Research

PUBLICATIONS

Articles

• “Engaging the Ethics of the Future: The Aftertimes as Emotional, Material and Temporal Accumulation in the Spanish Animation Film Birdboy: The Forgotten Children.” Humanities, vol. 11, no. 2, Mar. 2022, p. 48. (Included in the Special Issue Socio-Environmental Emergencies and Futuristic Imaginaries in Iberian and Latin American Cinemas and Television.)

In this essay I analyze the critically acclaimed movie, Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (Alberto Vázquez and Pedro Rivero, 2015), a dystopic animated film based on the graphic novel Psiconautas (Alberto Vázquez, 2006). Birdboy takes place on an island populated by anthropomorphic animals, most of them young, who live in a time after an industrial accident destroyed the livelihood of its inhabitants. Birdboy and some of his friends try to escape their reality either by taking drugs or by attempting to abandon the island, but they are hunted by police, by the gang of rats that inhabits the dump, and by their hallucinations. In the end, although they do not achieve their goals, Birdboy and his friend Dinky reunite in an inner paradise. Drawing on various theoretical approaches, such as Hannah Arendt’s notion of new beginnings and Timothy Morton’s sustained project of ecological critique, I study the ways Birdboy represents time and engages with the ethics of the future. Birdboy’s universe is marked by emotional, physical, and temporal accumulation. The interconnection of sentient and non-sentient beings on the island shows the impact of legacies and the difficulty of creating radical new beginnings. Birdboy’s story is ultimately a call for responsibility for the future rooted in the awareness that everything leaves a trace.

• “Iberofuturismo herido: Estética y reinicios en Eva (Kike Maíllo, 2011).” (Wounded Iberofuturism: Aesthetics and Restarts in Eva (Kike Maíllo, 2011)) 452ºF, no. 21, July 2019, pp. 169-187.

This essay analyzes the science fiction film Eva (Maíllo, 2011) through what I call «Iberofuturism»: the creation and study of cultural products and initiatives that, while relating themselves to the past and present of the panorama of Iberian Studies, deal with formulations of the future. I use the theories of Alison Landsberg and Hannah Arendt to interpret its aesthetic and its portrayal of new beginnings, and propose that Eva offers a “wounded Iberofuturism”, that, like the «wounded culture» theorized by Cristina Moreiras, shows the hard-to-suture interstices in the relationship between past, present, and future, something that can be considered an allegory of the Spanish Transition, an era that coincides with the «retro» aesthetics of the movie.

• “The Iberian Third Space in a Novel by a Catalan Exiled in Mexico: Language(s) in Paraules d’Opoton el Vell by Avel·lí Artís Gener.” Catalan Review, vol. 31, June 2017, pp 59-78.

In this study I argue that the treatment of languages in the novel Paraules d’Opoton el Vell (1968), written by the Catalan author Avel·lí Artís Gener during his exile in Mexico, opens a third space between Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s deterritorialization and Walter Mignolo’s decoloniality in a way that engages with both these ideas as it distances itself from them. Through the use of multiple languages and registers, the questioning of names, the creation of new words, and translations, Paraules d’Opoton el Vell deterritorializes language. However, by including a multiplicity of languages, it calls into question Deleuze and Guattari’s idea that only major languages can be deterritorialized. At the same time, the variety of languages shows the colonial difference while proposing a pluriversality like the one Mignolo links to the decolonial option. Nevertheless, Paraules d’Opoton el Vell cannot be completely lined up with decolonial criticism because its border thinking pivots around languages more than around epistemological conflicts. The third space portrayed in Paraules d’Opoton el Vell evokes the approach proposed by Iberian studies, in between conceptualizations that critique hegemony from both a singular and a pluriversal locus of enunciation which relates to interior and exterior borders.

• “Pa negre y los otros fantasmas de la postmemoria: El “phantom” y los intertextos con La plaça del Diamant, El espíritu de la colmena y El laberinto del fauno.” (Black Bread and the Other Ghosts of Postmemory: The “Phantom” and Intertextuality with The Time of the Doves, The Spirit of the Beehive and Pan’s Labyrinth) MLN, vol 131, no. 2, March 2016, pp. 517–535.

