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Members' publications

To celebrate the 20th anniversary of WISPS a special issue has been published by the Journal of Romance Studies


Echoes of empowerment: Women's voices across the Latin American, lusophone, and Spanish cultures 

edited by Mercedes Carbayo Abengozar, Mirna Vohnsen and Alicia Castillo Villanueva

Violeta Parra's Visual Art: Painted Songs

by Lorna Dillon

Ulster University

This book explores Violeta Parra’s visual art, focusing on her embroideries (arpilleras), paintings, papier-mâché collages and sculptures. Parra is one of Chile’s great artists and musicians, yet her visual art is relatively unknown. Her fusion of complex imagery from Chilean folk music and culture with archetypes in Western art results in a hybrid body of work. Parra’s hybridism is the story of this book, in which Dillon explores Parra’s ‘painted songs’, the ekphrastic nature of her creations and the way ideas translate from her music and poetry into her visual art. The book identifies three intellectual currents in Parra’s art: its relationship to motifs from Chilean popular and oral culture; its relationship to the work of other modern artists; and its relationship to the themes of her protest music. It argues that Parra’s commentaries on inequality and injustice have as much resonance today as they did fifty years ago. Dillon also explores the convergence between Parra’s art and the work of other modern twentieth-century artists, considering its links to Surrealism, Pop Art and the Mexican Muralism Movement. Parra exhibited in open-air art fairs, museums and cultural centres as well as in prestigious venues such as Museu de Arte Moderna do Brasil (the Museum of Modern Art in Brazil) and the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (Museum of Decorative Arts) in Paris. This book reflects on Parra’s socially-engaged work as it was expressed through her exhibitions in these centres as well as in her own cultural centre La carpa de la reina. 


More about this book at:

Violeta Parra’s Visual Art - Painted Songs | Lorna Dillon | Palgrave Macmillan

Auteurism, Machismo-Leninismo, and Other Issues: Women's Labor in Andean Oppositional Film Production

by Isabel Seguí

University of 


This article contextualizes and characterizes production practices in political cinema in Bolivia and Peru between the 1960s and 1990s, reading them as a communitarian endeavor that included many more women than official history acknowledges. It also documents the work of two overshadowed filmmakers—the Bolivian Beatriz Palacios and the Peruvian María Barea—mainly in their roles as film producers and managers of small producing companies, but also as directors. In order to effectively incorporate women into Andean cinema history, I advocate for a nonhierarchical historiographical methodology and the academic consideration of personal relationships as one of the driving factors in artisanal political production cultures. A non-auteurist approach to unearthing Andean women filmmakers is central to this revisionist project that aims to shed light on an entire range of women's labor in collaborative film production, not only directorial work.

This article can be found here:

Aesth/Ethics of Distance: (Un)Veiling Grief in Rosa Montero’s La ridícula idea de no volver a verte

by Deirdre Kelly


University Dublin

This chapter analyses La ridícula idea de no volver a verte (2013), by the well-known contemporary Spanish author and journalist, Rosa Montero (b. Madrid, 1951), as a singular text within the Spanish tradition of life writing. The chapter focuses on Montero’s ethics and aesthetics of distance and her negotiation with the auto/biographical genre in this generically hybrid text, which combines autobiography, biography, grief memoir, personal essay and photobiography. It discusses the author’s constant fluctuations between revelations and concealments, and the parallels between Montero and her biographical subject—the Polish scientist and two times Nobel Prize winner, Marie Curie—particularly regarding their respective grieving processes in widowhood.  

This chapter is part of the book:

New Journeys in Iberian Studies: A (Trans-)National and (Trans-)Regional Exploration

Women in Transition: Crossing Boundaries, Crossing Borders

by Maria-José Blanco

King's College London

and Claire Williams

University of Oxford

This volume brings together scholars, students and writers as well as artists from around the world. By choosing a thematic focus on "transition" in women’s lives, we present research on women who have crossed biological, geopolitical and political borders as well as emotional, sexual, cultural and linguistic boundaries. The international approach brings together different cultures and genres in order to emphasize the links and connections that bind women together, rather than those which separate them. We are particularly interested in the idea of crossing borders and how this influences identity and belonging, and in the context of motherhood and other physiological changes. The contributions deal with issues central to contemporary life, such as gender equality and women’s empowerment, as well as understanding women’s identities and being sensitive to fluid concepts of gender and sexuality. 

