MemberCynthia Estremera

Cynthia is an emerging scholar of Africana Studies, hip hop studies and the intersectionality of identities through race, gender and feminism. She is currently working on her dissertation which focuses on Black and Latina narratives of citizenship and redefining a politics of New World Blackness in America. Cynthia is pursuing her doctoral degree in English at Lehigh University.

MemberFelipe Valencia

My research and teaching focus on the literature and intellectual history of early modern Spain, with an emphasis on poetry, theory of the lyric, melancholy, and sexual violence, and a secondary interest in colonial Latin America. My work also draws from cultural studies and critical theory. I am interested in the specifically early modern ways in which the women and men of the sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Hispanic world thought of literature—in the way they forged poetics with materials and interdisciplinary sensitivities distinct from our own. My published work has dealt with sixteenth-century Spanish lyric and epic poetry, sixteenth-century political tragedy, pastoral, the early works of Miguel de Cervantes, and the poetry of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz.   My forthcoming first book, The Melancholy Void: Lyric and Masculinity in the Age of Góngora (University of Nebraska Press, 2021) contends that at the turn of the seventeenth century, partly as a response to the rising prestige and commercial success of epic, partly enabled by the idea of melancholy—which had gained great importance throughout Europe during the sixteenth century when it came to think about the physical, ethical, social, and political stakes of creativity—several Spanish poets conceived lyric as a melancholy and masculinist discourse that sings of and perpetrates symbolic violence against the female beloved. The Melancholy Void examines the centrality of gender violence and anxieties about feminization in connection with lyric utterance in influential texts such as La Araucana (1569-1590) by Alonso de Ercilla, Algunas obras (1582) by Fernando de Herrera, and the Fábula de Polifemo y Galatea (1612) and the Soledades (1613-1614) by Luis de Góngora, but also in a lesser-known collection of lyric such as Versos (1612) by Juan de Arguijo, and the pastoral romance La Galatea (1585), the first printed work by Miguel de Cervantes. Through the study of these texts, which offer a wide sampling of styles, themes, and traditions, The Melancholy Void addresses four problems in the scholarship of early modern Spanish poetry: what was the response to and contribution from Spanish poetry to the fledgling theory of the lyric in late sixteenth- and early seventeenth-century Europe, and what consequences did this turn to theory have for Spanish lyric? How did the rise of Spanish epic at that time affect Spanish lyric? What was the impact on Spanish poetry of the heightened interest in melancholy across Europe at the turn of the seventeenth century, so evident in works from other genres, for instance Don Quijote and El médico de su honra? And last, but not least, what was the role of gender violence and the construction of masculinity in key texts of the Spanish poetic tradition, especially in love poetry? Born in Colombia of Colombian parents, I also grew up in Spain and the United States. I am a citizen of all three countries and an immigrant above all.