"My dissertation and early research combines my love for literature as well as my engagement in feminist theory. My work has focused on issues of the body, specifically the female body. I am particularly intrigued with the way 19th century medical discourse portrays illness as a natural state in women. My work on 19th century Spain has focused on hysteria, anorexia, and menstrual troubles with a focus on how portrayals of sick women work with and against the overall cultural understandings of women's bodies looking toward social causes rather than the biological sources of women's illness. More recently I have turned my attention to Spanish film and contemporary Spanish culture with an emphasis on youth. I am interested in the challenges facing Spanish youth today and their strategies for fighting apathy and finding community. I now teach a new course called Spanish 310 "Spanish Youth through Film, Literature and Music."
Years at Knox: 2000 to present
Ph.D., 2001, University of Illinois.
M.A., 1995, University of Illinois.
B.A., 1993, University of Illinois.
Spanish language, conversation and composition, hispanic literatures, spanish literature -19th and 20th century, gender and women's studies, Spanish youth today through film and music.
Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain's Ministry of Culture and United States Universities. Grant to hold film festival titled "Family Dynamics and Body Politics: Women Directors of the Spanish-Speaking World," Oct. 2008.
Phillip Green Wright Teaching Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2006.
ACM (Associated Colleges of the Midwest) Costa Rica Grant.
Diversity Committee Grant to attend Latino Film Festival, 2002.
Junior research leave- fall 2002.
Departmental fellowship to work on dissertation, Spring 2000.
"'La enfermedad extraña': Inapetencia, class and eating disorders in La esfinge maragata." Hispanic Review 79.2 (2011): 213-233.
"Desarreglos propios del sexo": Advertising Menstrual Disorders and Regulating Women in fin-de-siglo Spain. Decimononica 7.1 Winter/Invierno 2010.
"La monogamia y sus descontentos: el amor y el deseo en el cine español contemporáneo." Los hábitos del deseo: Formas de amar en la modernidad I Eds. Carme Riera y Meri Torras. Barcelona, Spain (2005): 121-125.
"Another Look at Nucha's Hysteria: Pardo Bazán's Response to the Medical Field of the Late Nineteenth-Century Spain." Letras femeninas, Spring 2004.
"Carmen de Burgos 'La mujer fria': A Response de Necrophilic Aesthetics in Decadentist Spain." Disciplines on the Line. Edited by Thomas Lathrop. Juan de la Cuesta-Hispanic Monographs. Newark: Juan de la Cuesta, 2003.
"Gossip, Gender, and Genre in Memorias de un solteron" by Emilia Pardo Bazán Romance Languages Annual 1995.
"Desarreglos propios del sexo: Advertising Menstrual Disorders in fin-de-siglo and Early Twentieth-Century Spain." 40th Annual Conference of the Society for Spanish and Portuguese Historical Studies, Kansas City, Missouri, April 2009.
"The Border between Family and Friends: Family Systems Theory and the Films Icíar Bollaín." 20th Century Literature Conference, University of Louisville, February 2006.
"Advertising Amenorrhea: The Medical Politics of Abortion and Anorexia in fin-de-siglo Spain." Institute for Feminist Theory and Research, University of Liverpool, 2003.
"The New Family in Spanish Cinema of the 1990s." Twentieth Century Literature Conference, University of Louisville, Kentucky, 2002.
"How to Be a Clean Woman: The Discourse of Hygiene in 19th Century Spain." Knox College, Gender and Women's Studies Colloquium, 2000.
"Necrophilia in Literature and Culture in Early 20th Century Spain." Feminismos Symposium of Hispanism. University of Illinois-Urbana, 1999.
Campus & Community Involvement
Resident Director, Knox College Program in Buenos Aires.
Volunteer translator and interpreter for Knox Ob-Gyn, Ltd., Galesburg.
Resident Director, Knox College Program in Barcelona.
Teacher, College 4 Kids, "Self-Esteem for girls workshop."
Director, Center for Global Studies
What Students Say
"I have had the privilege of having Robin Ragan not only as a professor but as a director for part of my study abroad. She's the type of professor who will still be thinking about a question you asked in class for days after and follow up with an e-mail expanding on her answer. She's really open and warm with students, inviting them over to her home to talk and eat paella. Another thing I really appreciate about her is how dedicated she is to her students, always going out of her way to help them out any way she can. For example helping me search for somewhere to play badminton in Barcelona."
-Emily Quade, Integrated International Studies Major
"Professor Robin Ragan has been instrumental to the work I've accomplished at Knox. She was the director of the Barcelona program while I lived in Spain and served as my honors advisor in my senior year. What makes Robin a great professor is that she is entirely dedicated to helping her students. With my honors project, I had constant questions and concerns. She was always there to answer them, always ready to set up a meeting and help me sort things out. She is always researching and reading, trying to find the best materials for her upcoming classes, trying to find better ways to illustrate her point... She will always pool her resources to give students the maximum amount of information to solve tricky problems or to expand their research. I found her to be always excited and ready to help with my research. Her dedication and assistance throughout my time at Knox was invaluable."
-Emily Richardson, Spanish Major
Baby talk is serious business for senior Megan Beney, a double major in music and anthropology and sociology. Her Honors research focuses on the musical qualities of the ways that people talk to infants.
Leading up to a worldwide event -- Gun Control Theatre Action Week, May 27 through June 2 -- a play by Knox College theatre professor Neil Blackadder is selected for a new collection, "24 Gun Control Plays."
Seniors Megan Beney and Eva Marley spoke at the Central States Anthropology Society. Beney's topic was the musical nature of speech directed at infants, and Marley discussed social media sites and social movements.