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Faculty of Modern and Medieval Languages and Linguistics


Virtual Seminar Series Michaelmas 2020

We are very happy to announce our seminar series for Michaelmas 2020, which will be entirely virtual. Speakers are: 

Speaker: Professor Jesús Rodriguez Velasco, Yale University

Day: 14 October 

Time: 5pm

Title: “Science of the Soul, Bodies of Law.”

Abstract: Examining legislations and legal theorizations from the Middle  Ages, this seminar will explore the affinity between the Science of the Soul  (of Aristotelian origin) and the legal disciplines, and examine why and how the  legal disciplines appropriated some of the tenets and concepts of the Science of the Soul.

Audio of the seminar


Speaker: Professor Julio Ramos, Emeritus University of California, Berkeley

Day: 11 November

Time 5pm

Title: "Pharmacological Fictions”

Registration link:

Abstract: This seminar will offer a reflection on altered life in three contemporary fictions of the pharmacological regime:  (Juan Cárdenas´s Ornamento, Pedro Cabiya´s Malas hierbas, and Cezanne Cardona´s Datsun 1982.

Event Poster available here

Speaker: Professor Sebastiaan Faber, Oberlin College

Day: 2 December

Time: 5pm

Title: "Still Dead: The Debate over Franco’s Legacy”

Registration is required and is available at:

Abstract: In October 2019, Franco’s remains were removed from the massive national monument in which they had been buried for forty-four years. For some, the exhumation confirmed that Spain has long been a modern, consolidated democracy. The reality is more complicated. In fact, the country is still deeply divided by the dictatorial legacies of Francoism—witness the recent controversy over the newly proposed Law of Democratic Memory.

In recent years, Spanish citizens’ levels of trust in the political system, the monarchy, the judiciary, the university, the press, and other central democratic institutions have sunk to new lows. Yet how to frame this discontent is itself a deeply political question. In both Spain and abroad, critics often point to the system’s dysfunctions and the resulting lack of legitimacy as symptoms of a structural problem whose origins lie in the country’s recent history. In this interpretation, Spain’s current problems are tell-tale signs of the fact that Spain’s transition to democracy, long upheld as an international example, is in fact still very much a work in progress—if it’s not a lost cause altogether, marred as it’s been by its institutional continuity with the Franco regime. This reading of the political present is widespread, and not only among the Left; the Basques and Catalans who favor independence from Spain—a position that straddles the left-right divide—also like to portray the Spanish state as a Trojan horse of Francoist values. 

But why has it been so tempting for many to interpret Spain’s social and political challenges as proof of an unprocessed Francoist legacy? How useful is that narrative as an analytical or explanatory paradigm? If the goal is to improve the quality of Spanish democracy, how important is it that its deficiencies be identified as remnants from the dictatorship? 

Video of the seminar

About the Speakers

Professor Jesús R Velasco studies Medieval and Early Modern legal cultures across the Mediterranean Basin and Europe within and outside the legal professions, from the perspective of contemporary critical thought. He is the author of Dead Voice: Law, Philosophy, and Fiction in the Iberian Middle Ages (University of Pennsylvania Press), Plebeyos Márgenes: Ficción, Industria del Derecho y Ciencia Literaria (SEMYR), or Order and Chivalry: Knighthood and Citizenship in Late Medieval Castile (University of Pennsylvania Press). He is currently finishing his project Microliteratures: The Margins of the Law.  Prior to Yale, Jesus has taught at the École Normale Supérieure, University of Salamanca, University of California, Berkeley, and Columbia University. He has held visiting positions at Emory, Roma Tre, École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales, among others.


Professor Julio Ramos has written extensively about literary and visual culture in Latin America and the Caribbean. His books include the beautiful and ground breaking Desencuentros de la modernidad en América Latina: Literatura y política en el siglo IXX (translated as Divergent Modernities (Duke University Press), Paradojas de la letra (Lautaro) and Sujeto al límite: ensayos de cultura literária y visual (Monte Avila). In 1990 Ramos edited and introduced Amor y anarquia: los escritos de Luisa Capetillo and co-edited (with Dylon Robbins) Guillén Landrian o el desconcieto fílmico (Almenara). More recently, in collaboration with Lizardo Herrera, Ramos edited and introduced Droga, cultura y farmacolonialidad: la alteración narcográfica (Chile, 2018), an anthology of theoretical approaches to drugs in contemporary culture. Since retiring from University of California, Berkeley in 2010 he has continued to work as an independent researcher and scholar and has taught as a visiting professor at the Universida Andina Simón Bolívar (Quito), Universidad de Puerto Rico (Rio Piedras), Escuela Internacional de Cinema y TV (Cuba), Universidad de Buenos Aires, Universidade de São Paulo, University of Pennsylvania and Fordham University. In 2018 he was Andrés Bello Chair at NYU."


Professor Sebastiaan Faber is the author of Exile and Cultural Hegemony: Spanish Intellectuals in Mexico, 1939-1975 (Vanderbilt University Press), Anglo-American Hispanists and the Spanish Civil War: Hispanophilia, Commitment, and Discipline (Palgrave), and Memory Battles of the Spanish Civil War: History, Fiction, Photography (Vanderbilt University Press). He is co-editor of Contra el olvidoEl exilio español en Estados Unidos (U de Alcalá, 2009) and Transatlantic Studies: Latin America. Iberia, and Africa (Liverpool UP, 2019). From 2010 until 2015, he served as the chair of the Board of Governors of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade Archives (ALBA). He is co-editor of ALBA’s quarterly magazine The Volunteer and regularly contributes to Spanish and US media, including CTXT: Revista Contexto, La Marea, Frontera D, The Nation, Foreign Affairs, and Public Books.