Ms Elena Castillo Ramirez
Office: Main Arts, Room 408
I am a Graduate Teaching Assistant in Spanish and a tutor for Languages For All. I am currently pursuing a PhD in Hispanic Studies under the supervision of Dr. Eva. Bru-Domínguez and Dr. David Miranda-Barreiro.
I graduated with a BA in Filología Inglesa (English Studies) from the University of Córdoba, Spain in 2007, and I was awarded a PRESHCO Scholarship from that university to collaborate as a Spanish Instructor in Wheaton College, MA (USA) for the course 2008/2009. In 2009, via the Spanish programme of Lectorados para españoles MAEC-AECID, I started working at Memphis University, TN (USA) where I also completed a MA in Romance Languages with a specialization in Spanish and Latin American Literature in 2012. In 2013, I moved to London where I worked as a Spanish tutor in the private sector and completed a MRes in Spanish, Portuguese, and Latin American Cultural Studies in 2017. I moved to Bangor in 2018 to pursue a PhD in Hispanic Studies.
Hispanic film and television studies, contemporary Spanish and Latin American literature, feminist studies, cultural studies, comparative literature, memory and trauma, visual culture.
My MA, as it was awarded by comprehensive exams and essays, gave me the opportunity to do small research projects on a wide range of topics from the female representation in the Golden Age of Mexican Cinema, and the rewriting of classic fairy tales in South American short stories, to Spanish Civil War memory in Almudena Grandes’ novels or nationalism in Bernardo Atxaga and Manuel Rivas’ narratives.
My MRes dissertation, ‘La invasión by Ricardo Piglia: experiences of the sixties in Argentina’, analyses the short stories of Piglia’s first work to demonstrate how he creates new literature with the re-functioning of techniques of bourgeois art to give his fictional stories a social function, looking into the margins of the official history of his country. Inserted in the aesthetic-politics debate of the time amongst left-wing intellectuals on how to approach politics from their writings, Piglia defends that ‘es luchando por la nueva cultura y no violentando los “contenidos” o alienando a la literatura en la inmediatez de lo político como podemos responder a la realidad de nuestro tiempo’ (1965: 12). Hence, following the unification between idealistic aesthetic and social realism, the stories of La invasión bring to light the Argentine reality of the 1960s without abandoning the aesthetic techniques of the literary work.
The New Feminist Series: Cha(lle)nging the Representations of the Postfeminist Woman in Spanish Television (2015–2020)
My thesis examines how the representations and cultural discourses of recent years in Spain are constructing new female imageries that differ from the postfeminist femininity cultivated in popular culture since the 1990s. The resurgence of the Spanish feminist movement as well as a renewed media interest in female stories are changing the portrayals of women in television series challenging the three models of the postfeminist woman: the girl, the housewife, and the career woman. I analyse three case studies of female-led Spanish TV series that were produced and aired between 2015 and 2020 as alternatives to these traditional archetypes of femininity. Each series, among other characteristics that expose feminist ideals, dismantles one of the models. La otra mirada, focusing on the beauty myth and the girl power discourses, challenges the model of the girl. Señoras del (h)AMPA deconstructs the model of the housewife, specifically, the myth of the good mother promulgated through the ‘new momism’ discourse. And Paquita Salas proposes different representations of career women far removed from the postfeminist model.