Stephen Vilaseca

Research Interests

I see myself as contributing to a significant but underdeveloped body of work in the study of the urban in Spain that seeks to bring together the material with the symbolic (the urban space with the written word). How does the material come together with the symbolic? How does urban space interact with the written word? Can the symbolic be a vehicle through which to create social or political change? These questions lay at the heart of the current debate within Spanish cultural studies over how to approach the study of the urban in Spain. Simply put, I like art and politics and how these two potentially interrelate to create social change and social justice.

My teaching philosophy is patterned after Lee and Vanpatten’s approach, in which the role of the teacher is that of resource person and architect and the role of the student is that of information gatherer and negotiator of meaning. I believe that the teacher should create an environment that allows students to participate in and contribute to their own learning. The encouragement of attitudes of openness and respect for others is really the goal when I create and implement courses. My aim is to promote critical thinking and the ability to tolerate ambiguity through engagement with various texts. The strategy I use is a task-oriented strategy. I give students articles to read for homework and supply questions that I believe will generate compelling discussions. The questions are not formulated to elicit specific responses. Rather, they are questions that encourage more than one reading of the text.

I am an associate co-editor of the Journal of Urban Cultural Studies.

  • 20th- and 21st-century Spanish Peninsular literature and film
  • Urban studies
  • Cultural geography
  • Spatial theory

Select Publications


Anarchist Socialism in Early 20th-Century Spain: A Ricardo Mella Anthology, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2020.  

Barcelonan Okupas: Squatter Power! Madison, N.J.: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2013.

 Articles in Refereed Journals

  • "The 15-M movement: formed by and formative of counter-mapping and spatial activism." Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies1-2 (2014): 119-139.
  • "The Projection on the Wall: What Audio-visual Architectural Mapping Says about Catalan Identity." Journal of Urban Cultural Studies2 (2014): 215-234.
  • "From Graffiti to Street Art: How Urban Artists are Democratizing Spanish City Centers and Streets." Transitions: Journal of Franco-Iberian Studies 8 (2012): 9-34.
  • "The TriBall Case: ‘Okupación Creativa ¡Ya!’ vs. Okupa Hacktivismo." Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 14 (2010):11-30.
  • "The Child Victim, the Hole Trope and the Politics of Space in Ray Loriga’s Early Works." Letras Hispanas: Revista de Literatura y Cultura1 (Spring 2009): 46-58.
  • "From Spaces of Intimacy to Transferential Space: The Structure of Memory and the Reconciliation with Strangeness in El cuarto de atrás." Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 83 (2006): 181-92.

 Co-authored Editorials

  • "Through the Looking Glass: Windows to ‘Cities in the Luso-Hispanic World’." Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, 4:1-2 (2017): 3-12.
  • "Text to Street: Urban Cultural Studies as Theorization and Practice." Journal of Urban Cultural Studies, 2:1-2 (2015): 3-14.

Review Articles 

  • "La imaginación hipotecada: aportaciones al debate sobre la precariedad del presente." Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 18:4 (2017): 507-508.
  • "Félix Guattari and urban cultural studies." Journal of Urban Cultural Studies1 (2014): 137-144.

 Chapters and Short-Form Articles in Books

  • "Biopolitical Monsters in the Classroom: Co-producing and Sharing Digital Maps.” Language, Image, Power: Luso-Hispanic Cultural Studies Theory and Practice. Ed. Susan Larson, Oxford: Routledge, 2021. (forthcoming)
  • "Dead to Capitalism: Zombified Territory and Junkie Spaces in Cabanyal Z, or How to Unleash Monstrous Creativity in the Urban." Architecture and the Urban in Spanish Film. Ed. Susan Larson, Bristol: Intellect Books, 2021. (forthcoming)
  • "Representations of Graffiti and the City in the Novel El francotirador paciente: Readings of the Emergent Urban Body in Madrid." Graffiti and Street Art: Reading, Writing and Representing the City. Ed. Konstantinos Avramidis and Myrto Tsilimpounidi. London and New York: Routledge, 2017. 250-63. Print.
  • "Echoes of Ricardo Mella: Reading Twenty-first Century Youth Protest Movements through the Lens of an Early Twentieth-Century Anarchist." Protests and Generations: Legacies and Emergences in the Middle East, North Africa and the Mediterranean. Ed. Ratiba Hadj-Moussa and Mark Ayyash. Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2017. 255-67. Print.
  • "Patio Maravillas’ Anti-gentrification Campaign against the TriBall Group" in Making Room: Cultural Production in Occupied Spaces, edited by Alan W. Moore and Alan Smart. The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest - Other Forms (2015): 272-275.
  • "The Wall Poem" in Making Room: Cultural Production in Occupied Spaces, edited by Alan W. Moore and Alan Smart. The Journal of Aesthetics & Protest - Other Forms (2015): 280-285.


  • Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Spanish
  • M.A., University of Minnesota, Spanish
  • B.A., Carleton College, Spanish

Honors Faculty Fellow (2021-2022)

As an Honors Faculty Fellow, Professor Vilaseca will teach a seminar on Art and Activism in fall 2021 in the University Honors Program. The Honors Faculty Fellowship program identifies faculty eager to teach innovative, exciting seminars of interest to highly-motivated students from across the university.


Stephen Vilaseca
Associate Professor
Watson Hall 315
Personal website