Faculty Advisors

veronica menaldi and michelle hamilton at commencement
Veronica Menaldi, PhD with advisor Michelle Hamilton, PhD

The faculty of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese are passionate researchers and teachers of subjects including Global Portuguese, Hispanic Linguistics, and Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies. In addition to our department faculty, we have a strong group of faculty from other departments that represent the interdisciplinary interests of our students. Many serve as members on graduate student committees.

Every student must have an advisor - the intellectual relationship between the student and the advisor is crucial. In choosing an advisor, the student is effectively deciding to concentrate in the advisor's area of study and to write the thesis or dissertation under the advisor's direction. A faculty member, by accepting the student as an advisee, agrees to act as teacher, counselor, and ultimately, judge. Changes to advisors can be made, usually at milestones (exams etc.)

Current advisees in italics

Sophia Beal, Associate Professor, Director of Graduate Studies
Jacob Dixon, Thiago Santana

Dr. Beal’s research focuses on literary and cultural analysis within the Portuguese-speaking world, primarily analyzing questions related to public space and urban development. She contributes to the curriculum in the areas of Brazilian, Portuguese, and Lusophone-African cultural production.

Ofelia Ferrán, Associate Professor
Camille Braun

Dr. Ferrán specializes in autobiography, contemporary Spanish peninsular literature, contemporary Spanish women writers, exile literature, feminist theory, literary theory and criticism, narrative constructions and representations of memory. Along with Ana Forcinito, and Brian Engdahl, Dr. Ferrán is a PI of  Memory, Trauma, and Human Rights at the Crossroads of Art and Science.

Ana Paula Ferreira, Professor
Ariel Arjona, Jacob Dixon

Dr. Ferreira research includes feminist and gender studies, Portuguese and Brazilian literatures, critical race studies, colonial/postcolonial studies and medieval and renaissance literatures. She is on leave during the 2019-2020 academic year, writing a new book.

Ana Forcinito, Professor, Department Chair
José Aguirre, Carolina Añon Suárez, Olga Salazar Pozos, Alejandra Takahira, Carlos Villanueva

Dr. Forcinito is the current chair of the Dept of Spanish & Portuguese. She specializes in testimonial and visual practices anchored in the promotion of human rights, the reconstruction of memory in post-authoritarian regimes and the eradication of gender violence. Her expertise includes: Nineteenth- and twentieth-century Latin American literature, with a focus on the Southern Cone; memory and human rights studies; feminist theory and gender studies; and Latin American film. She is a PI of Memory, Trauma, and Human Rights at the Crossroads of Art and Science.

Osiris Aníbal Gómez, Assistant Professor

Dr. Gómez joined the Department in Fall 2020 from the University of California, Santa Barbara where he completed his PhD, “Sinfonías originarias: comunidad, pensamiento y poesía". He specializes in contemporary Mexican indigenous poetry and is working on a book project which aims to create a theoretical framework that builds on the concept of comunalidad as the origin and mechanism of collective identity and indigenous political organization. 

Michelle Hamilton, Professor
Sara Gardner, Alexander Korte, Magaly Ortiz

Dr. Hamilton is Director of Medieval Studies and Professor of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities where she offers courses on religious studies, Jewish studies, and Spanish literature and culture. She has published widely on multi-confessional Iberia. She is currently working on a project examining the intersections of translation, ruins and wonder in the Iberian Arabic and Romance traditions.

Jaime Hanneken, Associate Professor
Ariel Arjona, Carlos Villanueva

Dr. Hanneken specializes in contemporary Latin American and Francophone Literature. Her research foci include: postcolonial studies; globalization; Latin American vanguardias; discursive appropriations of Paris in Caribbean, Latin American, and African contexts; uses and limitations of metropolitan literary, cultural theory in peripheral contexts.

Raúl Marrero-Fente, Professor
Catalina Ahumada Escobar, Magaly Ortiz, Olga Salazar-Pozos, Javier Zapata

Dr. Marrero-Fente’s research focuses on Global Colonial Studies in the Hispanophone World. His specialities include: Early Modern Global Hispanophone Literature and Culture, Colonial Latin America Literature and Culture, Hispanophone-African Literature and Culture; Hispanophone-Asian Literature and Culture; Human Rights; and Early Modern Hispanic Epic Poetry.

