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Department of Languages & Literatures

Giovanna Urdangarain

Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies

Giovanna Urdangarain - Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies
Hauge Administration Building - Room 220-E
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
9:15 am - 10:15 am
  • Professional
  • Personal


  • Ph.D., Indiana University, 2008
  • M.A., Hispanic Literature, Indiana University, 2001
  • B.A., Secondary Education Literature, Artigas Teacher Training Institute, Montevideo, Uruguay, 1991

Areas of Emphasis or Expertise

  • Contemporary Latin American Narrative
  • Southern Cone Dictatorial and Post-Dictatorial Narrative by Women Writers
  • Memory and Trauma Studies
  • Contemporary Brazilian Women Writers

Selected Presentations

  • XL Congreso del Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana, Los círculos de la memoria: el caso del uruguayo Henry Engler, El Colegio de Mexico, Mexico City (June 9-12, 2014)
  • Annual Conference of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), Southern Cone Women and the Configuration of Regional Social Memory, Chicago, IL (May 21-24, 2014)
  • American Comparative Literature Association (ACLA), 2013, Assembling Memories, Deconstructing Trauma: The Uruguayan Case, University of Toronto, Canada (April 4-7, 2013)
  • 110th Annual Conference of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA), Whose Trauma, What Memory? O Ano em Que Meus Pais Saíram de Férias” by Cao Hamburger (2006), Seattle University, Seattle (October 19-21, 2012)
  • Xenographies II: The Representation of Foreigners in Literature, Travel Writing and Other Discourses, sponsored by Sociedad Española de Literatura General y Comparada (SELGYC), the British Comparative Literature Association (BCLA), and the Centre for Transnational and Transcultural Research, “¿Hermandad genérica transnacional?: opresión, otredad y representación, University of Wolverhampton, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain (September 8-10, 2011)
  • 108th Annual Conference of the PAMLA, Marginalidad cultural y representación: Aparte (2002) de Mario Handler, Chaminade University, Honolulu, Hawaii (November 13-14, 2010)
  • Memorias y fronteras, XIX Congreso Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica, FLACSO (Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales), Género y memoria en el Uruguay del siglo XXI, Quito, Ecuador (October 1-3, 2009)
  • 50thAnnual M/MLA Convention, Memories of Exiled Brazilian Women: Between Infamy and Cosmopolitism, Minneapolis, Minnesota (November 13-16, 2008)
  • 3rd International Conference on Latin American & Iberian Cinemas, Sound and Vision, Victims and Victimizers in Uruguayan Post-Dictatorial Documentaries, University of Hawaii at Manoa, Honolulu, Hawaii (October 22-24, 2008)

Selected Articles

  • "Los círculos de la memoria: el caso del uruguayo Henry Engler." Special Issue of Revista Iberoamericana entitled En la lente: memoria, referencialidad histórica y documentalismo en el cine latinoamericano actual. Vol. 81.251, 2015: 435-448.
  • "Ética y lectura. La representación de la violencia en Los nudos del silencio de Renée Ferrer." A Contracorriente Vol. 12.2, Winter 2015: 349-376.
  • "La memoria del cuerpo, el cuerpo de la memoria: Un secreto para Julia de Patricia Sagastizábal." Letras Femeninas Vol. 40.2, 2014: 79-93.
  • "Víctima y representación en dos documentales uruguayos post-dictatoriales.” Efectos de imagen ¿Qué fue y qué es el cine militante? Ansa-Goicoechea, Elixabete, and Oscar Ariel Cabezas, eds. Santiago de Chile: Universidad Metropolitana de Ciencias de la Educación." University Press and LOM Ediciones 2014:
  • "Rosario Ferré Versus Rosario Ferré: el prefacio como centro de disputa." Ciberletras 32 July 2014:


  • Wang Center Faculty Research Grant, Pacific Lutheran University, 2014
  • Spirit of Diversity Award awarded by Pacific Lutheran University Diversity Center, 2014
  • Inspirational Women Recognition awarded by Pacific Lutheran University Women’s Center based on student’s nomination, 2013
  • Innovative Teaching Grant [shared] awarded by the Provost’s Office, Pacific Lutheran University, for the project entitled “Reflections on Social Reconciliation Processes: Hispanic Countries vis á vis Post-Apartheid South Africa,” Spring Semester, 2011
  • Karen Hille Phillips Regency Advancement Award Recipient, Pacific Lutheran University 2010-2011


Giovanna comes to us from Indiana University, where she received her Ph.D. in Hispanic Literature in 2008. The title of her dissertation was “Bodies Lost, Bodies Recovered? Memory, History and Identity in the Post-dictatorship Cultural Production by Women of the Southern Cone.” Taking as a starting point the framework and context of Memory and Trauma Studies, Giovanna, in her dissertation, addresses topics of significant importance in the field of Hispanic Literary Studies, specifically, studies dealing with the legacy of violence in the Southern Cone that plagued the region during the last quarter of the twentieth century. Themes of this research include sexual violence inflicted on women, and the experience of women ‘insiles’ … those women who despite not having been incarcerated remained captives of the repressive atmosphere prevailing in their countries. Her research also deals with critical approaches to the construction and representation of memory/memoria, as well as questions of exile, displacement, testimonial accounts, victimization, infamy and cosmopolitanism, among other current thematic foci, both in Brazilian and Latin American Literature.

Originally from Uruguay, a country that directly suffered the effects and consequences of a dictatorship, Giovanna comes to PLU with significant experience in the profession. After graduating from the Artigas Teacher Training Institute in Montevideo with a degree in Secondary Education Literature, she started her career as an educator by teaching and working as a student counselor at the secondary level in an impoverished neighborhood on the outskirts of the capital city. She also has worked as a Spanish teacher for the Peace Corps. She continued working in the field of education when she moved to the United States in the late 1990s, teaching both at Indiana University and DePauw University. Finally, while carrying out her graduate studies in Bloomington, she served both the Hispanic and the local communities as a cultural translator.
~Prism 2009

Facebook pages Giovanna has created over the years linked to activities and events relevant to her programs in Hispanic Studies (Study Away Programs) and to Languages and Literatures (Film Series):

Oaxaca Fall Study Away Program 2014

Uruguay J-Term Study Away Program 2014

Ecuador J-Term Study Away Program 2013

PLU Department of Languages and Literatures Film Series