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Elisabeth L. Austin

Elisabeth L. Austin, Associate Professor of Spanish

Elisabeth Austin
Elisabeth Austin, Associate Professor of Spanish

Department of Modern and Classical Langauage and Literatures
307 Major Williams Hall 
220 Stanger Street
Blacksburg, VA 24061
540-231-5361 |

Elisabeth L. Austin is Associate Professor of Spanish at Virginia Tech. Her research focuses on reading cultures, gender, and science discourse in 19th-21st-century Spanish American narrative, poetry, and film. She is author of Exemplary Ambivalence in Late Nineteenth-Century Spanish America (Bucknell UP) and has published articles in journals such as Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, Revista Hispánica Moderna, Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural studies, and Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, among others. With Elena Lahr-Vivaz, she co-authored a chapter on adaptations of Cecilia Valdés in The Scandal of Adaptation (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023), and is co-editing a volume of essays entitled Adaptation and the Edge Effects of Latin American Cultures.

Austin’s current book project, tentatively titled The Material Turn: Science, Indigenismo, and the Rise of the Left in Peruvian Letters, 1887-1931, traces the use of scientific discourse and material thinking in modern Peru. Focusing on authors such as Mercedes Cabello de Carbonera, Clorinda Matto de Turner, César Vallejo, and Magda Portal, this study explores how these writers employ science discourses to advocate for Indigenous and women’s rights from the late 19th century into the 20th. While other countries such as Mexico and Argentina practiced scientific racism as a method of exclusionary nation building during this period, this group of Peruvian authors used science to justify leftist political movements and build the nation on a foundation of human rights.

  • 19th and 20th-Century Spanish America
  • Cultures of Reading and Writing
  • Gender
  • Scientific Discourse
  • Adaptation
  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania
  • BA, College of William and Mary
  • Associate Professor of Spanish, Virginia Tech, 2014-
  • Assistant Professor of Spanish, Virginia Tech, 2007-14


Exemplary Ambivalence in Late Nineteenth-Century Spanish America: Narrating Creole Subjectivity. Lewisburg, PA: Bucknell University Press, 2012. 262 pages.

Journal Articles

  • “Lusty Nationalism: Image and Affect in Alberto Arvelo’s Libertador (2013).” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos. 44.3 (2020 [pub. 2022]): 555-78.
  • “El General y ‘lo pequeño’ de la historia: una lectura de los Bolívares de Ricardo Palma.” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 55.1 (2021): 213-35.
  • “Consuming Empathy in También la lluvia (2010).” Chasqui: revista de literatura latinoamericana 46.2 (2017): 313-29.
  • “The Material Ethics of Juana Manuela Gorriti’s Peregrinaciones de una alma triste.Decimonónica 13.2 (2016): 1-17.
  • “Natural Science and Empire in Carlos Octavio Bunge’s `La sirena’ (1908).” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 49.2 (2015): 315-37.
  • “Reading Transgression in Ricardo Palma’s Tradiciones en salsa verde.” Revista Hispánica Moderna 67.2 (2014): 127-42.
  • “Darwin’s Monsters and the Politics of Race in Eugenio Cambaceres’s En la sangre.” Symposium 67.4 (2013): 175-88.
  • “Insufficient Motherhood and Ideological Psychosis in Matto de Turner’s Aves sin nido.” Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos 34.3 (2010): 517-36.
  • “Reading and Writing Juana Manuela Gorriti’s Cocina ecléctica: Modeling Multiplicity in 19th-Century Domestic Narrative.” Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 12 (2008): 25-38.
  • “The Unending Desire for Piñera’s La carne de René.” Latin American Literary Review 66 (2005): 50-64.

Book Chapters

  • Austin, Elisabeth L. and Elena Lahr-Vivaz. “On Incest and Adaptation: The Foundational Scandal of Cecilia Valdés.The Scandal of Adaptation. Ed. Thomas Leitch. Palgrave, 2023. 81-98.
  • William E. Wine Award for teaching, 2023
  • CLAHS Diversity Award, 2022
  • Certificate of Teaching Excellence, 2012

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