19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA


Undergraduate Research

The Department of Romance Studies offers a gateway for research in the Humanities, including the various fields that make up Romance Studies. Research activities include the Honors Thesis, summer research fellowships, or engaging in mentoring projects with professors which lead to opportunities to present papers at conferences or for publication in the University’s undergraduate research journal.

Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Romance Studies

Department of Romance Studies
  • Write an Honor’s Thesis with one of our Faculty Advisors
  • Submit an abstract to the Carolina Conference for Romance Studies: http://ccrs.unc.edu
  • Talk to individual faculty about research internships and collaborative projects; e.g. Lucia Binotti’s Digital Humanities projects: lbinotti@email.com and Rosa Perelmuter’s MURAP program: murap@unc.edu
SURF (Summer UG Research Fellowship)
  • Students work with ROMS faculty mentor during summer – 9 weeks for 20 hrs per week, sponsored by the Office for UG Research
  • Typical award: $3,000
  • Application deadline in February

Click here for more information.

Celebration of UG Research
  • A pan-university UG research conference sponsored by the Office the UG Research
  • Students can present at poster and panel sessions
  • Takes place in April

Click here for more information.

JOURney UNC Journal of UG Research
  • Students submit articles for publication in peer-reviewed UG journal, sponsored by the Office for UG Research

Click here for more information.

Undergraduate Opportunities and Resources for Research & Academic Enhancement include:

Talk to your professors today about their research activities and your research interests!

Opportunities for Undergraduate Research in Romance Studies

Dorothea Heitsch
Teaching Professor of French
Giovanni Manardo and Jacques Dubois on John Mesuë’s Medical Substances

At the crossroads of translation, cultural exchange, humanistic rhetoric, the medical schools of Italy and France, printing, and transnational conversations, Opera Mesuae represents a paradigm of Renaissance medical anthropology. In comparing a number of entries by Giovanni Manardo and Jacques Dubois (Sylvius), I propose to situate this work in the quarrel of the simples aimed at reassessing the contributions of the Arab world to early modern science and medicine.

Christina Rudosky
Teaching Associate Professor of French
Surrealist Objects

Objects surround us in our everyday lives. We make them, we use them, we accumulate them, and sometimes we obsess over them. Yet, we often pay little attention to how they shape our interactions with the world. My research focuses on Surrealism and how objects are used, created and collected in this multifaceted avant-garde movement. André Breton, the famous surrealist poet and leader of Surrealism in France held a 15,000-piece private art collection in Paris. Over the course of his lifetime, Breton assembled a constellation of ethnographic, artistic and ephemeral objects, stones, minerals, and taxidermy in his studio-apartment in Paris. In my research, I have found that his collection was a crucial stimulus for his writing, and that his objects were vital agents in his creative work. Why did he collect objects, what role did they play in his surrealist art and writing, and how was this practice political? My interdisciplinary work takes up these questions in conversation with the current field of material studies that seeks to unravel the notion of an anthropocentric world by considering objects as agents. My most recent article, “Surrealist Objects” (in press at Cambridge University) contends that André Breton’s theorization of surrealist objects in the 1930s was heavily influenced by the poet, Stéphane Mallarmé, and his materialist conception of poetry from the late 19th century. I am also working on a book, Writing Surrealist Objects: Collecting the Inexplicable in André Breton’s Atelier, 1931-1966, in which I show how collecting was key to the development of a surrealist poetics which proposes a materialist-based engagement with the world.

Alicia Rivero
Associate Professor of Spanish
“Nature in Contemporary Latin(a) American Literature: Ecology, Gender, and Race”

Prof. Rivero is working on a book project titled “Nature in Contemporary Latin(a) American Literature: Ecology, Gender, and Race,” which shows how all of these concepts are interrelated and studies them in selected literary works.  Besides publishing articles on ecocritical and other topics, her research also includes digital humanities, digital texts and theory. An example of the latter is a recent paper titled “Chiappe’s Hypertext Novel, Tierra de extracción: Digital and Ecocritical Approaches,” Studi Ispanici, special issue on “La ciencia en la literatura hispánica” [“Science in Hispanic Literature”], no. 45 (2020): 365-85. In addition, she has been the Editor of Ometeca: Science and Humanities/Ciencia y humanidades/Ciência e humanidades (2016-20).  She will be a Guest Editor of Hispanófila in 2021 and is currently its Interim Editor until the summer of 2021.

