20 Grosvenor House
PO Box: AC# 2255
Catherine V. Infante
Assistant Professor of Spanish
Departmental affiliation: SpanishAmherst College
Professional and Biographical Information
Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison (2014)
M.A., New York University in Madrid (2006)
B.A., Bethel University (2003)
For the past seven years I have taught a range of undergraduate Spanish language, composition, and culture courses at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Bethel University in Minnesota. At Amherst College, I look forward to teaching a broad variety of courses, from introductory Spanish literature and culture classes to more advanced topics courses such as “Cultural Encounters: Islam in Spain” and “Women in Early Modern Spain.” Some of the recurring themes that are examined in these courses include questions of cultural contact and exchange, race, ethnicity, religion, and gender. In the future, I hope to offer an additional course on Cervantes and an interdisciplinary topics course on issues of cultural minorities and diversity in Golden Age Spain. I strive to make all my classes interdisciplinary in nature, including material from literary texts, historical accounts, legal documents, art, music, maps, and films. I am also passionate about motivating and encouraging students to make connections between the course material and topics that are relevant to their daily lives and the world around them, since many of the themes discussed in class are still pertinent today.
As a specialist in early modern Spanish literature and culture, my research centers primarily on questions of cultural exchange and conflict. I am particularly interested in literary representations of Christian-Muslim relations in the Iberian Peninsula and larger Mediterranean world.
My current book project based on my dissertation, Images at the Crossroads: Representing Christian-Muslim Encounters in Early Modern Spain and the Mediterranean, examines how sixteenth- and seventeenth-century writers depict encounters between members of diverse faiths that center upon religious images. Drawing on a wide variety of fictional and nonfictional texts in Spanish, Arabic, and Aljamiado (Spanish written in Arabic script), my study inquires into how images that crossed geographic, cultural, and religious boundaries influenced how early modern writers portrayed relations between Christians and Muslims, and how these writers used written descriptions of images in their texts as a site of contact between individuals within these groups. To this end, I focus specifically on the visual aspects of Christian-Muslim relations in texts by authors such as Cervantes, Lope de Vega, as well as other lesser-known authors like Ibn Qāsim al-H̟ajarī, thus broadening our understanding of interreligious and multicultural relationships in Spain and the Mediterranean.
Selected Awards and Honors
Mellon-Wisconsin Summer Dissertation Fellowship, 2013
Tinker/Nave Summer Research Grant, Latin American, Caribbean and Iberian Studies, UW-Madison, 2011
Vilas Research Travel Grant, UW-Madison, 2011
Honored Instructors Award, UW-Madison, 2010 & 2011
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (Arabic at UW-Madison), U.S. Department of Education, 2009-10
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (Arabic at Al-Akhawayn University, Morocco), U.S. Department of Education, 2009
Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (Arabic Immersion Program at UW-Madison), U.S. Department of Education, 2008