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Photo of Professor Nuria Capdevila-Argüelles

Professor Nuria Capdevila-Argüelles

Professor in Hispanic Studies and Gender Studies


01392 724266

Professor Nuria Capdevila-Argüelles graduated in 1995 with a Licenciatura in Filología from the University of León (Spain). She completed an MSc and a PhD in Hispanic Studies at the University of Edinburgh and spent her postdoctoral research period at Oxford University where she was the holder of the Queen Sofía Junior Research Fellowship (1999-2002). She spent  three years working as a permanent lecturer in Hispanic studies at the University of Lancaster before joining the University of Exeter in 2005. She is now Professor of Hispanic Studies and Gender Studies. She is aso Director of Impact for DML.

Her most recent books are El regreso de las modernas (2018)  (, the much-awaited anthology Corcel de fuego (2020) ( She has published extensively in the fields of Gender Studies and Hispanism on both sides of the Atlantic. Her books, Autoras inciertas (2008), He de tener libertad (2010) (  and Artistas y precursoras (2013) ( have all won awards from the Spanish Ministry of Education (Dirección General del Libro y Bibliotecas).

She also co-directs the collection Biblioteca Elena Fortún, Editorial Renacimiento, She has completed extensive critical editions for, among others, Celia madrecita, Celia institutriz, two of the most important titles of Fortún's famous Celia series. She is also the author of the extensive critical edition of Fortun's unpublished novel Oculto sendero. For more information on this revival of Spain's most famous children's author, see, Please click here for information into the English version of this best-seller, published in USA by Swan Isle,

In 2014 Professor Capdevila-Argüelles joined the network of experts producing the series Colección Obra Fundamental, with the prestigious Fundación Banco de Santander. This is a series of critical editions of materials coming from private archives, published in paper and digital format with analyses by important writers and critics such as Juan Manuel de Prada, Domingo Ródenas, Jordi Gracia and Ana Rodríguez Fischer. Together with María Jesús Fraga she has completed a critical anthology on Elena Fortun and Matilde Ras, El camino es nuestro,  (Fundación Banco de Santander, Colección Obra Fundamental, 2015)  An e-book version of this best-selling anthology can be purchased at Click her to learn more about El camino es nuestro, Her second work with them, De corazón y alma,  an edition of the much awaited letters between Carmen Laforet and Elena Fortún prepared with Carmen and Silvia Cerezales Laforet, came out in January 2017 and was adapted to the theatre in 2018.

She has supervised doctoral and postdoctoral research in the areas of modern and contemporary Hispanic Studies, Feminism and Gender Studies and is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.


Research interests

Read about my latest work on the much loved children's author Elena Fortún here:

Research Specialisms

I welcome enquiries about postgraduate supervision (MRes, MPhil, PhD) in all areas of nineteenth and twentieth-century Spanish literature, especially autobiography, feminism and the avant-garde.

Modern and Contemporary Spanish Feminism

My main fields of research within the burgeoning area of Hispanic feminism are representations of generic and sexual ambiguity in literature and art and the relationship between woman and nation. I am also interested in the exploration of equality and difference in society and culture and, finally, in female literary and artistic authorship in modern and contemporary Spain.

Female-authored Autobiographical Writing

I am interested in the many forms autobiography written by women has taken in the twentieth century and beyond: from memoirs of the Spanish Civil War written by women to psychological poetry and narrative that explores the construction of the female ‘I'. Portrait-painting and feminist theory are two other areas I explore in the context of my investigation of autobiography created by women.

Avant-garde Literature and Art

My interest focuses on the work of avant-garde female authors and artists in Spain. Their names, mostly obliterated by time, constitute the most European exponents of Iberian culture. Examples of them are the ultraist poet and anarcho-feminist Lucía Sánchez Saornil and avant-garde sculptress and illustrator Marga Gil Roësset.

Gender Studies

I am becoming more interested and involved in contemporary gender analysis and in gender mainstreaming, a global strategy to achieve equality between the sexes and to eradicate violence against women in all its manifestations and in all aspects of contemporary life. I am particularly interested in the presence of violence and/or discrimination against women in the media, in the workplace, in policy-making and in culture and society.

Research collaborations

See public engagement link for information on recent collaborations.