This article argues that the film Pa negre (Villaronga, 2010) questions the recreation of intergenerational transmissions of memory structures after the Spanish Civil War by means of the “ghosts of history,” the traces left in the present by silenced past events, as theorized by Jo Labanyi. Pa negre revisits the motif of the birds in La plaça del Diamant (Rodoreda, 1962), the hidden and monstrous characters in El espíritu de la colmena (Erice, 1973), and the fairy tale morphology of El laberinto del fauno (del Toro, 2006), to show the tensions between the depiction of the “ghosts of history” and what I call “the other ghosts of postmemory,” a transgenerational transmission of which the affected wants to be set free in order to reaffirm his or her present self, which I theorize following the concept of the “phantom” developed by Nicholas Abraham and Maria Torok.

• “Inner Exile and Stateless National Identifications after the Spanish Civil War: Imagining the Basque Country in Ramon Saizarbitoria’s Ehun metro.” Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, vol. 92, no. 1, January 2015, pp. 53-68.

In this essay I study the representation of national identities and their relationship to inner exile in the Spanish translation of the Basque novel 100 metro, by Ramón Saizarbitoria, which narrates the last one hundred meters an ETA member runs before being shot to death by the police. According to its publishers, 100 metro is the first novel published originally in Basque that was translated into Spanish (as Cien metros). My reading questions Paul Ilie’s concept of inner exile (exile within the borders of one’s own nation) as it applies to stateless nations within the Spanish state. Ilie’s model considers inner exile a consequence of the split in the national unity caused by territorial exile, which does not exactly line up with the experiences of minority nations within the Spanish state. For the present analysis, inner exile is redefined as a conflict between the individual and the official national discourse and is used to examine national constructions within the Basque Country.

• “Surrealismo, representaciones históricas y espacios postcoloniales en La novela del Indio Tupinamba de Eugenio F. Granell.” (Surrealism, Historical Representations and Postcolonial Spaces in The Novel of the Tupinamba Indian by Eugenio F. Granell) Hispanic Journal, vol 33, no. 2, Fall 2012, pp. 59-73.

• “Mirando la nación desde La plaça del diamant y El carrer de les camèlies: periferias e identidades en dos novelas de Mercè Rodoreda.” (Looking at the Nation from The Time of the Doves and Camelias’ Street: Peripheries and Identities in Two Novels by Mercè Rodoreda) Tropos, vol. 35, 2009, pp. 104-22.

• “Libro de Alexandre, Libro de ‘los que ruegan.’” (Libro de Alexandre, Book of ‘those who pray’) with Ana Marco González, Ábaco digital, 2001, n.p.

Book Chapters

• “La geografía histórica de María Teresa León en Memoria de la melancolía” (The Historical Geography of María Teresa León in Memory of Melancholy), Destierros y destiempos. Una revisión del exilio republicano español (Out of Place and Out of Time. A Revision of Spanish Republican Exile), edited by José Ramón López García, Mario Martín Gijón and Chiara Pepe. Peter Lang, 2021, pp. 115-124.

This essay studies Memoria de la melancolía (Buenos Aires, 1970), the autobiography that Spanish author and intellectual María Teresa León (1903-1988) writes towards the end of her exile. In addition to mapping the most relevant events of her life, I argue that her memoire can be considered a modern “Laus Hispaniae”, that is, a “praise of Spain,” as this genre was used by medieval authors such as Saint Isidore, Rodrigo Jiménez de Rada and King Alfonso of Castille. By incorporating history in her geographical descriptions of several regions in Spain, León laments the loss of her native land. She also relates exile culture and herself to Spanish territory and history, and thus reasserts exiles’ cultural hegemony (a concept coined by Sebastiaan Faber) by proposing an alternative history of the country she had to abandon.

• “¿Alabanza de España y Latinoamérica? La representación de los destinos de exilio en Memoria de la melancolía de María Teresa León” (Praising Spain and Latin America? Representing Exile Destinations in Memory of Melancholy by María Teresa León) Destinos del exilio republicano, edited by Fernando Vierna. Fundación Bruno Alonso and Centro de Estudios Montañeses, 2020, pp. 59-76.