More about this book at:

 After Clarice: Reading Lispector's Legacy in the Twenty-First Century

by Adriana X. Jacobs and Claire Williams

University of Oxford

Forty years after her death, Clarice Lispector’s startling oeuvre continues to fascinate readers and scholars. Gathering scholarly articles, works of fiction and poetry, personal essays and archival material, After Clarice: Reading Lispector’s Legacy in the Twenty-First Century brings together scholars, authors, artists, and translators working in a wide range of languages and disciplines to address Lispector’s place, as a Brazilian writer, in twenty-first century configurations of world literature. It aims to evaluate the fluctuations and swerves in Lispector’s critical fortunes, focusing on the way her works have been reread and transformed in other languages, genres, and media. In addition to her stories and novels, After Clarice also examines Lispector’s journalism, writing for children, interviews, music and visual art collaborations, and considers how these activities have garnered her new readers in a wide range of disciplines. 

More about this book at:

Womanart - Women, arts and the dictatorship. The cases of Portugal, Brazil and Portuguese Speaking African Countries

features an article by

Maria Luisa Coelho

University of Oxford

This special issue of Diacrítica makes visible the presence of women as resilient creators of alternative aesthetic canons (literary and artistic), which actively challenge and unveil the status quo and hegemonic discourses in dictatorial contexts within Portugal and Portuguese speaking countries. Its articles reflect on how the dominant ideology marked female artistic practices and analyse different forms of resistance engendered by women. This publication is one of the outcomes of the project WOMANART, which is engaged in a transversal and interartistic reflection on the voices of women artists who actively challenged censorship, mutism and political repression from different generations, geographies and artistic practices and discourses. 

More about this special issue of Diacrítica here:

Transnational Portuguese Women Artists

by Claudia-Pazos Alonso and Maria Luisa Coelho

University of Oxford

This special issue revisits Portuguese women’s experiences of cultural encounters across national borders. The articles address women’s contribution to ‘Portuguese’ culture, in order to interrogate through a transcultural perspective the conditions that mediate the development of these women's creativity and thought, their reception and impact. The intellectuals discussed in this volume have either lived abroad for extended periods of time, or have multiple national roots and alliances, prompting them to problematize (national) identity and cultural difference and to replace these certainties with hybridism and/or fragmentation. They are cultural agents who have written across cultures, often developing productive discussions across national boundaries. Through their written and public work they have also been able to promote translocal relations and an ethical relation to otherness, disrupting fixed notions of subjective and national identity.

More about this special issue of Portuguese Studies here:

Jewish Women in Rural Argentina and the Representation of Argentinidad

by Mirna Vohnsen

Technological University Dublin

This article shows that the examination of the Jewish female onscreen can shed light on the controversial question of argentinidad. It examines the representation of two Jewish women in the agricultural settlements of the north-eastern province of Entre Ríos, Argentina, in the early twentieth century. Through the analysis of Miriam’s story in Juan José Jusid’s Los gauchos judíos and Gertrudis’s story in María Victoria Menis’s La cámara oscura, the essay argues that the national cinema of Argentina advocates the acculturation of the Jewish woman in Argentine society, and demonstrates that integration provokes a clash between tradition and assimilation. Placing the Jewish woman at the centre of the study reveals that these women are forced to break with their identity groups to integrate into their host country, a process that comes at a considerable cost.

This article can be found here:

What Happens in Clipperton…: Criminality and Trauma in Isla de pasión (1989) by Laura Restrepo and Isla de bobos (2007) by Ana García Bergua

by Niamh Thornton

University of Liverpool

Clipperton is an atoll in the Pacific Ocean. Small in scale, but significant in its multiple occupations and territorial contestations, Mexico claimed and occupied it in the early twentieth century. During the Mexican Revolution a small group of men, women and children remained on the island. Lacking the practical supports needed to live on Clipperton, many fell ill and some died of malnutrition leaving women and children behind alongside a violent man who declared himself leader. Unwilling to withstand his aggression, he was murdered by one or more of the women. Shortly thereafter the women returned to Mexico. The story of how they survived and escaped has inspired two novels, Isla de pasión (1989) by Laura Restrepo and Isla de bobos (2007) by Ana García Bergua. This chapter examines how both authors employ distinct approaches to piece together the remnants of the trauma and identifies where criminality lies.


