My research focuses on nineteenth-century Spanish American narrative and essay, with a particular interest in nation-building and identity. I frequently analyze ways in which writers addressed questions of citizenship and national participation and how they contested prevailing social and cultural norms of behavior, whether those were based on gender, class, or race. Rather than focusing on a certain country, genre, or author, I look across Spanish America to identify and examine commonalities and key differences in themes and ideas of the nineteenth century.
My most recent book is Gender and the Rhetoric of Modernity in Latin America 1850-1910 (University Press of Florida, 2016); in it, I argue that the linking of gender to social and political agendas, including nationalist thought, was a central preoccupation for Spanish Americans ever since the newly-formed countries confronted the task of defining themselves as true nations after the Wars of Independence. These concerns play out in a wide variety of nineteenth-century texts, from canonical novels to popular magazine articles giving household tips and fashion advice, showing that readers and writers of all types participated in formulating, projecting, and responding to these ideas about gender, nation and identity. I propose that discourses of modernity shaped ideas about gender and especially about the status of women in private and public life at the same time as those concepts of the idea of the modern were themselves shaped and altered in the Spanish American context by both the received and new, emergent notions of gender roles held by Spanish American intellectuals.
Selected articles in peer-reviewed journals:
“The Functions of Landscape in Jorge Isaacs and Soledad Acosta de Samper.” Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures 68: 1 (Spring 2014). Available here.
"Material Lusts: Socio-economic Desires in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America." Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 88:7 (2011): 795-809. Available here.
“The Failure of Fatherhood in the Novels of Clorinda Matto de Turner.” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 35:2 (Invierno 2011): 395-409. Available through JSTOR.
“Family Secrets: Incest in Jorge Isaacs’s María.” Hispanic Review 76:1 (Winter 2008): 53-69. Full text here.
“Martyrs of Miscegenation: Racial and National Identities in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America.” Hispanófila 132 (2001): 25-42. Available through JSTOR.
“Constructions of Domesticity in Nineteenth-Century Spanish America.” Hispanic Journal 21:2 (Fall 2000): 409-420. Full text here.
“Carnality in ‘El matadero.’” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 33:2 (May 1999): 205-226. Available here.
"Gender and History in Nineteenth-Century Latin America: The Didactic Discourses of Soledad Acosta de Samper." INTI 49/50 (Primavera 1999-Otoño 1999): 71-90. Available through JSTOR.
"Pandora's Log: Charting the Evolving Literary Project of Rosario Ferré." Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 29: 3 (October 1995): 461-476. Full text here.
"La movilidad femenina en Teresa la limeña." Voces diversas: Nuevas lecturas de Soledad Acosta de Samper. Eds. Carolina Alzate and Isabel Corpas de Posada. Bogotá: Instituto Caro y Cuervo y Ediciones Uniandes, 2016. 137-151.
"Juana Manuela Gorriti, heroína nacional." Perfiles del heroism en la literature hispánica de estresiglos (XIX-XX). Eds. Luis Alvarez-Castro and Denise DuPont. Valladolid, Spain: Editorial Verdelis, 2013. 29-43.
"Identity, Engagement and the Space of the River in Cumanda." Troubled Waters: Rivers in Latin American Imagination. Eds. Elisabeth M. Pettinaroli and Ana Maria Mutis. University of Minnesota Hispanic Issues Online, vol. 12 (2013): 127-143. Full text here.