Cristina Carrasco
Teaching Associate Professor of Spanish
Teaching Miguel de Unamuno in the XXI century

Dr.Carrasco’s research focuses on contemporary Spanish and Transatlantic studies. Building on her doctoral work on the autobiographical metafictions of Miguel de Unamuno, Rosa Montero, Enrique Vila-Matas, and Juan José Millás, she examines the ways in which contemporary hybrid genres continue to reconfigure Spanish and Latin American literature in an age of globalization and new cultural mestizajes. She just published an article in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching the Works of Miguel de Unamuno where she gives an overview of pedagogical resources to teach one of the most influential Spanish writers of the beginning of the XX century.

Maury Bruhn
PhD Candidate in French
The Guermantes’ Elstirs and Proust as Virtual Museum

One of my current projects is for a journal special issue on reading Proust at home during the coronavirus crisis. My article takes as its inspiration a scene from A la recherche du temps perdu’s third volume where the narrator inadvertently delays a dinner party because he is so fascinated by his hosts’ collection of works by the novel’s fictional painter Elstir. This scene describes these invented paintings in great detail and references a number of real artists as well. My project considers this and other scenes of viewing art in Proust as virtual museums, which, like the increasingly popular digital museum tours offered during the crisis, help compensate for the loss of physical spaces in which to view art. Ultimately, I argue that imaginative immersion in Proust’s virtual museum offers the homebound reader a pleasurable escape from the quotidian that expands their ability to appreciate visual art outside of the text.

Sarah Booker
PhD Candidate in Spanish
Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country

Over the last two years I have been translating Cristina Rivera Garza’s Grieving: Dispatches from a Wounded Country and it was just published with The Feminist Press. This hybrid collection of essays, crónicas, and poems examines systemic violence in contemporary Mexico and the United States, what could be considered the “Visceraless State,” and proposes a poetics of writing and collective grieving as a powerful mode of resistance.

Sean Matharoo
Postdoctoral Fellow of French
The Damned of the Alienocene: Performatively Modeling Energy Aesthetics for a New Structuralism

As a part of the Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity, I am updating my doctoral thesis into a book in the Department of Romance Studies. As indicated in its abstract, my thesis is about speculative aesthetics and philosophy. To speculate is to think an absolute, which is a nonrelative property of something. Not all absolutes are necessary, but all absolutes are possible. My thesis is also about language, structure, apocalyptic literature, and the energy humanities. Responding to the Anthropocenic energy crisis and the need to transition to alternative energy sources, energy humanists ask us to contemplate how the study of language and literature may contribute to a transformation of petroculture, which limits our linguistic imagination of energy to oil. Language and literature shape our values, practices, habits, beliefs, and feelings, and are therefore essential to a transformation of petroculture and its complicity with the capitalist economy of use and exchange, whose shared possibility condition is the colonial-racial reality. My thesis defends the assertion that the energy aesthetics in French, francophone, and anglophone apocalyptic literature contributes to the decolonization of petroculture by impelling us to speculatively think absolutes, which gift us energy in excess of petroculture. In updating it into a book, I am presently thinking through the historical development of the term “energy” in natural philosophy; specifically, I am returning to Plato’s Timaeus alongside T. K. Johansen’s study of it and taking a deep dive into German Naturphilosophie, both of which have had profound effects on contemporary French, francophone, and anglophone philosophy and its engagements with antiracist, anticolonial, and climate struggle. I am also thinking about how all of this relates to the questions of nature, culture, and, of course, translation, the last of which has led me to Gottlob Frege’s philosophy of language. On the literature front, I am working my way through François Dominique’s recently translated Aseroë, a kind of surreal ode to Aseroe rubra, the anemone stinkhorn, which was first observed in Tasmania and South Africa, before appearing in France in the early twentieth century.

Rosa Perelmuter
Professor of Spanish
La recepción literaria de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Un siglo de apreciaciones críticas (1910-2010)

La recepción literaria de Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz: Un siglo de apreciaciones críticas (1910-2010). Edición e Introducción de Rosa Perelmuter. Recopilación bibliográfica de Luis M. Villar. Instituto de Estudios Auriseculares (IDEA), Colección «Batihoja». Serie Proyecto Estudios Indianos (PEI). Forthcoming, New York: IDEA, 2020.

