Julia A. Kushigian

Contact Julia A. Kushigian
Email: jakus@conncoll.edu
Mailbox: 5562
Office: 206 Winthrop Hall
Phone: (860) 439-2239
Fax: (860) 439-5332

Julia A. Kushigian, Hanna Hafkesbrink Professor of Hispanic Studies, Hispanic Studies Department Chair 2014-2015

Hanna Hafkesbrink Professor of Hispanic Studies
Hispanic Studies Department Chair 2014-2015

Joined Connecticut College: 1985

B.A., University of Connecticut; M.A., New York University; M.A., M.Phil., Ph.D., Yale University

Gender, Culture and Race Studies in Spanish America
Orientalism in the Hispanic tradition

Professor Kushigian teaches Spanish language courses and Latin American literature courses that cover over six centuries of Latin American literature and culture from pre-Columbian texts through the contemporary and postmodern. She takes a liberal arts approach to her teaching and research. By placing different disciplines -including art, philosophy, history, music, economics, the sciences, anthropology and sociology- in the context of this tradition, she views reality as a whole.

Kushigian promotes an inquiry into the complexities of postmodern life through a reading of the past to enliven both literary and cultural studies. A sampling of her courses:

  • Flores del volcan: Imperial Discourse, Ecofeminism, and Resistance in the Americas
  • Growing Up In Latin America: The Bildungsroman in Latin American Narrative
  • Hispanic Orientalism: East and West in Language, Desire and Power
  • Myth, Folklore and Legends of Spanish America, a course she created for the Hispanic Studies department.

Kushigian was on sabbatical leave from 2006-2007 to continue her research on Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz in the Archivo de las Indias in Seville while directing the SATA/Spain program, SATA Seville 2006: Focus on Transatlantic Orientalisms, and to further her book project on race and whitening in Spanish America.

Kushigian has numerous articles and books to her credit including Orientalism in the Hispanic Literary Tradition: In Dialogue with Borges, Paz and Sarduy (New Mexico Press, 1991); an edited collection of essays titled "International Studies in the Next Millennium: Meeting the Challenge of Globalization (Praeger Press, 1998), and her most recent book, Reconstructing Childhood. Strategies of Reading for Culture and Gender in the Spanish-American Bildungsroman (Bucknelll University Press, 2003).

Recent invited conference papers include: "Lezama, Sarduy and Díaz: Exposing the Bildungsroman and its Debt to Myth, Folklore and Legend," MIFLD, Roanoke, Virginia, October, 2010, and "The Politics of Memory and Social Justice in the Writings of Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz," LASA, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, June, 2009.

Recent addresses:

  • "The Politics of Orientalism and Self-Orientalism in a South-South Dialog: Revisiting Hispanic Orientalism from Said to Sarduy," "Nuevos Pasajes a la India- New Passages to India, Sur South," October 6-8, 2011, Freie Universität Berlin
  • "Independent Minds and Voices of Resistance: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, Orientalist," NECLAS, Nov. 5, 2011
  • "Crossing Orientalist Borders: Transculturation and Resistance in Cristina García’a Monkey Hunting," 4th International Conference on Orientalism and the Asian and Arab presence in the Americas and the Iberian Peninsula, University of Fez, Morocco, March 28-29, 2012
  • “Negotiating Intellectual Smugness from the Meta-narrative of Orientalism to the Alternative Strategies of Hispanic and Self-Orientalism: Edward Said via Severo Sarduy," FIU, March 20, 2013.

Her numerous articles, interviews, and reviews range from a demystification of the Columbian exchange to a postmodern analysis of Diamela Eltit's works as performance pieces. She publishes on poetry, short story, novel and essay.

