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. Creating these short posts allows me to practice writing and communicating, while also developing and sharing future research or teaching ideas. 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 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, Transatlantic, and now Peninsular). 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; Copan 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 Nort 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. I hope to design short- and long-term study abroad opportunities in the future, and I am currently working on a 5-6-week program in Spain for Kansas State students in summer of 2019.
I received my PhD in Spanish from The Pennsylvania State University (2013). My dissertation was titled, First-Wave Spanish Feminism: Negotiating the Changing Faces of Maternity and Motherhood through Narrative, and it examined the fiction and essays of three early 20th century Spanish women authors: Carmen de Burgos, Margarita Nelken, and Federica Montseny. This project re-examines the initial phases of the Spanish women’s movement by focusing on maternity and motherhood as sites of resistance and renovation, rather than as conservative preoccupations that might hamper progress. You can read about this and other projects on my Current Research page. I earned my Master’s degree in Hispanic Literature from the University of New Mexico in 2007, and Bachelor’s degrees in Spanish and in Education from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania in 2005.
Finally, regarding “Academic blogging,” I’ve read several excellent articles on the benefits of honing this skill. Below are a few of my favorites:
Katherine Moos wrote a great post 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 been enjoying this new project – the connections I have made, the feedback I have received from students, and the new projects it has inspired. I try to post something new at least 1-2 times each 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.