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 will be attending 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.