Susan Larson

  • Associate Professor of Spanish
  • Hispanic Studies
  • Social Theory
1131 Patterson Office Tower
Research Interests:

Spring 2016 Office Hours W 11-2 
or by appointment


Ph.D. University of Arizona


My research lies at the intersection of Literary, Film and Urban Studies. I work primarily on the narrative (prose and film) of twentieth- and twenty-first-century Spain. I have two distinct but occasionally overlapping areas of specialization: the prose and film of the Spanish avant-garde and what I call “Hispanic Urban Cultural Studies.” I am currently working on a single-authored monograph on avant-garde Spanish prose. Two book chapters -- “Unreadable Bodies and Symbolic Violence in Antonio de Obregón’s Hermes en la vía pública” and “The Spanish Avant-Garde Novel: New Concepts of Aesthetic and Social Engagement” in Oxford University Press’s recently-published History of the Spanish Novel  -- are where I lay some of the groundwork for this project. I have also been working for some fifteen years or so with colleagues such as Benjamin Fraser, Malcolm Compitello, Araceli Masterson, Stephen Vilaseca, Matt Feinberg, Susan Divine and others to create a new space within Hispanic Studies for Urban Studies research that builds bridges between the Humanities and Social Sciences. While my research on the early twentieth century and the avant-garde is work I conduct largely on my own, my work in the area of Hispanic Urban Cultural Studies tends to be more collaborative. I have recently co-authored an essay with Matt Feinberg on what we are calling the “aesthetics of recycling and trash” in post-crisis Madrid, for example. Perhaps my most significant book project is one that I have been working on for more than ten years with Malcolm Compitello. The Politics of Post-cambio Madrid has been funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities and centers on the tension between how spatial production and consumption played out in Madrid between around 1973 and 1992, a period during which consumption-based strategies of urban growth and design supplant what originated as a politically radical and egalitarian Socialist urban planning initiative that talked openly about the need to transform the urban to achieve a greater level of social justice.  Madrid in the 1980s, of course, would turn away from its residents to privilege the creation of Spain’s version of the “global city,” commodifying the city itself. This book deals with these phenomena in the literary, cinematic and other cultural responses resulting from this urban process. I have found Urban Studies and Spatial Theory to be enormously effective in the classroom and have used them both to focus on cultures from other parts of the world as well as on our very own local Spanish-speaking communities.

Since 1993, when I first started typesetting Letras Peninsulares on a Macintosh computer with a screen approximately the size of a slice of bread, I have been actively involved in the production of Hispanic Studies academic journals. I was fortunate to be with the Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies from day one and currently serve on this and a number of other editorial boards. I have also started a book series with Benjamin Fraser housed at Palgrave Macmillan called “Hispanic Urban Studies” that has five titles coming out in this, its first year. These editing responsibilities are what have taught me to truly appreciate and understand what it means to belong to a discipline whose sustained health and future depend on collaboration, academic integrity and  -- most of all -- maintaining the most diverse, open and generous intellectual community possible.



Hispanic Urban Cultural Studies; Cultural Resistance in Social Space; The Death of the Novel in the Age of the Internet; The 'Other' Generation of 27; Advanced Readings in Critical Theory; The Democratization of Culture


Hispanic Cities; Hispanic Kentucky; Spanish Cinema; U.S. Latino Politics and Culture; Space, Place and Culture; The Culture of European Cities

Selected Publications: 
  • "Urbanism, Architecture and la Movida madrileña." In Back to the Future: Towards a Cultural Archive of la Movida. Ed. H. Rosi Song and William Nichols. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2013. 181-201.

  • “Hacia una geografía cultural urbana: Madrid 1925-1936.” Revista Arte y Ciudad Número Extraordinario 3.1 (2013): 59-78. Actas de las V Jornadas Internacionales de Investigación Arte y Ciudad Grupo Arte, Arquitectura y Comunicación en la Ciudad Contemporánea de la Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

  • “La Ciutat Jardí en USA: La propuesta urbana de Cebrià de Montoliu para Fairhope (Alabama).” Volume accompanying the exhibit Diseñar América. El trazado español de los Estados Unidos housed at the Spanish National Library. Belén López-Laguna and Andrés Rodríguez, eds. Madrid: Fundación Consejo España, 2014. 122-133.

