Research Team


Paloma Fresno-Calleja is Senior Lecturer in English at the University of the Balearic Islands where she teaches postcolonial literatures and gender studies. Her research focuses on New Zealand and Pacific literatures, on which she has published monographs, book chapters and articles in international journals such as The Journal of Postcolonial Writing, Interventions, Contemporary Women’s Writing, The Journal of New Zealand Studies, or The Journal of Commonwealth Literature. More recently, she has co-edited, with Janet Wilson, and translated Un País de Cuento. Veinte Relatos de Nueva Zelanda (Prensas de la Universidad de Zaragoza, 2014), the first anthology of New Zealand short stories published in Spanish. She is lead researcher of HER and of the UIB research group “Modern and Contemporary Anglophone Literatures”.

At the moment, Paloma is exploring a number of contemporary historical romances set in Aotearoa/New Zealand in the 19th century and written both by European and New Zealand female authors. The focus of this analysis is on the novels’ diverging treatment of history, their reworking of classical romantic formulae and the various process of self/exoticisation operating in the texts. She is interested in exploring the production and reception of these novels within the general framework of popular romance marketing in Europe and how their popularity has conditioned global perceptions of New Zealand literature and culture.

Carolina Fernández-Rodríguez has a PhD in English Philology and she teaches American Literatures and Cultures at the University of Oviedo. Her research focuses on contemporary women’s writing, with a special focus on feminist revisions of fairy tales, a topic on which she has written three books and several articles. She is also interested in the representation of latinidades in American literature and mass media, and in issues related to multiculturalism as portrayed in children’s and young adults’ literature.

At the moment, Carolina is analyzing the romances written by two Chamorro writers from Guam: Conquered, by Paula Quinene (2016), and A Mansion on the Moon, by Cathy Sablan Gault (2015). Both novels are faithful to many of the genre’s conventions, but they also depart from them in a number of interesting and subversive ways. She is also revising the bibliography written on Helen Hunt Jackson’s Ramona (1884), a paradigmatic example of romantic novel whose story takes place in an exoticized setting: California in the mid-19th century. Though the novel has been profusely studied and revised in the past, it still remains an essential case study for our project, because it combines romantic love with an exotic setting and an historical frame. Besides, an in-depth analysis of the causes that have made it immensely popular and influential may shed light on the power of popular romantic formulae to delineate a given society’s cultural and economic set-up.

Aurora García Fernández is Senior Lecturer at the University of Oviedo, Spain, where she teaches Postcolonial Studies and Cultures of the Anglophone World. Her interests lie mainly in Postcolonial and Global Studies and in Australian literature, as well as in curriculum design and methodology. She has co-edited Translating Cultures (1999) and is the author of a monography on Australian historical fiction, La revisión postcolonial de la historia de Australia en la obra de Patrick White y Peter Carey (2001), as well as several articles and book chapters mostly on Australian fiction. She coordinated the new syllabus of the Degree in English Studies and, as a vocational educator, she has been involved in several innovation teaching projects.

At the moment, Aurora is working on a corpus of contemporary romances set in Australia to analyse the cultural specificities of the formula when applied by Australian writers catering to local and/or international readers. From a postcolonial and eco-critical approach to romance writing, she is following a two-fold but intertwining line of analysis, focusing both on works dealing with the country’s past and on novels in which landscape plays a crucial role. The former group covers romances either about the convict and pastoral history of the country or the 20th war epics; the latter includes a copious number of novels in which the romantic plot revolves around a challenging, soothing or gripping interaction with the unique and potentially overwhelming, but also fragile Australian landscape. Additionally, she is also exploring how Indigenous Australian writers such as Anita Heiss are engaging with the romance formula to convey their political message to mainstream Australian and international readers.

Alejandra Moreno Álvarez holds a PhD in Women’s Studies from the University of Oviedo. Currently, she is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department of the University of Oviedo. Her teaching and research is centered in Literatures in English Language and Feminist and Postcolonial Theory. She has been a research fellow at Rutgers University, Cornell University and the University of Leeds, among others. She is the author of Lenguajes comestibles: Anorexia, bulimia y su descodificación en la ficción de Margaret Atwood y Fay Weldon (Edicions UIB, 2009); El lenguaje trasgresor de las Ciborgs Literarias (ArCiBel Editores, 2011) and Ambai: Un movimiento, una carpeta, algunas lágrimas / A movement, a folder, some tears (KRK, 2011).

