funding for travel or conferences).
Rachel Hope Cleves, a history professor at the University of Victoria, has echoed Moos’ sentiment on writing for a broader audience in “Is Blogging Scholarship?” Prof. Cleaves discusses finding her voice for her second book, as well as the way in which blogging helps her write to entertain others and to amuse herself, something we cannot always claim through traditional academic writing! The Not So Innocents Abroad is Cleves’ fascinating personal and professional blog featuring her “historical ramblings on sex, food, and other bodily pleasures, in Paris, Capri, and Beyond.”
Megan Kate Nelson at Historista detailed “4 Reasons Blogs are Great for Academia“. Her list included experimentation, bringing a sense of humor and personality to your writing, creating community, and engaging in real time (not “academic” time) feedback and conversations. Even this short NPR article is spot on: blogging can make us more articulate, clearer communicators, which just might make us smarter.
Overall, I have enjoyed, an continue to enjoy, this relatively new digital project – especially in terms of the connections I’ve made, the feedback I’ve received… often from students(!), and the new projects it has inspired. I try to post something new at least once per month.
Disclaimer – Since I write so many posts linking to books or media that can easily be purchased on Amazon, I chose to become a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites like mine to earn small advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.