I’m Alison, and I’m a filóloga currently based in sunny Los Angeles, California. As a researcher of contemporary Hispanic literature, I investigate how ethnic and racial minority authors and artists are represented – and represent themselves – in Spain today. While living, teaching, and researching across Spain, I became fascinated by ongoing debates around national identity that have polarized this rapidly-diversifying democracy. As an American, Spain’s struggle over who and what can claim to be “authentically” Spanish is all too familiar, as the rise of far-right politics in both countries has led to the radicalization of so-called patriotic national identity.
In my WiRe Fellowship, I’ll be drafting Chapter Two of my current monograph project, CLAIMS: Contesting Legacies of Afrospanish Identity in Multicultural Spain, which examines the testimonies of a growing generation of young Black writers living and working in Spain in the twenty-first century. In response to their exclusion from collective national identity, these author-activists have created a dynamic body of literature that represents one of the strongest challenges to what it means to be Spanish today.
I love the challenge of learning languages, but I have to admit that I’ve historically relied on my Spanish to learn Italian and Portuguese – something that won’t exactly come in handy with German! I am looking forward to becoming totally incomprehensible as I bumble my way through beginner’s German.