At the moment, Alejandra is focusing on the aesthetics and marketability of historical romances set in India and produced by European authors like Nicole C. Vosseler and Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, both of whom exploit the exotic trope. By contrast, she is exploring how this trope is used or subverted by Booker Prize authors Arundhati Roy, Kiran Desai, Anita Desai and Jhumpa Lahiri. On the other hand, Moreno-Álvarez is studying the boom of popular romantic novels in India, particularly through the Harlequin Mills and Boon imprint.

Irene Pérez-Fernández is Lecturer in English Studies at the University of Oviedo. Her research focuses on the notions of gender, space and identity in contemporary British literature and literatures in English with a special interest in the literary works of contemporary Black British and Asian British Women Writers. She has published articles on the works of Andrea Levy, Zadie Smith and Diana Evans in various international journals (Atlantis, Odisea, The Grove, Interactions: Journal of British and American Studies and Journal of Postcolonial Writing) and has translated Joan Anim-Addo’s short story “Daughter and His Housekeeper” into Spanish (Revolución y Cultura). She is the author of two books Espacio, Identidad y Género: Aproximaciones Teóricas (2009) and Maggie Gee: “The Artist/Artista”. (2011).

At the moment, Irene is analysing the ways in which the 19th century history of the Caribbean, particularly the depiction of plantation slavery, is represented in contemporary romance novels such as Sarah Lark’s Caribbean bilogy and Michelle Paver’s Daughters of Eden trilogy. She is interested in comparing these romance novels with the works of contemporary Caribbean and Black British authors, such as Monique Roffey, Jean Rhys or Andrea Levy, whose works are not categorised as belonging to the genre of romance yet they revisit both Britain’s and the Caribbean’s colonial and post-colonial history through the intimate relations established by their main characters and in so doing provide more nuanced and accurate accounts. She is also exploring young adult romances by British writers which feature interracial couples such as Malorie Blackman’s Noughts and Crosses trilogy.

Carmen Pérez Ríu is a lecturer and researcher at the University of Oviedo (Spain). She specializes in both literary and film criticism, and particularly in film adaptation studies, from a gender perspective, and has published a monograph entitled La Mujer victoriana en novelas inglesas contemporáneas y sus adaptaciones cinematográficas (Oviedo: Universidad de Oviedo, 2000). She has published contributions in collective works on literature and film as well as in academic journals including Literature/Film Quarterly, Brönte Studies, Adaptation, Arbor, and Atlantis (the journal of the Spanish Society of Anglo-American Studies). Apart from Victorian and Neo-Victorian fiction, her research interests also include feminist critical studies in general, and she teaches in the Masters Degree in Gender and Diversity of the University of Oviedo (Erasmus Mundus). She is currently Coordinator of the undergraduate degree in English Studies of the University of Oviedo.

Carmen is currently working on the analysis of historical popular romance novels set in the UK in the Victorian period, in comparison with wider trends in the historical and neo-Victorian novel. She is particularly interested, on the one hand, in the narrative mechanisms that are specific to the genre in contrast with other historical genres; and on the other hand in the (re)configurations and exotification of the historical past as it is elaborated in popular novels, based on the combination of modern mindsets and period scenarios. She is also analyzing this issue from a reader-response perspective with the aim of shedding light into the particular kind of relationship established between the text and the readers of popular romance fiction.

Eva M. Pérez-Rodríguez (MPhil Bradford, PhD Oviedo) is a Senior Lecturer in English at the Universitat de les Illes Balears, where she teaches literature subjects in the Degree of English Studies. Previously, she held teaching positions at the Universidad de Oviedo, the Universitat Jaume III in Castellón, and the University of Bradford (UK) as Foreign Language Assistant. Her MPhil and PhD dissertations focused on the work of 1790s radical author William Godwin. Eva’s current research interests include contemporary British authors such as David Lodge, Ian McEwan or Sarah Waters. She has participated in numerous international conferences and published articles in specialised journals. In 2012 her book How the Second World War Is Depicted by British Novelists since 1990 was published by the Edwin Mellen Press. She is also the co-author of Commenting on Texts: Literature, History, the Media (Edicions UIB, 2006), among others. Eva is a member of the research group Literatures Anglòfones Modernes i Contemporànies at UIB.

Eva is currently studying the impact of war and political or imperialist domination on nature in contemporary exotic romances written by women. In particular, she is studying a selection of historical romance novels set in Mediterranean conflict areas and studying the use of literally and metaphorically broken homes to explore the reconstruction of both personal and national identity. Although her approach is historicist, focusing mostly on the two World Wars and the inter- and post-war period, she also analyses how these novels cater for their readership’s taste for exoticism in order to enhance the marketability of this category of popular female fiction.


