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Joyce Tolliver PhD

Profile picture for Joyce Tolliver PhD

Contact Information

4080 Literatures, Cultures, and Linguistics Building (mail)
4122 LCLB (individual office)

Office Hours

By appointment, in person or Zoom (email
Director, Program in Translation and Interpreting Studies
Associate Professor

Research Interests

Modern Iberian literatures and cultures

Global Hispanophone studies, with a focus on the Philippines in the late Spanish colonial period

Gender and sexuality studies

Translation and Narrative theory


Research Description

Story-telling is one of the key ways that humans make sense of the world, whether those stories are told in literary narratives, newspaper accounts, essays, or any other form. That's why I find narrative and rhetorical analysis  to be an exciting way to learn more about broad issues related to human interactions, including how sex and gender have constructed social relations; how power is upheld, created, and contested; what identity categories define individuals' relative privileges at different moments in time and in different cultures. I am currently approaching these questions  in three overlapping ways: by analyzing narratives of "passing" at different points in the history of Spain; by examining writings about the fraught relationships of filipinos and "peninsulares" in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries; and by exploring the place of translation in Iberian cultural history.


BA in Spanish and Secondary Education, with a minor in English  from the University of Iowa

MA in Spanish from the University of Iowa

PhD in Spanish from the University of Southern California

Awards and Honors


President, Asociación Internacional de Galdosistas (2024-2026)

Campus Outstanding Faculty Leadership Award,  2019

Center for Advanced Studies Associate,  2012

Graduate College Outstanding Mentor Award, 2000


Courses Taught

I regularly teach undergraduate and graduate courses, including SPAN 463 (Spanish Studies 18th-19th Centuries) and SPAN 464 (Spanish Studies 1898-1960).  Recent topics for these courses have included "Feeling/Real" and "Outsiders" (SPAN 463) and  "Dissolving Boundaries" (SPAN 464).  I also developed and regularly teach SPAN 410/TRST 412, Spanish<>English Translation.

My graduate seminar topics have included "Narrative and Empathy," "Passing in Spanish Texts," "Slow Reading Fortunata y Jacinta," and "The Philippines and Spain's Modern Empire," among others.


Additional Campus Affiliations

Program in Translation and Interpreting Studies

Gender and Women's Studies

European Union Center Studies

Global Studies

Center for Caribbean and Latin American Studies

Highlighted Publications

“Outsiders on the Inside: Mestizaje and the Economics of Colonial Desire in Sinibaldo de Mas and Francisco de Paula Entrala.” Kritika Kultura 37 (2021), pp. 321-340.


Throughout the last twenty-five years of  the Spanish colonization of the Philippines, Spaniards published essays and fiction that echoed  the view that the colonial project was doomed to failure, clearly expressed in Sinibaldo de Mas's 1843 "Informe secreto" ("Secret Report").  Less attention is paid to  nineteenth-century works by peninsulares that mirrored Mas's alternative plan preparing for Philippine "emancipation" and economically incentivizing mestizaje. Among these were the fiction and essays of the self-described "aplatanado" Francisco de Paula Entrala, which suggested that any failure of mestizaje as a normalizing colonial project was due to the shortcomings of the peninsular Spaniards themselves. In Olvidos de Filipinas (Philippines Forgotten) (1881), Entrala's rhetorical shifts simultaneously grant him the authority of an insider to Manila culture and acknowledge his position as colonial outsider; while in "El rostro y el alma" (The Face and the Soul) (1875), he plays with the conventions of Romantic narrative and of costumbrismo to portray mestizaje as the economic salvation of the would-be colonizers and  a "happy ending" to failed Spanish imperialism.



"Mario/Elisa and Marcela: Scandal and Surprise in the 1901 Spanish Press." Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies. 45.1 (2020), pp. 46-73.  

This paper analyzes the coverage found in the local and national press of the now-famous marriage of Mario/Elisa Sánchez Loriga and Elisa Gracia Ibeas in 1901 Galicia. We show that the coverage that appeared in the weeks following the event reflected the public’s willingness to question the stability and validity of gender as a category that structured social rights and privileges. We contextualize that questioning within the post-1898 Spanish fin de siglo sense of social instability and reassessment of traditional Spanish cultural institutions. We conclude that today’s framing of the event as a story of two exceptional lesbian women elides both Mario/Elisa’s self-identified transgenderism and the 1901 public’s recognition of the profound social significance of the successful passing act that the marriage represented.

    Episode 39 of Historias: The Spanish History Podcast, recorded in October 2021, features our conversation with Foster Chamberlin about the so-called "Matrimonio sin hombre" case. 



Recent Publications

“Outsiders on the Inside: Mestizaje and the Economics of Colonial Desire in Sinibaldo de Mas and Francisco de Paula Entrala.” Kritika Kultura 37 (2021), pp. 321-340.

"Mario/Elisa and Marcela: Scandal and Surprise in the 1901 Spanish Press." Bulletin for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies. 45.1 (2020), pp. 46-73.  

     You can listen to our interview about this case on the "Historias" podcast here.

"'Lo primero es ser hombre': Feminismo, sindicalismo y masculinidad en 'Lo de siempre' de Emilia Pardo Bazán."  “Et amicitia et magisterio”: Estudios en honor de José Manuel  González Herrán. Ed. Santiago Díaz Lage, Raquel Gutiérrez Sebastián, Javier López Quintáns, and Borja Rodríguez Gutiérrez. Biblioteca Virtual Miguel de Cervantes and Real Sociedad Menéndez Pelayo, 2021. 749-753.

"Dalagas and Ilustrados: Gender, Language, and Indigeneity in the Philippine Colonies." Unsettling ColonialismTransoceanic Perspectives on Gender and  Race in the Nineteenth-Century Hispanic World. Ed. Akiko Tsuchiya and N. Michelle Murray.  SUNY UP, 2019. 231-254.

“Colonialism, Collages, and Thick Description: Pardo Bazán and the Rhetoric of Detail.” Imagined Truths: Realism in Modern Spanish Literature and Culture. Ed. Mary Coffey and Margot Versteeg. Toronto UP, 2019. 215-235.

“Savage Madonnas: ‘La mujer filipina’ in the Nineteenth-Century Colonialist Imaginary.” Letras Femeninas 41.2 (2016), 21-34.

“‘El heroísmo del escritor’: Unamuno, Rizal, y el heroísmo incorpóreo.” Perfiles del heroísmo en la literatura hispánica de entresiglos (XIX-XX). Ed. Luis     Álvarez-Castro and Denise DuPont. Valladolid: Verdelis, 2013. 201-10.