Ana Hontanilla

Ph.D., Professor of Spanish, Director of Undergraduate Studies in Spanish, Editor of International Poetry Review


Ph.D. in Hispanic Languages and Literatures, Washington University in Saint Louis, 2002
M.A. in Hispanic Literature, The Ohio State University, Columbus, 1995
Licenciatura en Derecho University Complutense, Madrid (Spain), 1991

Curriculum Vitae

Research/ Teaching Interests

  • Black Atlantic, 18thand 19thcenturies, Spain, Santo Domingo and Cuba
  • Slavery and Resistance in Literature and the Law
  • 18th-19thand 20thCenturies Literatures, Spain
  • • 21st Century Women Writers, Spain
  • Creative Writing

Courses Taught

My courses that focus on the Latinx and African Diasporas are:

  • SPA 603 Feminist Poetics, Africa, and Iberia from the 18th Century to the Present. Genealogies of Women Writers
  • SPA 459/509 Migrant Stories. Arts and Activism (1990-2020)
  • SPA 409 Telling to Live. Testimonio and the Borderlands.
  • SPA 409 Cuban Slavery in Law, Literature, and Culture: The Fiction of Humane Slavery in 18th and 19th-Centuries Spanish Writings
  • SPA 409 Construction and Deconstruction of Blackness in 19th-and 20th-Century Cuba

Other courses I have taught are SPA 403 Representations of Otherness in Contemporary Hispanic Fiction, SPA 532 Inclusions and Exclusions in Spain’s History, SPA 502 Lust and Betrayal in the Western Tradition: The Figure of Don Juan. I have also designed and taught Spanish Composition and Conversation courses, Introduction to Literary Analysis, and Spanish for the professions.

Academic Statement

My research project dialogues with existing discussions around the contributions of Afro descendants to the intellectual, legal, and military culture of the Black Atlantic in the 18th century.

In my essay “Sentiment and the Law: Inventing the Category of the Wretched Slave in the Real Audiencia de Santo Domingo, 1783-1812” (Eighteenth Century Studies 48.2, January 2015) I have studied how depicting the slave as a “poor, wretched soul” expanded Santo Domingo’s High Court of Justice’s power over the enslaved, while at the same time, it opened a space for the enslaved to use the law in pursuit of dignity and freedom. ”

My essays “Creole Patriotic Writing in Eighteenth-Century Santo Domingo” [forthcoming] and “Race and Reform in Late Colonial Santo Domingo” (in Asymmetric Ecologies in Europe and South America around 1800, Rolando Carrasco ed. Berlin: De Gruyter University Press Library, 2022: 87-111), focus on Afro-descendant priest Antonio Sanchez Valverde, without questioning the centrality of slave labor for economic prosperity, responded to the 1784 Código negro carolino (Black code)’s criminalization of free blacks as vagrants by defending their cultural, military and economic contribution to the island’s history.

Members of late eighteenth-century Cuba’s privileged but racialized militias, the so-called pardos, also claimed power under conditions of oppression—notably, the era’s system of racial classification. My essay “Pardo Soldiers’ Tactical Writing in Late Eighteenth-Century Cuba” follows the cases of two determined militiamen who, in search of recognition both honorary and material, petitioned the court over and over, making arguments that at last proved intolerably subversive. One of these petitioners was sentenced as a vagrant, landing a long spell of hard labor, while the other’s claim was dismissed on the grounds that he had falsely claimed poverty.

In 2013, I was a five-month Fellow Resident at The John Carter Brown Library at Brown University, and in 2015 a one-month Fellow Resident at the Newberry Library in Chicago, where I have the opportunity to conduct research on African Diaspora in the Black Atlantic.

Creative Writing Statement

Exploring the relationship between women writers and feminisms in twenty first-century Spain, has been a source of inspiration. For the last few years, I have pursued creative writing, which so far has resulted in the publication of four feminist short stories in peer review journals such as Carta Local 351 de la Federación Española de Municipios y Provincias (2021), Edición Especial de Cuadernos ALDEEU (2021) Chiricú Journal: Latino/a Literatures, Arts, and Cultures (2020), Baquiana. Revista Literaria (2020), Switchgrass Review (2020), Latin American Literary Review (2019), and Seattle Escribe (2019).

Other Selected Academic Achievements

I have authored the book El gusto de la razón. Debates de arte y moral en el siglo XVIII español (2010), and published numerous articles such the Review Essay “Centering Latin American Lives Abroad” (56.4 Latin American Research Review); “La figura del vago en la España ilustrada” (Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 50.2, June 2016); “The Literary Scholar in the Historic Archive” (Dieciocho, Fall 2016); “Images of Barbaric Spain in Eighteenth-Century British Travel Writing” (Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 37, March 2008); and book chapters such as “Giro Feminista en España. Colaboración entre escritoras, 2000-2020”; “Construcción cultural del ‘vago’ en la España del siglo XVIII: la ociosidad en el proyectismo económico, la ley y el melodrama finisecular”; and “Maja’s Labors Lost.”

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