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Ph.D. Student in Spanish

Advised by Professor Carmen Hsu | Dey 319

At UNC Since 2016


Ph.D., Spanish, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, in progress
M.A., Spanish, the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, 2016
B.A., Political Science and Spanish, Stetson University, 2010


Alexandra Combs is a Ph.D. student in Spanish. Originally from Sacramento, California, she became intrigued about Spanish and Hispanic arts and cultural themes at an early age as a daughter of Puerto Rican heritage. After some time spent in Puerto Rico, Mexico, Guatemala and Spain, Alexandra was enthused to study Spanish literature.

As a scholar, she has found herself surrounded by countless mysteries in the Spanish Renaissance and Golden Age with interests primarily focused on various literary perspectives that reveal images of defiant women. Her objectives are to continue interdisciplinary research on the aesthetic motives and socio-historical influences that inspired 16th and 17th century authors such as Jorge Montemayor (1520-1561) and Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) to illustrate compelling feminine identities in Early Modern Spanish literature. Master’s research on ‘El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha’ (1605) by Miguel de Cervantes motivated this journey towards unleashing the female narrative rebels of early Spanish society and revealing their feminine transcendence in Hispanic literature. One of her goals is to identify ways in which 16th and 17th century authors created literary fundamentals for Spanish and Spanish-American female authors to combat patriarchal injustices by challenging hegemonic literature. She is currently working towards publishing research on Jorge Montemayor’s ‘Los siete libros de la Diana’ (1560) where she argues the author’s choice for pastoral literature as appropriate mechanism to magnify the critical role of the female protagonist in Early Modern Spanish literature. She presented this preliminary doctoral research at the XI Congreso de la Asociación Internacional Siglo de Oro (AISO) in Madrid, Spain July 2017.

Alexandra is passionate about teaching the Spanish language. She has previously taught Spanish 120, “The Fundamentals of Spanish”, co-taught Spanish 201 “Intermediate Spanish”, established a Spanish tutoring program for health professionals, and was a Spanish Conversation Leader at the University of North Carolina, Wilmington. She has wholeheartedly enjoyed teaching and co-coordinating SPAN 105 “Spanish for High Beginners” at UNC and is excited to co-construct positive and invigorating classroom environments this Fall with her SPAN 100 and SPAN 102 students for their acquisition of the Spanish language.

Conference Presentations:

XI Congreso de la Asociación Internacional Siglo de Oro, Madrid, Spain, 2017
“La narrativa pastoril transformadora que fomenta cambios protagónicos en los libros I-III de ‘La Diana’ de Jorge Montemayor”

The 22nd Annual Carolina Conference for Romance Studies, Chapel Hill, NC, 2016
“The Heroines of the Quixote Who Challenged Narrative Structures”

The 22nd Southeast Conference on Foreign Languages, Literatures and Film, Orlando, FL, 2016
“Las heroínas en la sociedad española del siglo áureo en el ‘Quijote'”

The 65th Annual Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference, Charleston, SC, 2015
“El racismo ante las valerosas semillas literarias en ‘Cuentos escogidos’ y ‘Los cuatro espejos’ de Quince Duncan”

The 13th Annual Africana & Latin American Studies Symposium, Charlotte, NC, 2015
“La manifestación de una nueva identidad en ‘Los cuatro espejos’ de Quince Duncan”

Participant, Cape Fear Foreign Language Collaborative, UNC Wilmington, NC, 2016

Participant, FLANC Conference, Foreign Language Association of North Carolina, UNC Wilmington, NC, 2015


In progess