My name is Erin Alice Cowling, and I am an Assistant Professor of Spanish in the Department of Humanities at MacEwan University (2017-). Previously I have been an Assistant Professor of Early Modern Spanish at Hampden-Sydney College (2015-2017), a Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish at Grinnell College (2013-2015), and an Instructor of Gender Studies at Queen’s University (2012). My research focuses on the Transatlantic Colonial Period, particularly how characters of the Other (women, Indigenous peoples, and other marginalized characters) are portrayed in Spanish Golden Age theatre.


2012: Ph.D. Spanish Literature, Johns Hopkins University

2006: M.A. Spanish Literature, University of Western Ontario

2004: B.A. Honors History and Spanish, King’s College at the University of Western Ontario



“Civilizing Violence, Violence Civilizing: Portrayals of Conqueror and Conquered.” IXQUIC: Revista hispánica internacional de análisis literario y cultural. 11: “La literatura de la violencia en el Mundo Hispano” (Dec 2015). 57-78.

“‘Sois de diablos:’ Portraying Indigenous Female Characters on the Golden Age Stage.” Bulletin of the Comediantes. 67.2 (2015). 131-156.

Mujeres esquivas and the Paternal Function.” Hipogrifo. Revista de literatura y cultura del Siglo de Oro. 3.1 (May 2015). 141-53.

Book Chapters:

“La María sin Don: Subtle Mockery of the Establishment in El gobernador prudente.” Female Amerindians in Early Modern Spanish Theater. Ed. Gladys Robalino, Bucknell UP, 2014. 155-174.

“Violence as Comedy: The case of La monja alférez.” La violencia en el mundo hispánico en el Siglo de Oro. Ed. Juan Manuel Escudero, Victoriano Roncero. Madrid: Visor Libros, 2010. 71-78.


Play: Lope de Vega, Felix. El príncipe ynocente. Performed by: EFE Tres Teatro. 2 Apr 16. 2016 Siglo de Oro Drama Festival, Chamizal National Park, El Paso, TX. Bulletin of the Comediantes. 69.1 (2017): 189-191.

Book: Le Guin, Elizabeth. The Tonadilla in Performance: Lyric Comedy in Enlightenment Spain. Los Angeles: U of California P, 2014. 383 pp. Comedia Performance. 12.1 (2015): 216-221.

Book: San Félix, Sor Marcela de. Los coloquios del Alma: Cuatro dramas alegóricos de Sor Marcela de San Félix, hija de Lope de Vega. Ed. Susan M. Smith and Georgina Sabat de Rivers. Newark, Delaware: Juan de la Cuesta, 2006. 228 pp. Comedia Performance. 12.1 (2015): 212-215.

Blog Posts


    My current work focuses on how chocolate became the first fully transatlantic food—that is to say, accepted, modified, and incorporated into daily life on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean—and how it morphed from a symbol of Otherness into one of luxury for the nobility of Spain. This manuscript length work will incorporate religious treatises, colonial chronicles, cook books, and literature from the Spanish Empire’s Golden Age (1500-1800), in order to show the vast array of opinions and theories that surrounded this enchanting new commodity.

    I am also pursuing projects that incorporate students into the research process. In the summer of 2015 I taught a “MAP” (Mentored Advanced Project) at Grinnell College. Working with two undergraduate students, we used the software package NVivo to analyze “La fuerza de la sangre” by Miguel de Cervantes and “La fuerza del amor” by María de Zayas. The software allows us to step back from any preconceived notions by providing raw data such as word frequency metrics and visualizations in the forms of word clouds and trees. The results of this project are currently under review for publication as a co-authored article. We have also presented our findings as a round table at an international conference in Summer 2016. I attended the CUR: Creative Inquiry in the Arts and Humanities Institute Workshop in November 2016 to learn new techniques for incorporating undergraduates into research projects.

    My secondary line of work is highlighting how issues pertaining to Social Justice (which can be read in a variety of ways: gender inequality, race inequality, class inequality, etc) are portrayed on the early modern stage. To that end, a group of investigators are working on studying the comedia through this lens, both in the original plays and in modern adaptations. My own work for an upcoming volume we are editing focuses on the work of an acting trope in Mexico City, Efe Tres Teatro, and their modern adaptations, which bring to light the problems of class inequality that we still face today.

    Upcoming Talks and Conferences

    Respondent: “Comedia in/for the 21st Century.” Modern Language Association, New York, NY, January 4, 2018.

    “A Social Justice Framing of the Comedia: Efe Tres Teatro’s El prínicipe ynocente Adaptation.” Panel: Social Justice in Adaptation and Performance, Association of Hispanic Classical theater, El Paso Symposium. El Paso, TX, April 12-14, 2018.


    American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese: 2017 

    American Society for Theatre Research: 2016-2017

    Association of Hispanic Classical Theatre: 2013-2017

    Canadian Association of Hispanists: 2005-2014

     Modern Languages Association: 2010-2017

     Renaissance Society of America: 2016-2017

    Erin Cowling

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