Luis Ramos-Garcia, Associate Professor, Director of Undergraduate Studies

Dr. Ramos-Garcia specializes in human rights across the disciplines including theater, art, political science, and literature. His interests also include cultural discourses and poetry in contemporary Latin American and Peninsular literature, and Andean studies and Indigenous literature. He is a PI of UMN Grand Challenges Research Art and Theater Interdisciplinary project titled, “The State of Iberoamerican Studies Series: Human Rights Across the Disciplines and Voice to Vision Project.”

Nicholas Spadaccini, Professor
Javier Zapata

Dr. Spadaccini is the editor in chief of Hispanic Issues and Hispanic Issues Online. He specializes in Peninsular Literature and Culture and Colonial Spanish-American Literature and Culture. He is also an expert on Cervantes.

William Viestenz, Associate Professor
José Aguirre, Camille Braun

Dr. Viestenz specializes in modern Iberian literature and culture. He works in topics of the sacred, post-secularism, political theology, ethics, film studies, the philosophy of history, Catalan studies, and human rights.

Current advisees in italics

Timothy Face, Professor
William Cornejo

Specializing in Spanish phonology, Dr. Face’s research activity includes acquisition, development, and ultimate attainment of the Spanish sound system by native English-speaking adult learners. He also focuses on the intonation of Castilian Spanish and Speech perception as evidence in phonology.

Carol Klee, Professor
Perla Escobar, Sabrina Fluegel, Vivian Franco Díaz, Yoko Hama, Jacky James, Celeste Morales, James Ramsburg, Leiry Warren

Dr. Klee specializes in Spanish language contact, sociolinguistics, and content-based language instruction. Much of her research focuses on Peru and she is currently working on a sociolinguistic project with Rocio Caravedo titled, “Language Change in Peru: Dialect Contact as a Result of Andean Migration to Lima.”

Mandy Menke, Assistant Professor, Director of Language Programs
Perla Escobar, Vivian Franco Díaz, Raegeom Lee, Marie Mangold, Leiry Warren

As Director of Language Programs, Dr. Menke oversees all instruction and pedagogy of our core language learning classes (SPAN 1001 - 3015W, PORT 1101 - 3003). She specializes in Spanish second language acquisition, second language phonology; language immersion education; and second language teaching

Francisco Ocampo, Associate Professor
Raegeom Lee, James Ramsburg

Dr. Ocampo’s research interests include: language and ideology; language variation; relationship between syntax, cognition and discourse; and word order in spoken Spanish; and language and humor.

Alejandro Baer, Sociology

Social Memory Studies, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Antisemitism, Globalization, Sociology of Media and Communication, Qualitative Methods, Visual Sociology

Martha Bigelow, Curriculum & Instruction

Second language acquisition, schooling experiences of adolescent immigrant youth, preservice language teacher education, multicultural education

Dustin Chacon, Linguistics

Language processing, syntax, Child Language, semantics, South Asian languages

Sarah Chambers, History

Colonial Latin American history, cultural and legal history, gender history, transition between the end of the colonial period and the formation of republican nations, Chile, Andean region

Barbara Frey, Human Rights

Human Rights Advocacy, gun violence and human rights, refugee and immigrant law and policy, Human Rights in Mexico, International norms on death investigations

Njeri Githire, African American & African Studies

African Literary and Cultural Production; Literatures of the African Diaspora; Literature of Immigration and Racial Formation in the African Diasporic Spheres; Women's Writings and Feminist Theory; Postcolonial Theory and Criticism; Francophone Studies; Food, (Non)-Eating, and Related Topics in Literature

Amy Kaminsky, Gender, Women & Sexuality Studies

Spanish and Latin American literature, feminist literary theory and criticism, Latin American film, Exile and national identity in Latin America, Jewish writing and film in Argentina, race, gender, and sexuality

Kendall King, Curriculum & Instruction

Sociolinguistics, language policy, language research methods, and language education 

Nabil Matar, History

Seventeenth-Century English Religious literature, Arabic and European travel literature, Captivity Literature, Euro-Islmaic contacts (early modern), Arab-Islamic civilization

Patrick McNamara, History

Cognitive History, History and Memory, Comparative Revolutions, Mexico, El Salvador, Drug Violence in the Americas, Human Rights

Elaine Tarone, CARLA

Pronunciation, influence of language transfer, shifts in grammatical accuracy depending on social situation, communication strategies, language play, and literacy skills in a second language, language teacher education.