Dr Emma Staniland

Teaching Fellow in Spanish & Latin American Studies Modern Languages Admissions Tutor

School/Department: Arts, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 2689



I completed my undergraduate degree in French & Spanish (BA Hons) here at the University of Leicester, and stayed on to study for an MA in Humanities & Modern Languages and to complete my PhD in Spanish American literature, entitled Towards Agency: Dialectic Bildung in Late Twentieth-Century Spanish American Women’s Writing’, which I was awarded in 2010. I have worked as a Teaching Fellow in Modern Languages since 2009, leading language-acquisition modules and cultural studies modules on diverse topics from Spain and Latin America.


My monograph Gender & the Self in Latin American Literature (Routledge 2016), explored six 20th-century novels in which the ‘coming-of-age story’ served as a framework for critiquing female gendered identities as they are articulated in the Latin American cultures from which my chosen corpus hailed. Myth, exile and the female body provided three central tropes for examining the sociopolitical aims of the Post-Boom women writers whose work I studied: Isabel Allende (Chile), Laura Esquivel (Mexico), Ángeles Mastretta (Mexico), Sylvia Molloy (Argentina), Cristina Peri Rossi (Uruguay), and Zoé Valdés (Cuba). My analyses of their writings sought to reveal their feminist engagement with gendered identities as socially-constructed, culturally-contingent, and open-ended. 

My second book is an edited volume entitled Women and Water in Global Fiction (Routledge 2023), which explores the persistent, culturally-inscribed connection of women and female gendered identities with the varied forms and symbolic associations of water - rivers, lakes, seas, fluidity, formlessness - and spiritual and mythical beliefs - water goddesses, mermaids and other sea creatures - as depicted in literature from around the world. The diverse chapters brought together by this project create a broad-reaching examination of how this historically-entrenched association has served at once to entrap women and strengthen patriarchies, and to further the aims of Feminism by providing a source of sociocultural empowerment. My own chapter discusses the topic of, "Women, Water, and the House Built on Sand: tropes of liquidity in the feminist Latin American dictatorship novel – Cristina Peri Rossi’s The Ship of Fools (1984) and Diamela Eltit’s The Fourth World (1988)" in two seminal texts from the Latin American female canon. 

I have also published on US Latina writing, and have presented conference papers on topics including gender in US film, gender in children's literature in Latin America, Latin American feminisms and music, and Latina memoir and autobiography.  


Staniland, Emma, 'Fighting the Opposition: Lack and Excess in Cuban and Cuban-American Narratives of Selfhood', in Comparative American Studies, Vol. 12, No.3 (2014) (pp.190-204)

Staniland, Emma, Gender and the Self in Latin American Literature, (Routledge, 2016)

Staniland, Emma, Women and Water in Global Fiction, (Routledge, 2023)


I am currently supervising an MPhil on Queer Puerto Rican documentary film, and have served as Internal Examiner for PhDs on the topics of matrifocality in Anglo-Caribbean literature and gender in contemporary Colombian film.

I would be very interested in supervising postgraduate work on any topic related to Latin America at the intersection of feminisms, literature, and culture, as well as on Latinx literature and culture in the USA and UK.


I teach modules across the Spanish and Latin American Studies department's curriculum - both language and cultural studies - including: SP1022 Introduction to Spanish & Latin American Studies, SP1031 Introduction to Latin American Literature & Film, SP1020-1021 Spanish Language (Beginners), SP2005 Spanish Language (Post-Beginners), SP2070 Latinx Literature and Culture in the USA, and SP3161 Gender in the Spanish American Development Novel.

I am also actively involved in our student support provision, leading workshops on a range of wellbeing and academic skills topics, alongside my colleague in French, Dr Michelle Harrison, for all Modern Languages year groups. I am also the Senior Personal Tutor for the School of Arts, in which role I support colleagues in the delivery of Personal Tutoring support for all Arts students, and support our students in making the most of the guidance that is available to them from their tutors. 


In 2010 I was awarded the "I love my Academic" award for the College of Arts and Humanities by the University of Leicester Student Union. I obtained Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy in 2015. In 2017 I was awarded a University of Leicester Distinguished Teaching Fellowship for my contributions to teaching, learning and student support. 


Alongside my colleague in the Spanish & Latin American Studies department, Clara Garavelli, I organised a symposium on "The Legacy of 1968 in Latin America", which gathered together an international group of Latin Americanists for a series of discussions to mark the 50 year anniversary of the French Mai '68 revolution and to examine its legacy for Latin American politics and culture (April 2018, funded by ILAS and SLAS). Following this we co-organised the annual conference of the UK Society for Latin American Studies, in April 2019. In April 2023 we will be hosting the UK's first conference on Latinx Studies, again funded by ILAS. This event will bring together academic and artistic responses to the topic of Latinidad, and Latinx arts and culture in both the US and UK, seeking to create a space for dialogue about, and for heightening the visibility of, Latinx Studies in UK academia, and Latinx identities in the UK. 

Recent conference participation and presentations include:

UK Society for Latin American Studies (University of Glasgow 2017, University of Liverpool 2018, University of Leicester 2019)

Interdisciplinary Gender and Sexuality Research Group (University of Leicester, 2018)

US Latin American Studies Association (Barcelona, 2018)

Becoming Latin American: Children, Education and Citizenship (University of Reading, 2018)



BA French & Spanish (University of Leicester), MA Humanities & Modern Languages (University of Leicester), PhD (University of Leicester)

Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2015)

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