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Spanish & Portuguese

Spanish and Portuguese



Research undertaken in the Faculty

The Department of Spanish and Portuguese aims to foster active research in literature, linguistics and culture across the fields in which it has specialist researchers: Medieval Spanish; Golden Age; 19th- and 20th-century Spain (including Catalan studies); 19th-and 20th-century Spanish American; Portugal, Brazil and Lusophone Africa; and Hispanic linguistics. As well as traditional subject specialisms, there are clusters of research interest in specific areas: diachronic syntax, cinema, gender studies, cultural studies informed by critical theory, and visual culture. 

Overview of research areas of Spanish and Portuguese Staff

Current and former research students

Cambridge Hispanic Research Seminar

Research events including the annual Norman MacColl Symposium.

Current and Recent Collaborative Projects:

Professor Alison Sinclair (2011-2014)

Awarded £600,765 by the AHRC to fund her three-year research project (2011-14) on ‘Wrongdoing in Spain 1800-1936: Realities, Representations, Reactions’. The intention of the project was to explore society’s understanding of wrongdoing, and the way that this was translated into the world of culture. It was thus concerned not just with wrongdoing, but with the social and cultural responses it elicited. Such responses were deemed to include anxiety, anger, desire for retribution, identification with perpetrators or victims of wrongdoing, the potential for vicarious engagement with wrongdoing through cultural artefacts. The project allowed for questioning of the processes through which it was evident that we, as cultural consumers, take a type of pleasure in wrongdoing. The manifest public fascination in the topic was one that could be traced from medieval ballad through to nineteenth-century broadsides, and eventually to sensationalist literary or visual representations of wrongdoing in our day. This research project featured in a University News article on Research News: 'Read all about it!'. The project held 2 conferences, 4 workshops, and numerous events of public engagement, including an exhibition at the University Library, Cambridge, accessible online at Part of the work resulting of the project was the digitization and cataloguing of 4700 items of ephemeral and popular literature held at the University Library and the British Library (see

‘Wrongdoing in Spain’, and specifically the work on ephemeral literature (pliegos sueltos), catalogued by Ms Sonia Morcillo, and digitized by a team at Cambridge University Library, gave rise to an international project (2014 to present). This is ‘Mapping pliegos’, directed by Professor Alison Sinclair (Cambridge), Professor Pura Fernández (Madrid: CSIC) and Professor Juan Gomis (Valencia). Mapping pliegos aims to extend the work on ephemeral literature in ‘Wrongdoing in Spain’ to compile a reliable and complete catalogue account of Spanish pliegos sueltos, including holdings in major Spanish libraries and archives. The number of sueltos currently collected stands at some 12,000 items. The major initial work of compilation has been carried out by a team working between England and Spain, and the project is engaged in the task of checking the records, and ensuring standardization of practice in the cataloguing. To this end there is collaboration between Ms Morcillo at the University Library and Dr Pilar Martínez Olmo of the Biblioteca Tomás Navarro Tomás at the CSIC in Madrid, and includes the training and guidance of young researchers carrying out the checking. There is an international advisory board, four international workshops have been held (Madrid (2014), Urueña (2015), Madrid (2016) and Valencia (2017), and the group has collaborated with the EDPOP (European Dimensions of Popular Culture) based in Utrecht (2016-18).

Dr Rodrigo Cacho (2009/2011)

Member of the international research project of the Edición anotada de la obra completa en prosa de Quevedo, directed by Alfonso Rey, University of Santiago de Compostela.

Research project funded by the Leverhulme Trust and the Newton Trust, undertaken with the collaboration of Dr Anne Holloway: 'Golden Age Poetry: Centres and Peripheries'. The aim of this research project is to establish reliable corpora for the mock epic and other less studied poetic genres of the Golden Age, and to study in detail their respective thematic sources and stylistic features as well illustrate their influential literary role. More broadly, this work will engage in a necessary historical and cultural revision in order to provide a more accurate, rounded and comprehensive picture of Golden Age literary culture.

Dr Louise M. Haywood and Prof. J. E. Montgomery (FAMES) (2009)

'Two Spains: España and Al-Andalus; Tolerance and Translatio', CRASSH seminar series, Lent term 2009.

The project examines two primary tropes in terms of which al-Andalus and España are construed as phenomena: translatio and tolerance. Other (cognate) tropes are adduced to account for them, chief among them being influence and transmission, whose study is often characterized by a circularity of reading and reasoning. The seminar maps the imbrication of these tropes and practices which characterizes the current study of the literary heritage of al-Andalus and España. We thus investigate whether an integrated study of this literary heritage is possible.

Dr Dominic Keown (2009/2011)

Member of the research project co-ordinated by Dr Margalida Pons of the Universitat de les Illes Balears, La Poesia Experimental Catalan del Periode 1970-1990: Discursos, Representacions, Recepció, Infraestructures de Difusió y Marc Socieocultural

After their successful and controversial analysis of the innovative discourses of post-Franco Catalan culture, Poètiques de ruptura, the team of investigators organised by the Universitat de les Illes Balears has extended the focus of their investigation to consider all aspects of creative experiment during the period concerned, as anticipated by the orientation of the conference held in Palma in July 2009, Transformacions: Literatura i canvi sociocultural dels anys setanta ençà

The project, which includes scholars from universities in Spain, the UK and the USA, is in receipt of an award from the Ministerio de Educación y Cultura.

Dr Ioanna Sitaridou

  • Recipient of the Stanley J. Seeger Visiting Research Fellowship in Hellenic Studies at Princeton University. Dr Sitaridou took up her visiting fellowship there from January to June 2011. She worked on a linguistic project on Romeyka, a Greek variety spoken in North-East Turkey where she has been carrying out ground[breaking fieldwork.

  • Collaborator in the project 'Information Structure and Word Order Change in Germanic and Romance Languages'. Principal investigator: Dr. Kristin Bech and Dr. Kristine Eide, University of Oslo. Norwegian Research Council (2010-2014)

  • Collaborator in the project 'Pragmatic resources in old Indo-European languages'. Principal investigator: Dr. Dag Trygve Truslew Haug, University of Oslo. (2008-2012)

  • Collaborator to the project 'Modelling Change: the paths of French'. Principal investigator: Prof. France Martineau, University of Ottawa. Major Collaborative Research Initiative. (2005-2010)

  • Small research grant from the British Academy. Full amount awarded (£7500). Title: Language contact in medieval Cyprus: the linguistic record. Principal Investigator: Dr Ioanna Sitaridou. Co-investigator: Dr Marina Terkourafi (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign). (April 2007-October 2009).