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Romance Languages and Literatures

Disorienting the Monolingual Text: Spanglish as a Queer Writing and Reading Practice in Susana Chávez-Silverman's Bilingual Memoirs

Eduardo Gonzalez (2014); Mentor(s): Susana Chávez-Silverman

Abstract withheld upon request
Funding Provided by: National Endowment for the Humanities

Changing Views of Church in 19th-Century Spanish Costumbrismo

Madeleine DeMeules (2014); Mentor(s): Mary Coffey

Abstract: In the mid-eighteenth century, a new genre of periodical literature, costumbrismo, emerged throughout Spain. Costumbrismo aims to depict the everyday characters and societies of a nation through vignettes and, occasionally, accompanying illustrations. Costumbrismo truly flourished during the 19th century. During this time, absolutist institutions like the Catholic Church, and their place in society, changed due to the rise of political liberalism. As the Catholic Church has long been intimately intertwined with Spain’s history, this era of change is a prime arena in which to explore the relationship between church and state in Spain. Costumbrismo, a decidedly autobiographical genre of literature, has the potential to reveal Spainish society’s attitudes and concerns about this shift. To accurately contextualize costumbrista texts, it is necessary to consider other periodical sources from this era. An examination of serial publications from 19th century Spain housed in Madrid’s Biblioteca Nacional (National Library) and Hemeroteca Municipal (Municipal Archives) reveals that costumbrista literature echoes contemporary periodicals published by the Church during the first part of the 19th century, but begins to contest these same publications by the latter half of the century. This evolution suggests that the secular publishers of costumbrista literature wrote in a way that favored Spain’s shift from absolutism toward liberalism.
Funding Provided by: Oldenborg International Research and Travel Grant

Reinaldo Arenas: A Life of Poetry, Politics and Prose

Margaret (Maggie) Munts (2016); Additional Collaborator(s): Enrico Santi (University of Kentucky); Mentor(s): Nivia Montenegro

Abstract: Diverse and numerous, the writings of deceased Cuban novelist, activist and poet Reinaldo Arenas share a common thread: truth. Whether describing the Baroque period, criticizing Fidel Castro or exploring the Cuban LGBTQ experience, Arenas unapologetically states his truth. Professors Nivia Montenegro of Pomona College and Enrico Mario Santi of the University of Kentucky have collected many of Arenas's disperse works with the intention of preserving the writer's multifaceted legacy. The project of transcribing these texts has been one step in the process of bringing Arenas's candor and creativity to life as Montenegro and Santi compile a book of Arenas's works.
Funding Provided by: National Endowment for the Humanities

Making Masculinity Modern: the Clergy, the Fashion Press, and Napoleon’s “New” Clothes

Hannah Pinkham (2015); Mentor(s): Margaret Waller

Abstract: While evolving gender norms have begun to erode the idea that fashion is inherently feminine, we still tend to assume it natural for women to follow fashion trends, while men adopt a disinterested approach to dress. My research for Professor Margaret Waller’s book, Napoleon’s Closet, challenges this assumption through a re-examination of the “Great Masculine Renunciation,” an 18th and 19th century phenomenon where previously flamboyant menswear became sober and standardized, leaving the frivolity of la mode to women. While many scholars have studied this transition, we are the first to examine the ways the French clergy, the men behind Paris’s early fashion magazines, and the emperor Napoleon intersected to inform the construction of modern masculinity. Drawing from historical accounts and contemporary scholarship, we analyze narratives that challenge and explain our modern understanding of men and fashion: priests highly concerned with what they wore and how they wore it; Pierre de la Mésangère, a cleric turned prominent fashion editor who publicly denied his interest in fashion while hoarding thousands of garments; and Napoleon’s careful attention to dress as a means of reinforcing political power. We find that the modern expectation for men to downplay or “closet” their appearance for fear of exposure is not inherent or based in individual desire; rather, it is an historical and contingent phenomenon heavily influenced by 18th and 19th century sociocultural developments.
Funding Provided by: Pomona College SURP

Research at Pomona