B.A., Middlebury College; M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Columbia University
Associate Professor of Spanish
Interested in questions of language and representation in the colonial, trans-Atlantic, and trans-Pacific realms.
My research projects delve into topics related to colonial Latin America. My book manuscript, Inevitability of Naming in Christopher Columbus’s Diario de a bordo , analyzes Columbian place names as expressions of both destructive and creative collisions between visions and languages, landscapes and societies. However, rather than thinking of these place names as overriding impositions in an imperialistic language, I pay close attention to ways in which other languages, particularly of the native Taino inhabitants, infiltrated and altered Columbus’s discourse, producing a new world that no longer belonged to either pre-Columbian America or Europe alone. My published articles deal with the questions of Columbian naming as well as depictions of violent relationships among races and genders in 18th-century New Spain (Mexico) casta paintings. My research projects in progress focus on 18th-century Peruvian texts as well as on early literature of transatlantic and transpacific exploration.
At Wellesley College, my courses explore issues in colonial Latin American literature, culture, and society. I have designed courses that cover tropes such as clothing/nakedness and food. My other courses scrutinize topics in the writing of indigenous and Afro Hispanic authors as well as the development of Latin American civilization and culture. In addition to courses in the Spanish Department, I have designed a course for the Comparative Literature Program that studies the notion of space and of mapping in literature and cartography across geography and time. I am interested in educational technology and have received grants to develop projects at both Columbia University and Wellesley College, in collaboration with colleagues and with Wellesley’s talented students.
In addition to my research projects, I translate fiction and poetry from Spanish and English into Lithuanian. Some of my published translations include The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson, Dangerous Summer by Ernest Hemingway, Hotel by Arthur Hailey, La casa de los espíritus by Isabel Allende, La tabla de Flandes by Arturo Pérez-Reverte, and Sab by Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda. Thanks to generous grants, I have spent time exploring research questions at libraries and research centers in the United States, Spain, and Latin America, including the John Carter Brown Library, Escuela de Estudios Hispanoamericanos, and Universidad Autonoma de Mexico, as well as in literary translation centers in Spain and Italy.
I enjoy learning languages and speak Lithuanian, Spanish, English, Italian, Russian, and Portuguese. A zealous traveler, I've spent a lot of time visiting Latin America (Cuba, Peru, Ecuador, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Dominican Republic, Brazil, Mexico), Europe (Spain, Italy, Portugal, central and eastern Europe), Asia (Thailand), Australia, and New Zealand. As a former dancer trained in modern dance, ballet, and competitive ballroom (Latin and standard), I met my husband on a competition floor at Columbia University. Though no longer training, we both still love various forms of dance and are connected to the world of dance.