Her most recent publications include:

  • “El gesticulador de Usigli y Gringo Viejo de Fuentes: La manipulación de la leyenda y el mito mexicanos en función de una realidad imaginada” in Revista Teatro, 25, otoño 2012. Julia A. Kushigian, Hanna Hafkesbrink Professor of Hispanic Studies, Margane Amat ’14, Ronald J. Artica ’13, Tristan Cole ’13, Karly Crouse ’15, Azul Tellez ‘15
  • El Primero sueño de Las mil y una noches: Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, orientalista," published fall 2008 in the collection "Moros en la costa," Silvia Zekmi editor, Iberoamericana/Editorial Vervuert
  • "Reconstructing Childhood: El cuarto mundo and Vaca Sagrada as Bildungsromane and Gendered, Social History," in Diamela Eltit , La Torre, Revista de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, Año. X, Num. 38, octubre-diciembre 2005
  • "Culturas híbridas y el análisis de las razas en Yo el Supremo de Augusto Roa Bastos", Bulletin of Spanish Studies, Volume 83, Number 4 / June 2006.

Kushigian's recent research explores the relationship between Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, the seventeenth-century Mexican nun, poet, playwright, and feminist, scientific and religious enigma with Manuel Fernández de Santa Cruz, the bishop of Puebla, her ambitious friend and mentor.

Through a reading of original documents and a re-reading of "Respuesta a Sor Filotea de la Cruz" Kushigian sheds light on the linguistic strategies and traps that draw these figures to each other but curiously lead to a breach in trust too wide to mend. This research is an outgrowth of her previous publication on Sor Juana, a seminar Kushigian led in Seville on "Transatlantic Orientalisms" and a course she taught on "Old World/New World: The Clash of Cultures" during spring, 2006 for a group of intelligent and resourceful Connecticut College students.

On March 4, 2009, Sarah Allen ’09, Erin Holstein ’09, Katherine Sugg ’10, Rocío García ’12 and Prof. Julia Kushigian represented the Spa 493b Transatlantic Orientalisms seminar in the panel presentation “Tolerance, Gender and Otherness in Christian, Jewish and Muslim Spain” at Connecticut College.

* Professor Kushigian has held the following positions at Connecticut College:

  • Chair, Faculty Steering and Conference Committee (FSCC), 2010-2011
  • Chair-elect, Faculty Steering and Conference Committee (FSCC), 2009-2010
  • Chair, Hispanic Studies Department, June, 1993 - June, 1995; December 1997 - June, 1999; July 2002 - June 2005
  • Chair, Foreign Language Caucus, 2002-2003
  • Acting Chair, Gender and Women's Studies, 2009-2010
  • Associate Director of the Holleran Center for Community Action and Public Policy, 2001-2002
  • Director, Toor Cummings Center for International Studies and the Liberal Arts, 1995 - June, 1999

View the Hispanic Studies department website.

"In a traditional reading of the novel of growth and development - or Bildungsroman - a white, male, middle-class individual emerges as protagonist. Kushigian's bold, interdisciplinary study offers new approaches to the Bildungsroman and ably demonstrates that its design is anything but monolithic. Expanding the definition beyond the limitations imposed by the traditional form, Kushigian (Connecticut College) brings to the discussion the experiences of women, the marginalized, and the disenfranchised. Two premises underscore her analysis: The individual identity often appears problematic and inextricably intertwined with national and cultural identity, and that the path to self-knowledge leads to engagement with the Other. The novel of self-realization and actualization thus becomes a type of hero journey marked by an exploration of gender roles and socioeconomic difference. Kushigian examines myriad cultural components present in both canonical and less-studied texts and employs four basic reading strategies: the standard view of Bildungsroman as rite of passage, new models of wholeness or self-actualization, a redefinition of the concept of the heroic, and ambiguity and hybridization of identity through parody and pastiche. Including ample documentation and bibliography, this major study will change the way scholars view the coming-of-age novel." -- Choice

"You may be interested to know that I am currently doing an internship at the Association for Moroccan Immigrants and Workers in Spain. I have the opportunity to do a study on the integration of the Moroccan immigrant woman into Sevilla society, so all that I learned from you about Orientalism and perceptions of the East/West is coming in handy as I do my research!" - Erin Holstein ’09, Accepted into the MA program in Human Rights, London School of Economics, beginning fall 2011.

“I just wanted to say thanks for everything this semester. I've been in Guatemala for a medical mission for a few days now and I've been able to communicate really well with the people here. Just figured I'd tell you how applicable Spanish 103 has been in real life training.” Gracias, Adem Abrham, 5/20/12, Spa 103: History of Hispanic Art.