Pilar Villar-Argáiz is a Senior Lecturer of English in the Department of English Philology at the University of Granada. She has published extensively on contemporary Irish poetry and fiction, in relation to questions of gender, race, migration and interculturality. She is the author of the books Eavan Boland’s Evolution as an Irish Woman Poet: An Outsider within an Outsider’s Culture (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2007) and The Poetry of Eavan Boland: A Postcolonial Reading (Academica Press, 2008). Her edited collections include Literary Visions of Multicultural Ireland: The Immigrant in Contemporary Irish Literature (Manchester University Press, 2014), the special issue of Irish Studies Review (entitled “Irish Multiculturalism in Crisis”, co-edited with Jason King, 2015), and the special issue of Nordic Irish Studies (entitled “Discourses of Inclusion and Exclusion: Artistic Renderings of Marginal Identities in Ireland”, 2016). Her research has been published in numerous peer-reviewed journals of her field such as New Hibernia Review, Irish University Review, Contemporary Women’s Writing (Oxford Journal), An Sionnach, Estudios Irlandeses and Études Irlandaises, among others.

At the moment, Pilar is looking at the interconnections between the cultural industry and the production of some popular fiction set in an Irish historical context, and produced mostly by non-Irish women writers. In particular, she examines salient examples taken from three fictional genres where Ireland and Irish history are exoticized for market reasons: ‘neo-historical fiction’, ‘historical romance’ and ‘tourist novels’. Her research aims to highlight the multiple ways in which Ireland is exoticized and how Irish cultural difference is commodified in popular literature.

Astrid Schwegler Castañer has a BA degree in English Philology and an MA degree in Modern Languages and Literatures from the University of the Balearic Islands, where she is currently a predoctoral research fellow. Her research interests include the notions of ethnicity, belonging and identity in contemporary postcolonial and diasporic works. She is currently working on her PhD thesis on the topic of culinary discourses and multiculturalism in Asian-Australian writing.

At the moment, Astrid is exploring how foodways are used in historical romances —such as Kate Furnivall’s The White Pearl (2011) and Dinah Jefferies’ The Tea Planter’s Wife (2015)— set in the imaginary exotic Asia during the British Empire . Focusing on culinary metaphors, she is particularly interested in the way the authors’ critical approach towards coloniality connects and/or clashes with their construction of an appetizing escapist novel.

Cristina Cruz-Gutierrez has a MA in Modern Languages and Literatures from the University of the Balearic Islands, and is currently enrolled in its PhD Philology and Philosophy programme. Her research is in the field of African literatures and gender studies, and she is specially interested in contemporary Nigerian female writing. She has published articles on Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and Noo Saro Wiwa.

As part of the research project, Cristina is focusing on historical romances set in Africa and exploring the orientalist representations of African landscapes, cultures and histories. In particular, she has analysed Jennifer McVeigh’s The Fever Tree (2012) and Leopard at the Door (2017), set in South Africa and Kenya respectively. Cruz-Gutiérrez is also exploring the marketing and promotional material used to sell these novels, paying particular attention to reading guides.

Miquel Pomar-Amer is an associate lecturer at the University of the Balearic Islands, where he has been teaching English for Specific Purposes since 2015. He completed his PhD in the University of Manchester with a dissertation that compared a selection of novels and autobiographical works written by British-Pakistani and Catalan-Moroccan authors. His research interests include the representation of identity in literature, especially in postcolonial contexts of migration and diaspora, the ethical and political relations between text and context, and the representation of the encounter between locals and tourists in works set in the Mediterranean. He has published several articles and book chapters on these topics. He participates in the research groups LITANGLO (UIB), LiCETC (UIB) and MIGRA (USC).

Miquel is currently working on a selection of romantic novels set in the Balearic Islands analysing the way in which they represent the landscape and the possible conflicts that may arise from mass tourism. In this regard, he is particularly interested in the inclusion of an environmentalist perspective into these works as well as a critical view of the dominant unsustainable touristic model.

Mariana Ripoll-Fonollar works as an associate lecturer at the University of the Balearic Islands. She completed her BA in English Studies and her Teaching Training MA at the University of the Balearic Islands, where she is currently enrolled as a PhD Student in the Philosophy and Philology programme. As part of the project, Mariana is exploring a corpus of 21st century female fiction set in the UK and exploring the topic of female suffrage.