Mercedes Vaquero

Mercedes Vaquero

Professor of Hispanic Studies
Phone: +1 401 863 7549
Mercedes_Vaquero@Brown.EDU

My teaching and research interests include the Medieval Spanish epic, chronicles, ballads, and oral tradition, and I also regularly offer a graduate/undergraduate course on Spanish Philology. Along with numerous articles, contributions to books, and bibliographies on Medieval literature, I recently published a book on an unknown prosification of the Poema de Fernan Gonzalez (Oretania Ediciones, 2008), and another one on women and the epic (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, 2005). I currently work on several research projects on the epic and private libraries.

BIOGRAPHY

Mercedes Vaquero was born in Toledo (Spain). She received her Licenciatura at the Universidad Complutense (Madrid) in 1976, her first M.A. from Michigan in 1979, and her second M.A. and PhD degrees from Princeton in 1981 and 1984 respectively. She joined the Department of Hispanic Studies in 1989, and became a part of Brown's Medieval Studies Program in 1991. She had previously taught at Boston University, the University of Michigan, Princeton University, Middlebury College and Saint Lawrence University. In 1996-97 she was the director of the International Institute in Spain, one of the oldest American institutes in Europe.

INTERESTS

The main focus of my research is the medieval Spanish epic and historiography, and my main aim is to ask what forms oral narrative takes, what work it does in the world, and how. My past and current research is also concerned with two essential problems: first, the relationship between epic and history, or the relation between "just another story about the past" and historical "facts"; and secondly, the phenomenon of "transitional literacy" or how scribal records show evidence of oral modes of thought. My research—and teaching--is basically historical and philological in orientation, although my work tends to be eclectic and interdisciplinary.

My monograph on Fernán Pérez de Guzmán is the product of serendipity. Like my book on Tradiciones orales (1990) it was triggered by discovery of an unknown or ignored manuscript. Fernán Pérez is a major intellectual figure in 15th century letters. His library was known to us partially, only through a short and incomplete catalogue preserved in an 18th-century manuscript. The manuscript I edited in my recent book contains his last will and testament from 1463, which includes the entire catalogue of his library, with a description of the value of its contents and, in some cases, the physical appearance of its volumes. I study this library in the context of other seigneurial collections that belonged to other "grandes familias" that controlled the political destinies of Castile in the 15th century. The manuscript is also a gem because it gives us extensive biographical information about Fernán Pérez, which was previously unknown. It should be of great value to historians and other scholars of 15th century Castile. 

Several of my contributions interweave many of the issues that have concerned me over the years (epic, historiography, orality, and women). My recent book on women and the epic (La mujer en la épica castellano-leonesa en su contexto histórico) is partly a result of my research on the epic over the years, and partly the result of teaching several courses on women and the epic. The hypothesis of the monograph, which synthesizes this work, is as follows: the origins of the primitive Castilian-Leonese epic songs can be found in the Imperial program of King Fernando I of Castile and Queen Sancha of León in the 11th century, and these songs were probably recreated in the first half of the 13th century, when king Fernando III of Castile 1217-52 and of León 1230-52, planned and almost fulfilled his Imperial program.

I am currently at work on two studies and editions: first, a 15th-century prosification of the Poema de Fernan Gonzalez, and second, the Cantar de Sancho II. Another research project with which I am involved is the study of private libraries of the late Spanish Middle Ages.

DEGREES

M.A. (University of Michigan), M.A.-Ph.D. (Princeton University)

AWARDS

Member of the Board of Directors of the International Institute
in Spain, 1995 -
Chair of the Division on Spanish Medieval Language and Literature
of the MLA, 1999 - 2000.
Secretary of the Division on Spanish Medieval Language and Literature
of the MLA, 1998 - 1999.
Member of the Executive Committee of the Division on Spanish
Medieval Language and Literature of the Modern Language Association (MLA), 1996 - 2001.
Vocal Member of the Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas, 1998 (declined)
Advisor of the Société Rencesvals 1994 - 1997.
Faculty Travel Grant, Institute for International Studies, Brown
University, 1991.
Faculty Grant, University of Michigan, 1985.
Fellowships, Princeton University, 1979 - 81, 1982 - 83.
Fellowships, University of Michigan, 1977 - 79, summer term 1978.
Scholarship, Saint Lawrence University, 1976 - 1977.
Scholarship, British-Spanish Cultural Exchange Program,
1976 (declined).