In this chapter I examine the representation of Latin American geography in Memoria de la melancolía (Buenos Aires, 1970), the autobiography of Spanish exile writer María Teresa León (1903-1988). I have argued elsewhere (Alvarez-Sancho, 2021) that its description of Spanish geography that ties space with history follows a technique borrowed from the “Laus Hispaniae,” a medieval genre with which León was very familiar and which ultimately serves to link exile culture to the Spanish territory. The description of the land of her exile, however, contains a more problematic praise. In some instances, León describes American geography with presentist and futuristic notes, without acknowledging its past. In some others, León describes the Argentinian landscape through its historiography and inscribes her own body in it, like she does with Spain, a way of reclaiming exiles’ sense of belonging also in the land that received them.

Book Reviews

• Review of Inhabiting the In-Between: Childhood and Cinema in Spain’s Long Transition, by Sarah Thomas, Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos (forthcoming)

• Review of This Ghostly Poetry: History and Memory of Spanish Republican Poets, by Daniel Aguirre-Oteiza, Hispanófila, vol. 190, 2020, pp. 139-140.

• Review of Entre alambradas y exilios: Sangrías de las Españas y terapias de Vichy, by José María Naharro-Calderón. Hispanófila, vol. 188, 2020, pp. 197-181.

• Review of Hombres en movimiento: Masculinidades españolas en los exilios y emigraciones, by Iker González-Allende. Anales de la Literatura Española Contemporánea, vol. 45, no. 1, 2020, pp. 208-210.

• Review of Spanish Modernism and the Poetics of Youth: From Miguel de Unamuno to ‘La joven literatura,’ by Leslie H. Harkema. Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, vol. 43, no. 2, 2019, pp. 492-494.

• Review of El exilio vasco: Estudios en homenaje al profesor José Ángel Ascunce Arrieta, ed. Iker González-Allende. Anales de la Literatura Española Contemporánea, vol. 43, no. 1, 2018, pp. 245-249.

• Review of El corazón helado, by Almudena Grandes. Letras femeninas, Vol XXXVII, no. 1, 2011, pp. 256-57.

Creative Writing

• “Perdoneu, això és vostre?” Shortlisted for the V Concurs de microrelats Aulas de Català, Centre Cultural Llibreria Blanquerna, 23 April 2019, p. 16. Flash fiction.

• “El mar.” Club de escritura, Fundación Escritura(s)-Fuentetaja, 6 November 2018, n.p. Short story. https://clubdeescritura.com/convocatoria/historias-con-sabor-iii/leer/1951259/el-mar-6/

Other Publications

• “La Universidad de la desmemoria.” La Nueva España, 1 August 2016, p. 43. Letter to the editor.

• Collaborator in the volume Bibliografía cervantina en resúmenes: artículos, 1998-2005, Emilio Martínez Mata, Universidad de Oviedo, 2011.

AWARDS AND GRANTS

External

• Hispanex Grant, Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture, and Sports, 2015. (1500 Euros)

Internal

• Humanities, Arts and Design Program Research Grant, Oklahoma State University, 2022.

• Nominated to the Distinguished Early Career Faculty Award by the Department of Languages and Literatures, Oklahoma State University, 2020.

• Sabbatical, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 2018-2019.

• Travel Award, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 2017.

• Arts and Sciences Summer Research Award, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 2017.

• Dean’s Incentive Grant, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 2014.

• Dean’s Incentive Grant, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 2013.

• Arts and Sciences Summer Research Award, College of Arts and Sciences, Oklahoma State University, 2013.

• Summer Faculty Scholar Award, College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, Central Michigan University, 2011.

• Dissertation Completion Fellowship, College of Arts and Letters, Michigan State University, 2009.   

• “Learning Leader” Recognition Award. Department of Residence Life, Michigan State University, 2009.      

• Travel grant, College of Arts and Letters, Michigan State University, 2009.

• Distinguished Graduate Contributor in Spanish Award, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Michigan State University, 2008.

• Johannes Sachse Graduate Award, Outstanding Graduate Student, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Michigan State University, 2007.

• Outstanding Graduate Assistant in Spanish, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Michigan State University, 2007.

