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Art and Visual Culture

Spanish fine art

Staff at Durham University have diverse and wide-ranging interests and expertise in Iberian and Latin American art and visual and material culture from the middle ages to the present day. The list below is a selective overview of the type of expertise in Hispanic art, material and visual culture, which is available across various departments at Durham University. Enquiries for PhDs or MAs are very welcome.

Andrew Beresford is Professor in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. He combines interests in medieval and early modern Spanish literature as well as painting, sculpture, and visual culture more broadly. This work has two interrelated strands. The first is gender-based and interrogates the sexualization of male/female subjects and the function of the body as a semiotic sign system. I am interested in particular in how the body projects identity and how such identities are inflected by a range of broader social and ideological considerations. The second major strand explores developments in signification occasioned by modifications to the body’s external appearance or challenges to the integrity of its borders, particularly when they are violated or transgressed and it becomes impossible to maintain clearly demarcated distinctions between the opposing dichotomies of internal/external, subject/object, or self/other. As a result, his work often deals with questions of abjection, revulsion, and the anatomy of disgust. Andrew Beresford is able to supervise most topics dealing with Spanish art and literature to 1700 and would welcome enquiries from students who wish to pursue PhDs or MAs by Research.

Stefano Cracolici served as the first Director of the Zurbarán Centre (2017-2020). He is Professor of Italian art and language in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. He has published on Leon Battista Alberti, courtly poetry, medieval and early modern medicine, the Roman Academy of Arcadia, 19th-century art in Europe and the Americas, and Italian cinema. He has been Scholar in Residence at the Getty Research Institute in Los Angeles, visiting professor at the University of São Paulo (Brazil) and UK-Mexico Visiting Chair at the UNAM and the Universidad Iberoamericana (Mexico). He sits on the selection panel of the Villa I Tatti Fellowship Programme of the Harvard Centre for Italian Renaissance Studies. His research has been supported by institutions such as the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust, the AHRC, GCRF, the Delmas Foundation and the British Council. Among his recent projects is the exhibition and the catalogue, ed. with Giovanna Capitelli, Roma en México / México en Roma: Las academias de arte entre Europa y el Nuevo Mundo 1843-1867 (2018).

Rui Gomes Coelho is Assistant Professor in the Department of Archaeology at Durham University. He is interested in historical archaeology, archaeology of the contemporary, critical heritage studies and photography. He has collaborated with archaeological projects about the Spanish Civil War, and recently co-directed a project about guerrilla warfare in the borderlands of Galicia and Portugal. Recent publications include the essay "The Garden of Refugees" in the volume The New Nomadic Age: Archaeologies of Forced and Undocumented Migration, edited by Yannis Hamilakis, 2018 and the article "An Archaeology of Decolonization: Imperial Intimacies in Contemporary Lisbon", Journal of Social Archaeology, 2019.

Claudia Hopkins is Professor and Director of the Zurbarán Centre (since October 2020), having previously been in the School of History of Art at the University of Edinburgh. She has broad expertise in Spanish art from the early modern period to the twentieth century. Her research focuses on art and visual culture of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as a context for exploring issues of cultural translation, constructs of self and other. She is particularly interested in attitudes to and visual representations of al-Andalus and Morocco. Her articles, book chapters, and forthcoming book The Orient Within: Spanish Art and Identity challenge overfamiliar assumptions of ‘Orientalism’. Her research and curatorial work also investigate Spanish-British artistic relations; in addition, recent work has focused on the Spanish reception of US art in the 20th century context (see her co-edited anthology Hot Art, Cold War. Southern and Eastern European Writing on American Art 1945-1990, Routledge, 2020) Her recent projects have been supported by the Centro de Estudios Europa Hispánica, the Carnegie Trust, the Leverhulme Trust, and the Terra Foundation for American Art.

Yarí Pérez Marín specializes in Latin American and Iberian culture, with a focus on the colonial period and the connections between science, gender and race. She is the author of Marvels of Medicine: Literature and Scientific Enquiry in Early Colonial Spanish America (Liverpool UP, 2020). Her research has been supported by awards from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the John Carter Brown Library, the Social Science Research Council and the Institute for Citizens and Scholars.

Tom Stammers is Associate Professor of Modern European Cultural History in the Department of History. One chief focus of his work is the history of collecting, taste, museums and heritage in the long nineteenth century. Through research in Paris he has come to study some of the links between Spanish artists and French critics, patrons and collectors; for instance, he has published on baron Charles Davillier, a close friend of Mario Fortuny and major promoter of Spanish decorative arts. In a future project Tom will be exploring the Orleans dynasty in exile after 1848 and is especially interested in the family's intense political and cultural connections with the Iberian peninsula. The papers of Louis-Philippe, comte de Paris (1838-94) offer an exceptionally rich insight into the personalities, collections and institutions of Isabelline Spain.

H. Rosi Song is Professor in Hispanic Studies in the School of Modern Languages and Cultures. She specialises in contemporary Spanish culture and politics, and is currently working on representations and narratives about migration and regional identities. She has recently co-authored a monograph on Catalan culinary history, A Taste of Barcelona (Rowman and Littlefield, 2019) and is the author of Lost in Transition: Constructing Memory in Contemporary Spain (Liverpool UP, 2016).

Paolo Fortis is an Associate Professor in Social Anthropology. His research and publications deal with Amerindian visual and material cultures and their relations to notions of the person, ecology, cosmology, and more recently time and history. He has conducted fieldwork with Guna people from the San Blas Archipelago of Panama over the past sixteen years. He is interested in how social relations can be evinced from the study of image and artefact systems and how such systems afford a view on time and history different from, if not inaccessible through, the written and oral record.