AFFILIATIONS

Membership in Professional and Learned Societies:

International Institute Foundation in Spain
Modern Language Association
Société Rencesvals
Asociación Hispánica de Literatura Medieval.
Medieval Spanish Research Seminar of Queen Mary and Westfield
College, University of London
Medieval Studies Institute, Western Michigan University
Ibero-Medieval Association of North America.
Asociación de Estudos Galegos
Asociación Internacional de Hispanistas
The American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese
Sociedad Nacional Hispánica, Sigma Delta Pi

TEACHING

I teach a range of courses about medieval Spanish literature as well as seminars. 

(* New courses I have developed)
Undergraduate Courses in the Department of Hispanic Studies

*HS 1210, History of Spanish Language
*SP 55 Introductory Seminar for First-Year Students
("Wildeyed Stories") Spring 2003-04.
*SP 55 First Year Seminar ("Love and War in Medieval and
Contemporary Spanish Fiction") Fall 2002-03.
*SP 145 Studies in Poetry ("Poesía lírica y narrativa de tipo 
tradicional"), SP 198, Spring 2001-02.
*SP 121 Studies in Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages ("Judeo-
Spanish Literature and Culture"), Fall 2001-02.
SP 124 Golden Age Short Stories, Spring 1999-00.
SP 190 Capstone Course ("Literature and Ideology"), Fall 1999-00.
*SP 121 Muslim, Jews, and Christians in Medieval Iberia, (crosslisted 
with Univ. Course 62, Comp. Lit. 181, History of Art and Architecture
47, Portuguese and Brazilian Studies 96; in collaboration
with Prof. Sheila Bonde, created with the help of a Wayland 
Collegium, Wriston and Curriculum Development Grants), Spring
1998-99.
*SP 52 Expressions and Values in Spanish Literature ("Culture of the 
Sephardic Jews"), Fall 1998-99.
*SP 121 Studies in Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages
("Rebellious Vassals in a Feudal Society"), Fall 1989-
90, Fall 1995-96).
*SP 121 Studies in Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages
("Gender in Spanish Medieval Literature"), Spring 1992-
93, Spring 1994-95.
SP 33/SP 54/SP74 Intensive Survey of Spanish Literature, Fall 1990-91,
Fall 1991-92, Fall 1992-93, Fall 1993-94, Spring 2001-02, Fall 2002-
03, Spring 2003-04, Spring 2004-05.
*SP 19 Spanish Conversation ("Mexican and Spanish Culture,"
created with the help of a Wriston Grant, taught and
supervised) Fall 1992-93, Fall and Spring 1993-94.
SP 12 Introduction to Medieval and Golden Age Spanish
Literature, Spring 1989, Spring 1990, Spring 1991-92.
SP 19 Spanish Conversation, Fall 1990-91.
*SP 51 Spanish Composition (taught and supervised),
Fall 1989-90.