• Travel grant, Graduate School, Michigan State University, 2007.

• Research Enhancement Award, Graduate School, Michigan State University, 2006.

PRESENTATIONS

Invited Talks and Lectures

• “Spanish Cinema in the 21st-Century: Historical Context.” Guest Lecture for FLL 1113, “The World through Film,” 18 September 2019, Oklahoma State University.

• “What Does Neutrality Mean? Spain from the Great War to the Spanish Civil War” The Great War and its Legacy Series, 27 March 2018, Edmon Low Library, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater.

• “New Beginnings in Spanish 21st Century Cinema.” 26 October 2017, Department of Modern Languages, Literatures and Linguistics, University of Oklahoma, Norman.

• “La generación del ‘98, Miguel de Unamuno y San Manuel Bueno, mártir.” (Generation of ‘98, Miguel de Unamuno and Saint Emmanuel the Good, Martyr). Guest Lecture for Spanish 3053, “Introduction to Hispanic Literary Studies,” 17 September 2013, Oklahoma State University.

• “Entre la anécdota y el símbolo. Posibles espacios para los exilios de postguerra en la nación contemporánea.” (Between the Anecdote and the Symbol: Possible Spaces for post Spanish Civil War Exiles in the Contemporary Nation) Spanish Lecture Series, 23 September 2011, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo.

• “Don Quixote and the Western Canon.” Guest Lecture for Honors 130, “Western Cultural and Intellectual Traditions,” 8 November 2011, Central Michigan University.

Conference Papers

• “‘Si nun hai vinu cantares y amor:’ Tradition, Language and Activism in Asturian Contemporary Music.” I Conferencia SAnTINA: Society for the Analysis of Cultural Topics and Linguistic Identities N’Asturies, 28 October 2021, University of California, Riverside.

• “The History of the Future: Analysis of Two 20th century Speculative Fiction Novels.” South Central Modern Language Association, 7 October 2021, Houston.

• “A Former Future: The End of a World and its Restart in After the Bomb and Typescript of the Second Origin.” KFLC: The Languages, Literatures and Cultures Conference, 23 April 2021, University of Kentucky, Lexington.

• “¿Alabanza de España y de Latinoamérica? La representación de los destinos del exilio en Memoria de la Melancolía de María Teresa León.” (Praising Spain and Latin America? Representing Exile Destinations in Memory of Melancholy, by María Teresa León) III Congress on Republican Exile, 20 June 2019, Santander, Spain.

• “La geografía histórica de María Teresa León en Memoria de la melancolía.” (The Historical Geography of María Teresa León in Memory of Melancholy) I International Congress on Republican Exile, University of Extremadura, 13 June 2019, Cáceres, Spain.

• “La estética retrofuturista y la ética de los nuevos comienzos: Una lectura posthumana de Eva de Kike Maíllo” (Retrofuturistic Aesthetics and Ethics of New Beginnings: A Posthuman Reading of Eva, by Kike Maíllo.) ALCESXXI: International Association of 21st Century Spanish Literature and Film, 3-7 July 2018, Zaragoza, Spain.

• “Espectáculo, robots, y el no-sujeto en Eva de Kike Maíllo (2011)” (Spectacle, robots and the non-subject in the Science-Fiction movie Eva by Kike Maíllo (2011)). Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 21 April 2017, University of Kentucky, Lexington.

• “Ciudadanía después del campo de concentración: La mirada ética de Jorge Semprún en sus obras autobiográficas” (Citizenship after the concentration camp: Jorge Semprún’s Ethical Gaze in his Autobiographical Works). VII International Conference of the Hispanic Association for the Humanities, 23 June 2016, University Carlos III, Madrid, Spain.

• “La mediación cinematográfica de la postmemoria: Pa negre y su revisión de La plaça del Diamant, El espíritu de la colmena y El laberinto del fauno.” (Postmemory’s Cinematographic Mediation: Black Bread and its Revision of The Time of the Doves, The Spirit of the Beehive and Pan’s Labyrinth) III International Conference on History, Literature and Art on Spanish- and Portuguese-language Cinema, 25 June 2015, University of Salamanca, Spain.