This chapter is part of the book:

Crime Scenes: Latin American Crime Fiction from the 1960s to the 2010s

Archives of Human Rights and Historical Memory: An Analysis of Archival Practices ‘From Below’ in Four NGOs in Colombia

by Claire Taylor,

Lucia Brandi,

University of Liverpool Cecilia Acosta Sánchez, 

Independent scholar, and Marcelo Díaz Vallejo

Pontificia Universidad Javeriana

This article centres on four Colombian NGOs who focus on victims of conflict, paying particular attention to the substantial body of material which they collect and curate related to their work, their activities, and the victims that they represent, and which thus comprise a form of unofficial, grassroots archives of the Colombian conflict. The article details the process undertaken by the research team in engaging with the NGOs to examine the current state of their archives, and the problems and issues they have encountered. Firstly, we provide an overview of the context in which the four selected NGOs are working, and a summary of their main aims and missions. Subsequently, we undertake detailed analysis of the data gathered by the research team, combining quantitative and qualitative methods. We identify the main challenges that each NGO faces, and highlight the most salient points that arise regarding the collection, curation and preservation of non-official, grassroots archives. Of particular interest is the emergence of a disparity between the NGO’s initial evaluations or perceptions of the condition of their archives, and the evaluations subsequently developed through the research process, highlighting both the saliency of the project and its methodological approach, and the urgency of their need for support.

This article can be found here:

Recovering Refugee Stories: Chilean Refugees and World University Service

by Alison Ribeiro de Menezes

University of Warwick

This article charts and evaluates the work of the UK-based NGO, World University Service (WUS), in assisting Chileans who fled their country in the wake of the 1973 coup and subsequent Pinochet dictatorship. The article combines documentary research with a series of in-depth interviews with 26 Chileans who were assisted by WUS. It outlines the history, structure and development-based focus of the WUS scholarship scheme, and explores quantitative data of the scheme’s academic success, before enriching this with qualitative research focused on analysis of refugees’ individual life stories. The research findings reveal tensions between what Chanfrault-Duchet calls the ‘inner self’ and the ‘social self’ in the case especially of women interviewees. It concludes that a focus on women’s individual life stories as emplotted narratives can enrich quantitative understandings of the grassroots experience of exile, helping to avoid the historical decontextualization of discussions of refugee support programmes.

The article can be found here:

Nunca Invisibles: Insurgent Memory and Self-Representation by Female Ex-Combatants in Colombia

by Cherilyn Elston

University of Reading

As part of attempts to end more than half a century of armed conflict, transitional justice and memory initiatives have proliferated in Colombia, providing recognition and redress to victims of violence. Yet, alongside the focus on victims, former insurgents in Colombia have also called for the inclusion of their own narratives of the conflict in public memory initiatives. Responding to recent memory studies scholarship, which has begun to reorient the field away from a narrow focus on past trauma, this article analyses the construction of ‘insurgent memory’ in Colombia through the 2018 documentary Nunca Invisibles: Mujeres Farianas, Adiós a la guerra. Emerging from a grassroots memory project led by women from the FARC, I explore how the film challenges the predominant framing of ex-combatant women as victims in transitional justice and DDR (Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration) scholarship. Situating this in a longer history of memory projects by female combatants, the article analyses how such projects, whilst articulating a discourse of peace and reconciliation, vindicate a narrative of female revolutionary activism and a political identity that is often erased in post-conflict ‘reintegration’ processes. In doing so, I demonstrate the importance of creative, grassroots processes in enabling ex-combatants to represent themselves and move beyond the limitations of official memory and transitional justice frameworks.

This article can be found here:

Economia dos Cuidados: Quem Perde com o Pandemônio Feminino na Pandemia?

by Inês Prado Soares

Federal University of Pelotas,

Lucia Elena Arantes Ferreira Bastos

Independent scholar

and Melina Girardi Fachin

Federal University of Paraná

This article is based on the assumption that the spread of the Coronavirus has changed almost all aspects of daily life. In addition to the complexity featuring women's existence, there is a consensus that, during the pandemic, the responsibilities attributed to women have increased. Within this background, the authors emphasize that the post-COVID reality may impact the quest for equality and even maintain an overloaded role for women – who are facing duties related to child care, cleaning, cooking and supporting the elders. Historically, in the Brazilian society, there is little appreciation for activities that are culturally attributed to the female gender in family relationships, which causes an imbalance in the division of domestic tasks. Also, under an economical and juridical perspective, there has been a disregard of family care in terms of public policies. In conclusion, authors argue about the need to have a gender lenses to face the crisis and the post-crisis presented by this pandemic time.

