My research analyzes early modern Spanish literature at the intersections of literary theory, gender studies, and performance studies. Since early modern Spain produced self-consciously crafted literature during a period of great sociopolitical change, my joint emphasis locates new sources of innovation that revolutionized the public commercial theater. Feminist scholarship on early modern Spain has primarily stressed the recovery of female authors and subversive depictions of gender in literature. My interdisciplinary focus expands the reach of this scholarship to include the influence of gender on the development of a self-aware dramatic aesthetics.
My current book project, Playwrights of Mayhem: Female Cross-Dressing in Early Modern Spanish Theater, focuses on the use of female cross-dressing in seventeenth-century Spanish drama. The book asserts that the female cross-dressed character played a key role in the development of a secular, tragicomic form of dramatics. The book reconceptualizes the female cross-dresser from an emblem of theatrical innovation to a source of it. The manuscript focuses on how female cross-dressing served as a model of artistic innovation for the comedia over the course of the seventeenth century. The character comically renders perceptual confusion that disorients plot development, and the resulting collapse of order intensifies as the female cross-dressed character gains centrality from Cervantes to Lope de Vega to Calderón.