  • “Notes on the Renegotiation of a Hispanic Studies Canon.” Co-authored with Benjamin Fraser and Malcolm Compitello. ADFL Bulletin 43.1 (2014): 77-90. 
  • "The Spanish Avant-Garde Novel: New Concepts of Aesthetic and Social Engagement." In A History of the Spanish Novel. Ed. J.G. Ardila. Oxford University Press, 2015. 357-75.
  • "Perspective and the Language of Architecture in Rosa Chacel's 'Relación de un arquitecto.'" In Otra historia. Estudios sobre arquitectura y urbanismo en honor a Carlos Sambricio. Juan Calatrava, Carmen Díez Medina, Salvador Guerrero and Ricardo Sánchez Lampreave, eds. Madrid: Lampreave, 2015. 356-67.
  • "La Luna." Radio documentary collaboration with London-based Radio Wolfgang. Produced by Olivia Humphries and David Owen with Tono Martínez and Ouka Lele, 2016.
    Listen here.
  • "Cultivating the Square: Trash, Recycling and the Cultural Ecology of Post-Crisis Madrid." Co-authored with Matthew I. Feinberg. Hispanic Issues Series. In press.
  • “Unreadable Bodies and Symbolic Violence in Antonio de Obregón’s Hermes en la vía pública. Mannequins, Machines and Mutilations: The Avant-Garde Body in Spain and Italy. Nicolás Fernández-Medina and María Truglio, eds. New York: Routledge, 2016. 54-74.

  • “La gramática de la ‘Hispanidad’: Retórica de imperio y arquitectura historicista en los discursos públicos de J.C. Nichols.” Bulletin d'Histoire Contemporaine de l'Espagne. Forthcoming.

The so-called “Silver Age” of Spain from 1898 to the rise of Franco in 1939 was characterized by intense urbanization, widespread class struggle and mobility, and a boom in mass culture. This book offers a close look at one manifestation of that mass culture: weekly collections of short, often pocket-sized books sold in urban kiosks at low prices. These series published a wide range of literature in a variety of genres and formats, but their role as disseminators of erotic and anarchist fiction led them to be censored by the Franco dictatorship. This book offers the most detailed scholarly analysis of kiosk literature to date, examining the kiosk phenomenon through the lens of contemporary interdisciplinary theories of urban space, visuality, celebrity, gender and sexuality, and the digital humanities.


  • Co-edited with Jeffrey Zamostny.
    Intellect Publishers, distributed by the University of Chicago Press. Forthcoming 2016.


  • Quiero vivir mi vidaEdition of the 1931 Carmen de Burgos novel. Stockcero, 2009.
  • La rampaEdition of the 1917 Carmen de Burgos novel. Stockcero, 2006.


Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 
Senior Editor 

Hispanic Urban Studies
Palgrave-Macmillan Book Series Co-Editor


Joshua Hoekstra

Francesco Masala

Lucía Montás

José María Pérez Sánchez

Naiara Porras Rentero

Allison Santos Martin


Eating Spain: Discourses of National Cuisine Since 1900
Matthew J. Wild (2015)

Ekphrasis and Avant-Garde Prose in 1920s Spain
Brian Cole (2015)


  • "The Spatial Politics of Spanish Cultural Studies." The University of Arizona Department of Spanish and Portuguese, April 3, 2013.
  • “Cultural Studies Research Methodologies and Publication Opportunities.” Invited Plenary Lecture. 1st International Meeting of Young Researchers on Heritage – PatrimoniUN10. The International University of Andalucía, Antonio Machado Campus (Baeza). November 20, 2014.

  • "The Ciutat Jardí Meets Alabama: Cebrià de Montoliu's City Plan of 1921." Designing America Lecture. SPAIN arts & culture. Spanish Embassy, Washington, DC. January 23, 2016.


  • Science and Technology in Spanish Culture from 1900 to 1936, March 3, 2011.
  • Hispanic Cartographic Imaginaries Graduate Student Symposium and Spatial Theory Workshop, April 4, 2014.
  • Hispanic Urban Cultural Studies Graduate Student Symposium April 6, 2015.


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