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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 the 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



  • “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. Related: Interview inspired by my article.
  • “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 Cultura 6.1 (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.


  • “Félix Guattari and Urban Cultural Studies.” Journal of Urban Cultural Studies 1.1 (Fall 2013): forthcoming.

Stephen Vilaseca
Associate Professor
Office: WH 315
P: 815-753-6463


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