Undergraduate Courses in the Medieval Studies Program

Medieval Studies 36: "Medieval Perspectives", (co-taught
with Profs. Bryan, Pucci, Russom, McIlwain, D'Evelyn and Bonde. 
"Great Works of the Middle Ages", Spring 2004-05.
Medieval Studies 36: "Muslim, Jews, and Christians in Medieval 
Iberia", (in collaboration with Prof. Sheila Bonde, cross-listed with
Hispanic Studies, Art History and Archeology, and Portuguese Studies)
Fall 2004-05. 
Medieval Studies 36: "Medieval Perspectives", (co-taught
with Profs. Bryan, Bossy, McIlwain and Russom; "Constructions
of Personal and Social Identity in 14th-15th Century Iberia"),
Spring 2003-04.
Medieval Studies 36: "Medieval Perspectives", (co-taught
with Profs. Russom, Bryan, Bossy, McIlwain, Warner, Taylor 
and Satlow; "Constructions of Personal and Social Identity in 14th-15th
Century Iberia"), Spring 2002-03.
Medieval Studies 36: "Medieval Perspectives", (co-taught
with Profs. Russom, Pucci, Bonde, Viswanathan, Bryan, Bossy,
and Pucci; "Constructions of Personal and Social Identity in 14th-15th
Century Iberia"), Spring 2001-02.
*University Course 62: "Muslim, Jews, and Christians in Medieval 
Iberia", (in collaboration with Prof. Sheila Bonde, created with the help of a Wayland Collegium Grant), Fall 1998-99, Fall 2000-01.
Medieval Studies 36: "Medieval Perspectives", (co-taught
with Profs. Pucci, Bonde, Bryan, and Remensnyder; "Granada in the
14th Century"), Spring 1999-00.
Medieval Foundations 38: "Medieval Perspectives", (co-taught
with Profs. Kirk, McIlwain, and Remensnyder; "In Serch
of the Medieval Self: Ovid and the pseudo-autobiography
in the Book of Good Love"), Fall 1995-96.
University Course 36: "Medieval Perspectives" (co-taught
with Profs. Bonde, Crossgrove, Golopentia, McIlwain,
and Pucci; "Muslim Spain: Its History and Culture. 
Hispano-Arabic Lyrical Poetry"), Fall 1993-94.
Medieval Foundations 38: "Medieval Perspectives" (co-taught
with Profs. Bonde, Bryan, Crossgrove, McIlwain, and
Pucci; "The Book of True Love, 14th-century Castilian
Masterpiece"), Fall 1992-93.

Graduate Courses in the Department of Hispanic Studies

*SP 203 Studies in Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages ("Medieval
Spanish Epic"), Fall 2007-08.
*SP 203 Studies in Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages ("Mester
de clerecía"), Fall 2006-07.
*SP 203 Studies in Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages ("Fifteenth-Century Sentimental Romances and Celestina"), Spring 2005-06. 
*SP 293/203 Studies in Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages ("Arthurian 
and Carolingian Romances of Medieval Iberia"), Fall 2004-05.
*SP 203 Studies in Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages ("History and 
Fiction: Literature of the 15th Century", Spring 2003-04. 
*SP 203 Studies in Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages ("Arthurian 
and Carolingian Romances of Medieval Iberia"), Fall 2001-02. 
*SP 262 Special Topics in Hispanic Literature ("Oral Literature:
Medieval Spanish Epic and Ballads"), Fall 1999-00.
*SP 203 Studies in Spanish Literature of the Middle Ages
("Medieval Masterpieces"), Spring 1989-90, Fall 1991-92,
Spring 1993-94, Fall 1998-99.
*SP 201 Spanish Philology ("Development of language in
Medieval Spanish Literature: phonetics, syntax, word-
formation; paleography and textual criticism"), Fall 1991-
92, Spring 1992-93, Spring 1994-95, Spring 1997-98, Fall 2002-2003, 
Fall 2004-05.

FUNDED RESEARCH

Richard Salomon Grant, Brown University (to support field trip for SP 121 "Judeo-Spanish Literature and Culture), Fall 2001-02.
Wriston Grant, Brown University (to support research on Medieval Iberia, 1998 - 1999, with Professor S. Bonde).
Curriculum Development Grant, Brown University (UC 62 Medieval Iberia, 1999, with Prof. S. Bonde).
Wayland Collegium Grant, Brown University, 1996 - 1997, grant to support research on Medieval Iberia (with Profs. S. Bonde, A. Remensyder,and S. Slymovics)
Wriston Grant, Brown University, 1991 (to support research SP 19 "Mexican and Spanish Culture).
UTRA Grant, 1999 to support collaborative student research on Spanish Ballads.

WEB LINKS

CURRICULUM VITAE