The Office of the Vice President for Research recognizes María Caña Jiménez, an assistant professor of Spanish in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, for her work to understand important social issues in context with Hispanic culture.
A native of Melilla, Spain, her research centers on the relationship between violence, space, and aesthetics in contemporary Colombian, Central American, and Peninsular narratives and cinemas. Her current investigation examines the relationship between aesthetics, citizenship, and neoliberalism. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on issues such as memory, violence, and the narrative trope of childhood in recent narrative and cinema and is currently co-editing a book on contemporary Central American literature. She is also editing a special journal issue on non-traditional manifestations of violence in Hispanic cultural production
In a recent essay in Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures, Caña Jiménez pinpointed the quality of disgust as a central aesthetic used by a diverse group of authors to evoke visceral reactions in readers. The technique reflects a wide-ranging literary movement that transcends genres and generations in contemporary Central American narratives, and it is revealing of neoliberal ideas shaping the region. This piece provides a theoretical foundation for future research into aesthetics and affect in the region as they pertain to the neoliberal shifts currently in place.
She teaches courses on the Spanish language and Hispanic culture and literature as well as a course on Flamenco dance. She is the co-organizer of the annual Hispanic Film Series, and will be organizing a special Symposium of Hispanic Film in the Fall of 2015. Titled “Film and Phenomenology: Affect, Bodies, and Circulations in Contemporary Hispanic Cinema,” the symposium brings to Blacksburg preeminent names in the field of Hispanic cinema studies.
She holds a Ph.D. in Romance Languages and Literatures and a Master’s degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as well as a licenciatura from Universidad de Sevilla in Spain.