This study of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz’s literary reception in the twentieth century is the product of years’-long collaboration between national and international specialists on the works on the renowned seventeenth century Mexican writer. The editor, who also wrote the introductory essay detailing the trajectory of Sor Juana criticism, brought together twelve sorjuanistas who studied the scholarly production on the writer during each of the ten decades and wrote critical essays evaluating the prevailing opinions and summarizing their findings. Each chapter is accompanied by an exhaustive bibliography of the decade prepared by Dartmouth and University of Wisconsin’s Bibliographer emeritus Luis M. Villar.

Ellen Welch
Professor of French, Department Chair
“Noise” in Old Regime France 

The French word bruit (noise) is a common a metaphor indicating rumor, “buzz,” “the news of the time”—what people are talking about in society. In my current book project, I explore how writers in the 17th and 18th centuries used this and other sonic metaphors to reflect about public discourse. From Corneille to Diderot, creative writers evoked an acoustic vocabulary to imagine how ideas and feelings spread through a population as if at the speed of sound, to understand the (sometimes negative, sometimes positive) role of cacophony and confusion in society, and to think about political relationships as a form of listening. By taking metaphor seriously as a mode of philosophizing about politics and society, my project uncovers what Old Regime writers have to tell us about how to make sense—or how not to make sense—from the noise of our world.

Francisco Chen-Lopez
PhD Candidate in Spanish
Representing Asia in Latin America

My research revolves around the representation of Asian communities in Latin American cultural productions such as literature and films. Currently, I am working on two projects. The first one is an article-length project that deals with the semi-authentic film portrayals of the Chinese community in a China-Japan-Brazil multi-national production. At the same time, I am also writing my dissertation, which centers on the literary representation of Chinatown in Mexican, Peruvian, Argentinian, and Puerto Rican narratives. In the future, I plan on expanding the scope of my study by incorporating Japan and the Philippines into my research.

Bruno Estigarribia
Associate Professor of Spanish
Digitization as conservation of a language’s ecosystem: Documenting Rusitène, an endangered Southern Italian language

I am beginning to work on creating a bilingual Italian-English digital environment to document and revitalize Rusitène, an indigenous language from Southern Italy, classified as vulnerable by UNESCO. This digital environment will consist of (1) language data in the form of a Rusitène glossary and collection of culturally-relevant texts (including dialectal poetry, jokes, anecdotes, recipes, etc.) linked with audio and video recordings, as well as (2) visualizations of cultural artifacts from the community and natural features from the local Rusitène habitat that are referenced in the texts and glossary. Users will be able to choose a culturally-relevant artifact or geographical feature and navigate via a map of connections to the glossary entries and video- and audio-recorded texts where they are referenced, and viceversa. Rusitène is the language of my maternal family’s Calabrian village, Roseto Capo Spulico (province of Cosenza). This language is spoken only in this village, and I am myself a heritage speaker.

Martin Sueldo
Teaching Associate Professor of Spanish
Women and Graphic Novels in 21st Century Latin America

I am working in a project about female artists/authors from Latin America: Catalina Bu, Power Paola, Sole Otero, and María Luque. The first stage is to establish the difference between comics, comics-books and graphic novels. The latter display specific features in this century, one of them is to foster a feminist perspective over Storytelling.  This new artistic expression is global, and can be traced to authors like Marjane Satrapi (Iran) or Rutu Modan (Israel).

Jennifer Mackenzie
Assistant Professor of Italian
Animal Questions in Renaissance Literature and the Case of Orlando furioso

I’m taking a break from my book project this semester to work on an article-length project about the horses that appear as human companions and as characters in their own right in Renaissance epic poetry, starting from the most famous Renaissance epic, the Orlando furioso. [expand title=”more…”]My goal with this project is to put this entertaining and popular narrative poem from the Italian Renaissance into conversion with recent debates about the relative anthropocentrism of pre-modern European culture and its dominant intellectual movement (“humanism”). The research so far has involved the medieval literary precursors to the Renaissance epic in French and in Spanish (also featuring horses!); and aspects of horse care and horse breeding in the Renaissance. I’m also tracing ways in which “anthropocentric” readings of the Furioso have been produced over its long reception history since the sixteenth century.

Diana Torres Silva
Graduate Student
Literature and visual narratives in the context of enforced disappearance

I research the intersections between history, literature, and visual arts in order to understand the concept of “desaparecido” as represented in Latin American cultural artifacts from the seventies and the present-day. The project involves analyzing the transformation of the concept under changing political circumstances and in different social contexts.