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Emily Knudson-Vilaseca

I came to an interest in Portuguese language and literature somewhat late and unexpectedly, through a Portuguese-for-Spanish-speakers course taken during graduate school while working toward a Ph.D. in Spanish literature. That initial spark ignited a true passion for the literature, film and other cultural production coming out of those countries where Portuguese is spoken, in particular Portugal and the African countries where Portuguese is an official language. As a result, the degree I ultimately earned is a Ph.D. in Hispanic and Lusophone Literature. My dissertation was entitled, ‘Embody the Un/home: African Immigration to Portugal and Spain.’ Read the abstract.

In my primary area of research, I bring together my three main interests – Portugal, Spain and those parts of Africa that had and in many ways retain a connection with the Iberian Peninsula – by focusing on African immigration to Spain and Portugal. Included in the book Hybridity in Spanish Culture (Cambridge Scholars 2011), which I co-edited with María P. Tajes and Maureen Tobin Stanley, is a chapter I wrote on Pablo Aranda’s novel La otra ciudad, which deals in part with the issue of Moroccan immigration to Spain.

My article “Three Generations of Marginalization in Lídia Jorge’s O Vento Assobiando nas Gruas or Where are the Immigrants Going – Really?” (Bulletin of Hispanic Studies 2006; published as a book chapter in Para Um Leitor Ignorado: Ensaios sobre a ficção de Lídia Jorge, edited by Ana Paula Ferreira 2009) looks at this Portuguese author’s treatment of the topic of Cape Verdean immigration to Portugal. My other research interests include the literature and film of Portugal and Portuguese-speaking Africa, 20th- and 21st-century Spanish literature, and more specifically, the literature and culture of the two Spanish cities on African soil, Ceuta and Melilla.

As an educator, I am devoted to helping my students discover that spark that will turn them on to Spanish and/or Portuguese languages and cultures, and hopefully find a way to connect to something foreign. I have taught at Northern Illinois University since 2011. Previously, I taught at Pacific University, and as a graduate student, at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities and the Ohio State University.

Office: WH 119
P: 815-753-6450


Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Hispanic and Lusophone Literature, 2007
M.A., The Ohio State University, Spanish Literature, 1999
B.A., Concordia College, Spanish and English, 1996