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Joan L. Brown

  • Elias Ahuja Chair of Spanish

University of Delaware
235 Jastak-Burgess Hall
Newark, DE 19716

(302) 831-2043
Courses Taught

Office Hours

T 12:15 P.M. - 1:30 P.M.
T 4:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.
*Requires appointment
W 1:30 P.M. - 3:15 P.M.
*Requires appointment
Th 12:15 P.M. - 1:30 P.M.
Th 4:00 P.M. - 5:00 P.M.
*Requires appointment


Professor Brown holds the Elias Ahuja Chair of Spanish. Her research and publications are in the areas of contemporary Spanish literature and culture, canon studies, women writers, and second-language acquisition. She teaches courses on contemporary Spanish literature and film, the Spanish Civil War, women writers of Spain and Latin America, and oral language acquisition in its cultural context. She is a committed member of the Honors faculty and offers combined Honors and MA-level seminars on Spanish literature and culture.


  • Ph.D., Romance Languages-Spanish, University of Pennsylvania
  • M.A., Romance-Languages-Spanish, University of Pennsylvania
  • B.A., Hispanic Studies, Vassar College


  • She has published book chapters and scholarly articles in journals including the Hispanic Review, Ínsula, Hispania, and Anales de la Literatura Española Contemporánea.

  • Books:

  • Secrets from the Back Room: The Fiction of Carmen Martín Gaite
  • Women Writers of Contemporary Spain: Exiles in the Homeland

Conversaciones creadoras

Conversaciones creadoras

This conversation text implements a dynamic, learner-centered approach that encourages students to use Spanish to resolve meaningful and emotionally charged conflicts. A carefully crafted pedagogical apparatus featuring Conversaciones creadora mini-dramas, written by renowned Spanish novelist Carmen Martin Gaite, challenges students to become active participants in the learning process.

Approaches to Teaching the Works of Carmen Martín Gaite

Approaches to Teaching the Works of Carmen Martín Gaite

The career of Spain’s celebrated author Carmen Martín Gaite spanned the Spanish Civil War, Franco’s dictatorship, and the nation’s transition to democracy. She wrote fiction, poetry, drama, screenplays for television and film, and books of literary and cultural analysis. The only person to win Spain’s National Prize for Literature (Premio Nacional de las Letras) twice, Martín Gaite explored and blended a range of genres, from social realism to the fantastic, as she took up issues of gender, class, economics, and aesthetics in a time of political upheaval.

Confronting Our Canons: Spanish and Latin American Studies in the 21st Century

Confronting Our Canons: Spanish and Latin American Studies in the 21st Century

What is a canon and why does it matter? In Confronting Our Canons: Spanish and Latin American Studies in the 21st Century, Joan L. Brown shows that a canon has the power to define a field and determine what is taught. She argues that it is both productive and necessary to confront our canons, to see what is actually in them and how these works and authors got there. Only then can educators take charge of their teaching canons and, by extension, their disciplines. Brown demonstrates that there is little agreement in the reported teaching canons in English and Spanish. Analyzing twentieth- and twenty-first-century required graduate reading lists in Spanish and Latin American literature in the United States, she finds that the core literary canon for graduate students is less comprehensive than the Spanish Advanced Placement reading list for high school students. She encourages the field of Hispanic studies—curators of the cultural patrimony of our country’s second language—to take the lead in developing a diverse, flexible, shared foundational canon at the graduate level, before the arbiters of “best practices” do this for us.

Professional Activities:

  • Professor Brown has been active in the Modern Language Association, serving as member and chair of the Division of Twentieth Century Spanish Literature, and has served the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese as its liaison to the MLA. She has given invited lectures in the United States, Spain, and England. Among the scholarly sessions she has organized and chaired are the recent MLA panel “What Do Graduate Students in Spanish Need to Learn, and Why?”, subsequently published as a suite of essays in Hispania. She serves on journal, editorial, and review boards and is a member of the Board of Editors of the University of Delaware Press.

This entry was posted in Faculty.

Department of Languages, Literatures and Cultures · 30 E Main. St. · Newark, DE 19716 · USA

Phone: 302-831-2591      Fax: 302-831-6459      Email: dllc-academics@udel.edu