Orange Alert

SU professor wins MLA award for feminist scholarship

Award supports study of women in Spanish Civil War

Feb. 3, 2010, by Rob Enslin

An essay by Syracuse University professor Kathryn A. Everly has earned the Florence Howe Award for Outstanding Feminist Scholarship from the Women’s Caucus for the Modern Languages, an allied organization of the Modern Language Association (MLA). Everly’s essay, “Women, War, and Words in ‘La voz dormida,’” draws from Dulce Chacón’s acclaimed novel about women prisoners during and after the Spanish Civil War. An associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (LLL), Everly was recently feted at two events at the MLA annual convention in Philadelphia.

“We are extremely proud of Professor Everly, who is known for her expertise in international feminist study,” says Gerald Greenberg, senior associate dean of academic affairs and the humanities in SU’s College of Arts and Sciences. “This award exemplifies our commitment to raising the legitimacy and visibility of feminist inquiry.” Gerlinde Ulm Sanford, LLL professor and chair, agrees: “Much of her work focuses on the artistic representation of women during the second half of the 20th century. It’s both critical and relevant.”

Everly’s essay originally appeared in “Women in the Spanish Novel Today: Essays on the Reflection of Self in the Works of Three Generations,” edited by Kyra A. Kietrys and Montserrat Linares (MacFarland & Co., 2009).

Published in 2002, “La voz dormida,” or “The Dormant Voice,” is about a group of female prisoners facing imminent torture and death. Everly says the novel is a masterstroke of historical fiction and should be required reading for anyone wanting to know more about the treatment of women during the historic 1930s war. “These prisoners faced inexplicable atrocities,” says Everly, adding that many were forced to keep quiet in the 40-year dictatorship that followed, lest they be subject to humiliation and prosecution. “Even with the transition to democracy in the Eighties, they never forgot what happened to them.”

An affiliate in SU’s Center for European Studies, Everly is author of “Catalan Women Writers and Artists: Revisionist Views From a Feminist Space” (Bucknell University Press, 2003) and of the forthcoming “History, Violence, and the Hyperreal: Representing Culture in Contemporary Spanish Novel” (Purdue University Press, 2010). “Contemporary authors are rethinking the way the novel, with its narrative powers, can define a specific cultural identity,” she continues. “Regional and global identities in Spain are beginning to clash, as questions about historical accuracy are colliding with the urge to modernize.” Much of Everly’s research revolves around 20th-century writer Mercè Rodoreda, whose psychological drama, “The Time of Doves,” also deals with the Spanish Civil War.

Founded in 1883, the MLA provides opportunities for its members to share their scholarly findings and teaching experiences with colleagues and to discuss trends in the academy. MLA members host an annual convention and other meetings, work with related organizations, and sustain one of the finest publishing programs in the humanities. Since its inception in 1947, the Florence Howe Award has played a major role in elevating the importance of feminist inquiry.

Media Contact

Rob Enslin