Dr. Erika M. Sutherland
Associate Professor, Spanish
As a Spanish professor, my primary area is contemporary literature (1700-present) from Spain, with special interest in the representation of women, the body and medicine. My courses on The Lovesick Body and Fallen Women: Prostitution, Empire and Historical Memory explore canonical and marginal literatures within their social, scientific and literary contexts. I also teach community-based interpreting and translation, skills that allow our heritage and advanced students to combine disparate areas of interest and study with Spanish in a high-demand field. Finally, I am fascinated by the process by which beginning language students acquire the skills, confidence and sense of curiosity to inspire them to continue studying Spanish—I always look forward to my elementary Spanish classes.
My research informs my teaching, which in turn inspires new areas of study. My scholarship centers on the 19th-century novel from Spain and includes studies on the representation of domestic violence, sexuality, disease and doctors. I am also intrigued by writers who write despite a host of adversities; these include Spanish Gypsy writers and women writers. I am currently completing “(Con)Textos femeninos: Antología de escritoras españolas,” a critical anthology of Spanish women writers. Teaching literature in a second language has led me to study the dynamics of teaching: What makes a student want to study literature in Spanish from a different time and culture? How can science and medicine work to draw today’s students in? Considering the broader issues of teaching, what intellectual challenges can inspire yet not intimidate students? On and beyond campus, I am a committed activist, organizer and educator around immigration and immigrant rights. I am regularly invited to lead workshops and discussions with educational, religious and community groups; speak on the radio and TV; and write for local publications.