Amy Williamsen

Ph.D., Professor of Spanish



Ph.D. in Hispanic Literature, University of Southern California
M.A. in Hispanic Literature, University of Toronto
B.A. in Spanish, University of Missouri-Columbia

Research/ Teaching Interests

Early Modern Peninsular Literature, Women Writers of Spain and Latin America, Theater and Performance Studies, Contemporary Literary Theory, Cognitive Science

Personal Statement

It seems impossible that I have been teaching for almost thirty years. Every day my work brings me new challenges and opportunities to learn-especially in my new position as Head of the Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures at UNCG.

Before moving to North Carolina, I spent over two decades at the University of Arizona. Nothing brings me greater professional joy than seeing my students succeed. Imagine my surprise when at my first FLANC conference in Winston-Salem one of my former students from U of A, James McConnell, was honored as Educator of the Year for his work at NC State!

My own teaching and research have been profoundly influenced by my experiences abroad in Spain and Mexico. For instance, my love for theater began when I toured the 17th century “corral” at Almagro during my early travels in Franco’s Spain where I acquired Spanish through immersion (I learned firsthand why this approach is sometimes called “sink or swim”!) Recently, my translation of Ana Caro’s seventeenth-century play, Courage, Betrayal and a Woman Scorned, has been performed on stage. I have also enjoyed the opportunity to introduce international theatrical companies at the annual “Siglo de Oro” festival in El Paso—literally watching “from the wings.” (

In addition to exploring our new home state, I continue to work on a book-length project tentatively entitled The Critical Quest: Lessons from the Margins of Early Modern Spanish Literature.

Currently, however, most of my energy is devoted to furthering our departmental mission to promote cultural diversity and international awareness at UNCG (and beyond) by “Discovering ourselves+others through explorations in languages, literatures, and cultures.”

Selected Professional Achievements

Co-founder, Asociación de Escritoras de España y América Latina, 1300-1800 (now GEMELA)

Humanities Seminars Superior Teaching Award, University of Arizona, 2008

University of Arizona Burlington North Faculty Achievement Award, 2000


“Quantum Quixote: Embodying Empathy in the Borderlands.” Cervantes 31.1, 2011

Critical Reflections: Essays on Spanish Golden Age Literature in Honor of James A. Parr. Co-edited with Barbara Simerka. Lewisburg: Bucknell University Press, 2006.

Engendering the Early Modern Stage: Women Playwrights in the Spanish Empire. Co-edited with Valerie Hegstrom. New Orleans: University Press of the South, 1999. [Featured in Barbara Mujica’s review article on the state of our profession: “Golden Age/Early Modern Theater: Comedia Studies at the End of the Century” Hispania 82 (September 1999): 405]

Ingeniosa Invención: Studies in Honour of Prof. Geoffrey Stagg on the Occasion of His Eightieth Birthday. Co-edited with Ellen Anderson. Newark: Juan de la Cuesta Press, 1999. [Reviewed by V. Martin in Cervantes 21.2 (2001): 227-230.]

María de Zayas: The Dynamics of Discourse. Co-edited with Judith Whitenack. Teaneck: Fairleigh Dickinson UP, 1995. [Reviewed by M. Welles in Revista de estudios hispánicos 30.3 (1996): 527-528; E. H. Friedman in Renaissance Quarterly 50.4 (1997): 1251-1252; K.J. Manny in Hispania 80.2 (1997): 301-302; by L. Vollendorf in Hispanic Review 65.1 (1997): 112-114, by U. Jung in Iberoromania 50 (1999): 173-176.]

Co(s)mic Chaos: Exploring Los trabajos de Persiles y Sigismunda. “Documentación cervantina,” No. 14. Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta Press, 1994. [Reviewed by E. H. Friedman in Hispania 79 (March 1996): 59-60; by C. Colahan in Revista de estudios hispánicos 30.2 (May 1996): 354-356; by D. Hildner in Cervantes 16.1 (1996): 106-108, and by L. Gorfkle in Hispanic Review 65.3 (1997):338-340.]

Selected Chapters in scholarly books

“From Page to Stage: Readers, Spectators, Expectations and Interpretations of María de Zayas’ La traición en la amistad.” Invited contribution to a book edited by Helen Wilcox and Rina Walthaus in the Netherlands. Kassel: Edition Reichenberger, 2010.

“Engendering Early Modern Discourse: Subjectivity and Syntactic Empathy in María de Zayas’ Al fin se paga todo.” InZayas and Her Sisters: Essays on novelas by 17-th Century SpanishWomen, edited by Gwyn E. Campbell and Judith Whitenack. Binghamton: Global/ICGS, 2001. 33-53.

“Lasting Laughter: The Comic Challenges Posed by María de Zayas and Rosario Castellanos.” In Echoes and Inscriptions: Comparative Approaches to Early Modern Spanish Literature, edited by Barbara Simerka and Christopher Weimer. Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 2000. 46-58.