I work on early modern Spanish literature and critical disability studies and, in particular, on the role that the literary production of the period played in the shaping of—as well as the resistance to—disabling social processes. Presently, I address the ways in which regimes of bodily normalcy were institutionalized and enforced in early modern Iberia. I also look at the portrayal of disabled bodyminds and deviant corporealities in Golden Age Spanish comedia and how they were materially translated upon the stage.
As a scholar of disability studies and early modern Spanish literature and culture, my research and teaching engage with one of the most pressing questions of our current moment: the tracing and exposing of discourses that legitimate the oppression of disabled people and the unearthing of the disability advocacy ancestors that laid the foundations for the disability civil rights movement.
In 2022 I was awarded a Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship and a Renaissance Society of America Paul Oskar Kristeller Fellowship to conduct preparatory archival work on my book manuscript. Titled Unfit for Office. Normativity and the Embodiment of State Authority in Early Modern Spain, my book takes as a departing point a corpus of sixteenth and seventeenth-century Spanish treatises on government that devote entire sections to discussing the policing of the state official’s bodily appearance. I use these texts to frame the cultural and social circumstances in which the Habsburg administrative system devised a bodily norm informed by biases that had profound consequences for their recruitment practices.
Ancillary to this project is a cycle of articles on Juan Ruiz de Alarcón’s Las paredes oyen, a play that portrays the embodied and social experience of living with a physically marked body in seventeenth-century Spain and that it was written from the lived experience of disability.
Before UChicago, I taught the whole range of courses in the Spanish language sequence at both Colby College and Cornell University, from no proficiency to advanced-intermediate, including advanced composition and conversation courses, as well as the introductory surveys of Iberian literature, both the premodern and modern. Apart from courses on disability in early modern Spanish literature, I have also taught courses on early modern transatlantic identities and on the variety and density of disenfranchisement experiences in early modern Spain.
I was raised in Andújar, a small town in the province of Jaén in Andalucía, Southern Spain. I hold a PhD in Romance Studies from Cornell University, a Master’s degree in Languages, Literatures and Cultures from the University of Delaware, and a BA in English Philology from Universidad de Granada.
Select Articles and Book Chapters
“Ethically Staging Disability in Comedia Performances: Conundrums and Proposals.” Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies. Accepted. Forthcoming 2023.
“Irrepresentable Corporealities: The Staging of Las Paredes Oyen in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.” Comedia Performance, vol. 19, 2022, pp. 40-59.
“The Weight of Authority: Sancho’s Fat Body in Barataria (2.45).” Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quijote. Trans. Burton Raffel. Ed. Diana de Armas Wilson. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, 2020, pp. 797-805.
“The Optics of Bodily Deviance: Juan Ruiz de Alarcón’s Path to Public Office.” Extraordinary Bodies in Early Modern Nature and Culture. Ed. Maja Bondestam. University of Amsterdam Press, 2020, pp. 85-102
Recent Awards and Honors
Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowship, March 2022.
Renaissance Society of America Paul Oskar Kristeller Fellowship, January 2022.
Recent Courses in RLL
- SPAN 10100 Beginning Elementary Spanish I (Autumn 2022)
- SPAN 10300 Beginning Elementary Spanish III (Spring 2023)
- SPAN 20100 Language, History, and Culture I (Winter 2023, Spring 2023)
- SPAN 20402 Curso de redacción para hablantes nativos (Autumn 2023)
- SPAN 21805 Iberian Literatures and Cultures: Modern and Contemporary (Autumn 2022, Autumn 2023, Spring 2024)
- SPAN 28700 Monsters and Misfits: Disability in Early Modern Spanish Literature (Spring 2024)