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Amanda L. Petersen, PhD

Associate Professor, Spanish

Amanda L. Petersen has been a member of the faculty since 2008. She teaches Spanish language and Latin American literatures and cultures courses. Her areas of expertise include 20th and 21st century Latin American women authors and Latin American literature, with an emphasis on Mexican narrative. Her research interests focus on the literary representations of gender and violence in contemporary Mexican short stories by female authors.


Ph.D., University of Colorado, Boulder, Hispanic Literature
B.A. and M.A., Wichita State University, Spanish


Scholarly and Creative Work

Professor Petersen’s research focuses primarily on the topics of gender and violence in contemporary Mexican narrative. This line of investigation interrogates the common tropes of ghosts and ruins that appear insistently, even obsessively, in texts by contemporary Mexican women writers. Her current book project is based on her dissertation titled “Bodies in Ruins: Gender and Violence in Contemporary Mexican Short Stories,” and analyses the ideological implications of these portrayals of violence inflicted upon female bodies. The texts suggest that these fictional characters become ghostly due to symbolic violence—being silenced or forgotten—and physical violence—abuse or rape. Dr. Petersen’s research discusses violence in terms of the female social body and establishes that the bodies are ghostly because they barelyexist, both in the texts and in the national context. Therefore, they are bodies in ruins: bodies that manifest present and past traumas, that are fragmented, literally or figuratively, and that are invisible, voiceless, absent, and suppressed.

Professor Petersen’s scholarship and dedication to women’s issues was recognized with the Dorothy Martin Doctoral Award at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Petersen has also presented scholarly papers on gender and violence in Caribbean and Peninsular literatures at national and international conferences. Her articles have been published in academic journals and collaborative books.

Teaching Interests

Professor Petersen teaches a variety of classes, from introductory Spanish language classes to upper-division classes on Latin American cultures and literatures. She frequently brings her research interests into her upper-division classrooms and the 2012-13 Graves Award in the Humanities recognized the manner in which Dr. Petersen relates her research to her teaching. She strives to engage her students to apply their knowledge in everyday situations by incorporating community involvement andglobal awareness into her language and literature classrooms. Petersen has recently taught special-topic seminars on the Narratives of the Mexican Revolution (fall 2010) and the Ghosts of Mexican Literature (fall 2011).