• “La niñez como lugar de memoria artística: Pa negre y su revisión de La Plaça del diamant, El espíritu de la colmena y El laberinto del fauno.” (Childhood as Site of Artistic Memory: Black Bread and its Revision of The Time of the Doves, The Spirit of the Beehive and Pan’s Labyrinth) Cine-Lit VIII, 20 February 2015, Portland, Oregon.

• “México, Cataluña y la historia camuflada del exilio en Paraules d’Opoton el vell de Avel·lí Artís Gener.” (Mexico, Catalonia and Exile’s Camouflaged History in Words by Opoton the Elder by Avel·lí Artís Gener) South Central Modern Language Association, 21 October 2014, Austin, Texas.

• “Cuba, España, Francia y Marruecos: Máscaras geográficas en la autobiografía de Juan Goytisolo” (Cuba, Spain, France and Morocco: Geographical Masks in Juan Goytisolo’s Autobiography) South Central Modern Language Association, 4 October 2013, New Orleans, Louisiana.

• “Beyond National Identities in Europe: A Postnational Reading of Jorge Semprún’s L’Écriture ou la Vie.” Towards Iberian Studies: A Conference, 11 April 2013, Ohio State University, Columbus.

• “Escribir después de la muerte: La identidad apátrida de Jorge Semprún.” (Writing after Death: The Stateless Identity of Jorge Semprún) South Central Modern Language Association, 8 November 2012, San Antonio, Texas.

• “La periferia transnacional del exilio en Paraules d’Opoton el Vell de Avel·lí Artís Gener.” (The Transnational Periphery of Exile in Words by Opoton the Elder by Avel·lí Artís Gener) Mid-America Conference on Hispanic Literature, 13 October 2012, University of Nebraska, Lincoln.

• “¿Es posible regresar a España? En busca de ubicación para la literatura de los exilios de la postguerra española en la nación contemporánea.” (Is it Possible to Come Back to Spain? Locating Exile Literature in the Contemporary Nation).Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 16 April 2011, University of Kentucky, Lexington.

• “¿‘Moro en todas partes’? Identidades versátiles en la autobiografía de Juan Goytisolo.” (‘Moor everywhere’? Versatile Identities in Juan Goytisolo’s Autobiography) Carolina Conference on Romance Literatures, 25 March 2011, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

• “Construcciones nacionales alternativas al discurso oficial en La colmena: Cela y el reto a la comunidad.” (Alternative National Constructions in The Hive: Cela and the Challenge to Community) Cincinnati Conference on Romance Languages and Literatures, 8 May 2010, University of Cincinnati.

• “Running Away from Spain? National Relations between Spain and the Basque Country in Ehun metro by Ramón Saizarbitoria.” Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 17 April 2009, University of Kentucky, Lexington.

• “Mirando la nación desde plazas y calles: lo local y lo global en la narrativa de Mercè Rodoreda” (Looking at the Nation from Plazas and Streets: the Local and the Global in Mercè Rodoreda’s Narrative) Tropos Graduate Student Conference, 25 October 2008, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

• “Exile Art in The Exterminating Angel by Luis Buñuel” Edges Graduate Student Conference, 14 March 2008, Michigan State University, East Lansing.

• “La familia de Pascual Duarte y El misterio de la cripta embrujada: Representaciones del sujeto y la sociedad en la inmediata posguerra y el inmediato posfranquismo” (The Family of Pascual Duarte and The Mystery of the Bewitched Crypt, Representations of the Subject and the Social in the Early post-War and the Early post-Francoism) Literary Perspectives, Graduate Student Symposium on Hispanic Literatures, 20 October 2007, The Pennsylvania State University, State College.

• “El surrealismo y el pensamiento exílico como de/reconstructor de discursos en La novela del Indio Tupinamba” (Surrealism and Exilic Thought as de/re-Constructor of Discourses in The Novel of the Tupinamba Indian) (De/Re)Constructed Identities in Iberian and Luso-Hispanic Literatures, 5 October 2007, University of Chicago.

• “La canción de autor de Paco Ibáñez” (Paco Ibáñez, Singer-songwriter) Tropos Graduate Student Conference, 20 October 2006, Michigan State University, East Lansing.