Fellow and Tutor in Spanish American Literature

María del Pilar Blanco

  • I am Professor in Spanish American and Comparative Literature in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages.

  • My current research focuses on the emergence of popular science writing in Spanish American periodicals of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

  • I grew up in Puerto Rico and studied in the USA, going on to hold permanent posts in Aberystwyth University and University College London before moving to Trinity in 2012.

María del Pilar Blanco


I tutor undergraduates on the Spanish first-year course, and on the second- and final-year Modern Spanish-American paper (Paper VIII), Spanish-American authors (Paper XI), and Spanish-American Optional papers (Papers XII). I also offer translation classes.

At the Faculty of Medieval & Modern Languages, I lecture to undergraduates on a range of topics relating to Spanish-American literature from the 19th to the 21st centuries. Since my arrival at Oxford, I’ve given lectures on modernismo, the Spanish-American short story, the avant-garde poets (1910s-1930s), women writers, and the Mexican Revolution, among other topics.

At postgraduate level, I offer an option on ‘Haunting in Spanish American Literature’. I have supervised doctoral students working on a range of topics related to Latin American and, more widely, hemispheric American literature and culture, and haunting/the ghostly. I welcome students who are interested in studying topics related to literature and science; spectrality; landscape; intellectual history in Latin America and beyond. I’m very interested in supervising comparative projects that explore transnational literary and intellectual exchanges in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.


My first monograph, Ghost-Watching American Modernity: Haunting, Landscape, and the Hemispheric Imagination explored the ways in which different landscapes in the Americas breed different stylizations of ghosts and haunting. I have co-edited, with Esther Peeren (University of Amsterdam), two collections on the topic of ghosts: Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture (Continuum, 2010 and The Spectralities Reader: Ghosts and Haunting in Contemporary Cultural Theory (Bloomsbury, 2013).

I have written articles and chapters on Mexican fin-de-siècle Spanish American popular science, Spanish American modernismo, global modernisms, spectrality, and Latinx studies. My current book project, entitled Modernist Laboratories: Science and the Poetics of Progress in Fin-de-Siècle Spanish America (under contract with Oxford University Press), explores the growth of science writing in Spanish-American literature from the 1870s to 1930. I have been invited to give talks related to this project across the world.

I was the recipient, in 2017-18, of a British Academy Mid-Career Fellowship, which allowed me to advance the research and writing for the project. Between 2015 and 2017 I was co-investigator, with Joanna Page (Cambridge) of the AHRC-funded Science in Text and Culture in Latin America research network, which brought together scholars working on literature, cinema, cultural studies, film studies, visual art studies and history of art, as well as sociologists and historians interested in the history and philosophy of science. 

Sharing a Love of Literature

Selected Publications

Blanco, María del Pilar and Joanna Page, eds. Geopolitics, Culture, and the Scientific Imaginary in Latin America (Gainesville: University of Florida Press, 2020)

Blanco, María del Pilar, ‘Magical Realism and the Descriptive Turn’, in Richard Perez and Victoria Chevalier, eds., Handbook of Magical Realism in the Twenty-First Century (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020), 101-20

Blanco, María del Pilar, ‘Planetarity’s Edges: Modernist Studies and the Bounds of Modernism’, in Douglas Mao, ed., The New Modernist Studies (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2020), 67-87 

Blanco, María del Pilar, ‘Spanish American Literature and the Transatlantic Dimensions of Decadence’, in Alex Murray, ed., Decadentism: A Literary History (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020), 272-86 

Blanco, María del Pilar, ‘Spectral Mexico City’, in Karl Bell, ed., Supernatural Cities: Enchantment, Anxiety and Spectrality (Martlesham: Boydell & Brewer, 2019), 249-68 

Blanco, María del Pilar, ‘Whither Latinidad?: The Trajectories of Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina/o Literature’, in Laura Lomas and John Moran González, eds., The Cambridge History of Latina/o Literature (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2018), 139-56

Blanco, María del Pilar, ‘Mexican Modernity, Science Magazines, and the Scientific Personality: Santiago Sierra’s El Mundo Científico (1877-78)’, Modernism/modernity 23.2 (April 2016), 403-21

Blanco, María del Pilar and Esther Peeren, eds. The Spectralities Reader: Ghosts and Haunting in Contemporary Cultural Theory (New York: Bloomsbury, 2013) 

Ghost-Watching American Modernity: Haunting, Landscape, and the Hemispheric Imagination (New York: Fordham University Press, 2012)

Blanco, María del Pilar and Esther Peeren, eds. Popular Ghosts: The Haunted Spaces of Everyday Culture (New York: Continuum, 2010) (Winner of the Ray and Pat Browne Award for Best Edited Collection, PCA/ACA, 2010)

Modern Languages and Linguistics
Professor Blanco

My research has taken me from explorations of ghosts and haunting in the literature and film culture of Spanish America and the US, to the emergence of popular science writing in Spanish America.