Orange Alert

Laura Freixas to Serve as Jeanette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor in Humanities March 29-April 8

Freixas is important feminist voice in Spanish literature

March 16, 2016, by Rob Enslin

Laura Freixas (Photo by Sylvain Cherkaoui)
Laura Freixas (Photo by Sylvain Cherkaoui)

The Syracuse University Humanities Center will host one of the most important feminist voices in Spanish literature.

Laura Freixas, a world-renowned author, teacher-scholar, critic, translator, and proponent of women’s literature, will serve as the Humanities Center’s 2016 Jeanette K. Watson Distinguished Visiting Professor, March 29-April 8. The Barcelona-born writer is known for her best-selling anthology Mothers and Daughters (Anagram, 1996).

The Humanities Center is based in the College of Arts and Sciences.

“To have Laura Freixas in residence is a rare opportunity for students and scholars alike,” says Vivian May, director of the Humanities Center and an associate professor of women’s & gender studies. “Known for her pure, unapologetic writing style, she is not afraid to put forward basic existential questions about love, friendship, marriage, and children. There is probably no one else like her in all of modern Spanish fiction.”

Kathryn Everly
Kathryn Everly

Kathryn Everly, who is hosting Freixas in partnership with the Humanities Center, agrees. “Laura Freixas explores, with rigor and care, what it means to be a Spanish woman writer,” says Everly, professor of Spanish literature and culture in the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics in A&S. “By calling attention to the absence of gender consciousness in literary circles, she has helped female authors achieve wider recognition. This has launched a distinctive Spanish feminist narrative, within a broad psychological, cultural, and social framework.”

Freixas’ residency includes nine events that are free and open to the public, unless otherwise noted. For more information, call 315-443-7192 or visit

They are as follows:

Tuesday, March 29

Class: “Approaches to Reading Texts” (SPA 301)
9:30-10:50 a.m.
Bowne Hall (Room 108)

Co-Sponsor: Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (A&S)

Tuesday, March 29
“An Evening with Laura Freixas: Author, Social, and Public Intellectual”
5-6:30 p.m.
Goldstein Alumni & Faculty Center
The Humanities Center hosts a welcome reception with hors d’oeuvres, music, and a book signing

Wednesday, March 30
Women’s & Gender Studies Discussion: “A Dialogue on Gender and Cultural Inequality”
11:45 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.
Sims Hall (Room 319)

Co-Sponsor: Department of Women’s & Gender Studies (A&S)

Clarice Lispector
Clarice Lispector

Thursday, March 31
Lecture: “Woman According to Clarice Lispector”
4-6 p.m.
Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114), Bird Library
A look at the life and work of Brazilian novelist and journalist Clarice Lispector (1920-1977), arguably the most important Jewish writer since Franz Kafka

Friday, April 1
Workshop: “The First Page: The Importance of Beginning a Novel” (in Spanish)
9 a.m. to Noon
Room 304, Tolley Humanities Building
Registration required; RSVP by Friday, March 25

Monday, April 4
Discussion: “A Conversation with Writer, Critic, and Feminist Laura Freixas”
6:30-7:30 p.m.
Hall of Languages (Room 202)

Co-Sponsor: M.F.A. Program in Creative Writing in the Department of English (A&S)

Tuesday: April 5
Lecture: “Women Writers and Autobiography: A Gendered Genre?”
3:30-5:30 p.m.
Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114), Bird Library

Thursday, April 7
Class: “Spain in the New Global Context” (SPA 400)
12:30-1:50 p.m.
Huntington Beard Crouse Hall, Room 209

Co-Sponsor: Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics (A&S)

Friday, April 8
Workshop: “The Pitfalls and Promises of Translation” (in Spanish)
9 a.m. to noon
Room 304, Tolley Humanities Building
Registration required; RSVP by April 1

A resident of Madrid, Freixas is the author of four novels, several short-story collections, a memoir, a diary, and numerous studies on women’s writings and feminist issues. Her work has been featured in mainstream and scholarly publications, including La Vanguardia (Barcelonia’s daily newspaper) and Babelia, the prestigious culture supplement of El País (a global newspaper).

Freixas is a sought-after lecturer and writer-in-residence, having held positions at institutions throughout North and South America and Europe. She also has taught at Dartmouth College and the University of Illinois-Champaign, as well as at the universities of Bradford and Southampton (both in the U.K.). Freixas is a member of the European Cultural Parliament, and is chair of the association Clásicas y Modernas for gender equality in Spanish culture.

The Watson Distinguished Visiting Professorship in the Humanities is a preeminent lectureship established by the Watson family to support visits by humanities scholars, artists, and writers. Previous professors include Saul Bellow, Noam Chomsky, Angela Davis, Hans Mommsen, Toni Morrison, Mario Vargas Llosa, Leo Steinberg, Teresa de Lauretis, Stephen Greenblatt, Anthony Grafton, and Margaret Atwood.

The Humanities Center, located in the Tolley Humanities Building, is a hub of humanities research, fellowships, and public programming. Click here for the complete Spring 2016 schedule.


Kathryn Everly Professor, Spanish Language Literature and Culture; Spanish Program Coodinator

Media Contact

Rob Enslin