Marta Ferrer

Marta Ferrer
Graduate Student Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures
  • Address
    Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures
    Columbia University
    612W 116th Street
    New York, NY10027
  • Cellular
    (917) 340-8390
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I received my B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Salamanca (Spain). I also hold two master's degrees: a M.Phil. in Avant-Garde and Post Avant-Garde Cultures from the University of Salamanca (Spain) and a MSc in Visual and Material Cultures from the School of History at Edinburgh University (UK). As a visiting researcher, I worked on my M.Phil. thesis in the department of Spanish and Portuguese at the University of Cambridge (UK).

My focus of interest is on the 19th and early 20th centuries interaction between religious and scientific discourses in the West, with a special emphasis on the Peninsular archive (Spanish and Portuguese) and on the intersection between spirituality, gender, social movements and popular culture. I try to combine a cultural history approach with archival research on textual and visual material, fictional and non-fictional.
I'm particularly interested in 19th century early visual technologies and their social articulation within the discourse of modernity, urban culture and the trafficking of ideas within and beyond the Iberian Peninsula.

Academic Statement

I am currently teaching 'Hispanic Cultures II.' Subtitled as 'Global perceptions from here and beyond: Between Rupture and Tradition', this is an undergraduate course in which undergraduate students deal with cultural production of Latin American & Iberian Cultures between the 18th and the 21st centuries. It includes the Independence of Latin American Colonies, the most relevant revolutions (Mexican Revolution, Cuban Revolution, etc), dictatorial regimes, and the path to democracies along with global trends such as the culture of Enlightenment, processes of nation-making, The First World War, the social revolution(s) of the 1960s, and the Cold War. Following the methodology of Cultural History, students will learn how to think, write, and discuss about poetry, short stories, music, political essays, films, and art. Along the semester, students will visit the Rare Book Library, the NYU Tamiment Library, and several optional spaces such as Hispanic Society, Museo del Barrio, Americas Society, Guastavino's buildings, and Woodlawn Cemetery.

I normally try to engage students with debates about the past that obliquely have an effect on the present immediate world. The question about 'why' they should muse about certain topics comes usually to the fore. In my class, students normally engage with a series of material that imply collaborative leaning and conversations. At home, they usually enhance their critical thinking in Spanish by blending written and visual material with technological tools such as voicethread - a digital tool that allows the student to record herself/himlself  - and Columbia edblogs, in which they devise more reflected accounts about the material.

Living in New York offers us the marvelous opportunity of linking courses on Humanities with what's going on in the city, without forgetting that multiple connections can be made beyond the city itself.