Before obtaining her Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures from Harvard University, Elizabeth S. Lagresa-González received a B.A. and M.A. in Comparative Literature, with concentrations in Spanish, English, and Italian early modern literatures, from the University of California, Los Angeles and the University of California, Santa Barbara, respectively. Her main area of specialization is early modern literature and culture, which she addresses through its intersection with gender, visual and material studies. In addition to presentations at various national conferences (RSA, ACLA, NeMLA, DH, etc.), Elizabeth S. Lagresa-González has published peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from masculine women, to the construction of the Spanish Black legend, and representations of power in early modern theater. Moreover, she has co-authored a book chapter on collaborative approaches to the Digital Humanities (Utah University Press), as well as a critical edition and English translation of Bernat Metge’s Lo Somni / The Dream (John Benjamins), one of the first Humanist texts of the Iberian Peninsula. Her future monograph, tentatively titled, From Renegades to Cannibals: Early Modern Cross-Cultural Encounters, continues to build on her doctoral work by expanding on her interest on the transplantation of objects and subjects across national and disciplinary borders.
This seminar will explore how diverse texts represent conflict and possibilities of reconciliation between self and “other” in the context of transnational travel, war, commerce, and exploration. By reading narratives that stage crossings between Europe, Latin America, Africa, and the Mediterranean, we will investigate how and why romance novellas became a pivotal space for the representation of multicultural encounters and the contestation of fixed categories. Some of the questions we will address include: How do these representations participate in the production of a global consciousness or awareness? What stereotypes and dichotomies do they reshape and contest? How and why did these encounters transform the subjects involved and the genres that brought them to life? The seminar intends to promote a dialogue across cultural, linguistic and disciplinary boundaries, by focusing on how these representations engaged beyond the reflection of existing attitudes, and actively contributed to the comprehension of a transforming world, by re-envisioning recognizable narratives and inventing new modes of expression.
Literature is filled with references to money, a pervasive aspect of daily life that serves as a fertile source of metaphors to illuminate questions of identity, authenticity, and value. In her present research, Elizabeth S. Lagresa-González focuses on the often unmapped cultural implications of counterfeiting, as they relate to representations of subjects and objects in the early modern period. The project employs the term “counterfeit,” encompassing persons and materials, writings and images, to investigate the creative and subversive possibilities inherent in the reproducibility and commercialization of representation. By crossing national and theoretical boundaries, the study aims to produce innovative scholarship that is attentive to the intricacies of a period marked by processes of transculturation, brought about by trade, piracy, translation, exploration, colonization, and migration. As promising preliminary analyses unveil, the study of counterfeits is a productive site to explore early modern state and subject formation, as well as the re-fashioned relationship between objects and subjects in an emergent transnational commercial culture.