The article can be found here:

Mulheres e o Sistema Interamericano de Proteção aos Direitos Humanos – Direitos Políticos, Violência Doméstica e Pandemia

by Lucia Elena Arantes Ferreira Bastos

Independent scholar

Besides being a medical, public health and economic concern, the coronavirus pandemic also presents side effects on public security and protection of human rights. Considering that all human rights are affected in some way – namely the right to life, health and personal security, the right to work, social security, education, food, among other economic, social, cultural and environmental aspects – this chapter analyzes a fraction of these rights, which are those related to women's rights. The research was based on the experience of the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights and its assistance in terms of policies to deal with domestic violence, political rights and the recognition that women have occupied frontline roles in the global struggle to treat infected people.

The information about the chapter of the book can be found here:

Direitos Reprodutivos e a Autonomia da Mulher sobre o Próprio Corpo: Esterilização Forçada e Dignidade da Pessoa Humana

by Lucia Elena Arantes Ferreira Bastos

Independent scholar

and Julia de Albuquerque Barreto

Mackenzie University

Focused on the constitutional statement that family planning has a non-coercive nature and it must be guided by preventive and educational actions respecting women's autonomy over their own bodies, this chapter investigates the origins of laws that based on eugenic methodologies spread the forced sterilization of people who were considered as “abnormal”, “undesirable” or “inferior” in the XX century. In addition, the research comprises the development of reproductive rights, in Brazil, during the last four decades, by observing: (i) the impact of a Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry which investigated complaints of mass sterilization of women during the 70s and 80s; (ii) the Family Planning Law (1996) and the Inclusion Law (2015) regarding the reproductive rights of people with disabilities; and (iii) the emblematic and condemnable “Janaína Case (2018) that determined the forced sterilization of a woman based on her situation of vulnerability, due to her addiction on drugs and alcohol.

The information about the chapter of the book can be found here:

Historical Dictionary of Eva Perón

by María Belén Rabadán Vega

Maynooth University

and Mirna Vohnsen

Technological University Dublin

Even though First Lady Eva Perón (fondly known as Evita) died 69 years ago, she remains one of the most controversial figures in Argentina. Adored by the masses and loathed by the bourgeoisie, Evita polarized Argentine society during her lifetime, but the feelings she once aroused continues to occupy a central role in the Argentine psyche. Her Cinderella story, her rise to power, her unprecedented political and social action, her death, and the wandering of her body are some aspects of her fascinating persona which have contributed to the spread of her iconic image in Argentina and beyond. This historical dictionary captures all these aspects, deconstructing the story of a woman who crossed borders and broke down gender barriers at a time when women’s participation in politics was unusual. This volume, the first comprehensive reference book in English devoted to Evita, intimates why she will not and probably cannot be forgotten.

The book will be published by Rowman & Littlefield.

Feminism in Spain: A History of Love and Hate

by Mercedes Carbayo Abegonzar 

Maynooth University

In 2000, in a volume entitled Women in Contemporary Culture, I collaborated on the chapter I am sharing with you, about the historical struggle of Spanish women during the twentieth century. I intended to make a projection onto the century that was about to start which, according to Victoria Camps, was going to be the century of women. Twenty years later, I would like to celebrate the 8th of March 2021 by revisiting Camp’s words and consider some of the challenges that we are facing: the effects of economic crisis of 2008, the impact of social media, the centrality of environmental issues, the ethical debates that new assisted reproductive technologies have put on the table, new discourses about gender(s), the impact of great scale migrations, and of course, the consequences of the Covid19. What does feminism(s) look like in the Hispanic and Lusophone world in the first quarter of the twenty-first century?

This book chapter is part of the book:

Women in Contemporary Culture. Roles and Identities in France and Spain

To celebrate Women's day, a selection of article of our members has been included in this section

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