Professor Capdevila-Argüelles has written the extensive critical introduction of  the anthology ‘Elena Fortún y Matilde Ras: El camino es nuestro’  and selected the texts with her collaborator MJ Fraga (U Complutense, Madrid). This 425-page volume, published in the much acclaimed Obra Fundamental Collection (, Fundación Banco de Santander,   reveals Fortún and Ras’s intellectual contribution as major 20th century avant-garde writers,  female intellectuals active during the Spanish Second Republic, Civil War and Franco’s dictatorship whose literature, journalism and feminist thought were largely forgotten on becoming political exiles after the Spanish Civil War. Elena Fortún continued writing the adventures of the famous Celia and Matilde Ras continued writing on graphology for the Spanish and French press but Francoism put an abrupt end to the project of modernity and emancipation they represented, a project rescued in this volume. The volume can be purchased in e-book format here>

After a well attended press conference at the Fundación Banco de Santander ( , the official book launch took place on the 21st January at the Instituto Cervantes, Madrid, with Prof. Capdevila-Argüelles and Dr Fraga joined by leading novelists Almudena Grandes and Maxim Huerta and by Borja Baselga, principal of the Fundación, Another book launch event took place in October 2015 at the Spanish Embassy in London,

Other information

Conference Papers Given (since 2001)

  • ‘El post/feminismo narrativo'
    March 2001 at the University of Sheffield, conference on ‘El post/feminismo ibérico'
  • ‘Coloquio con Nuria Amat y Peter Bush: sobre la voz metaliteraria'
    May 2001 at the Taylorian Institution, Oxford University, special lecture sponsored by the Instituto Cervantes.
  • ‘Twentieth-Century Iberian Feminism: Writing Equality or the Constant Re-Writing of Difference' March 2003 at the University of Cardiff, conference on ‘New Readings'
  • Reina de America/Queen Cocaine: Intercultural Narrative and Literary Death Across the Sea' December 2003 at Lancaster University, IALIC 4th Annual Conference
  • ‘Nuria Amat, Nuria Capdevila and Peter Bush: the author, her critic and her translator', keynote address at the Writers' Forum Debate Writing and Translating between Cultures, moderated by David Bellos, December 2003 at Lancaster University, IALIC 4th Annual Conference
  • ‘Marga Gil-Roesset (1908-1932): la soledad y el desamor en granito y papel' May 2007 at The Queen's University of Belfast, conference on ‘Caballeros y damas en crisis: erotismo en la vanguardia'
  • ‘Autobiografía y autoría de la mujer en el exilio' en La significación cultural y literaria del exilio español (1939)/ The Cultural and Literary Meaning of the Spanish Political Exile of 1939, Universidad de Exeter/Fundación Francisco Largo Caballero, November 2009.

Papers at research seminars in Madrid, Valladolid, Cambridge, Oxford and London


External impact and engagement

For any Hispanist, public engagement in the Hispanic world itself is of key importance. I regulalry give research seminars in the UK, Spain and other countries in Europe. I have collaborated with Fundación Banco de Santander,, Las sinsombrero project from Ars Intropia, a leading Spanish TV company working with RTVE to produce documentaries on the history of feminist and female artist and writers. I have also been academic advisor and collaborate with the much acclaimed Mujeres bajo sospecha. Memoria y sexualidad 1930-1980, led by Professor Raquel Osborne (UNED),

Here are links to their Facebook pages.,,

Contribution to discipline

Professor Capdevila-Argüelles is a member of the AHRC Peer Review College and also a member of the AHRC and of WISPS. She is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and a member of the prestigious Spanish organisation Clásicas y modernas (www.clasicasymodernas,org) , involved in eeffective implementaton of gender equality legislation in Hispanic culture.


Professor Capdevila-Argüelles really enjoys working with th media. She has taken part in a recent radio documentary on Elena Fortún ( podcast: and has also taken part in the programmes Carne cruda, Vaje a Itaca and Women´s Hour.  She has been interviewed often in the Spanish press (La galla ciencia, JotDown, Vísperas and others)



Professor Capdevila-Argüelles has incorporated learning technologies in all her modules. Her  final year ELE sites, MLS3048 and MLS 3037, have been cited as examples of particularly good practice for their interactive design and the diversity of sources used to illustrate the nature of gender studies and the importance of autobiographical acts in contemporary society. Her approach has been described in MACE as “an eye-opener”, “a new way to look at history and modern life”, “highly enlightening”, and “a whole new perspective from which to consider cultural acts”. She has received nominations for Best Feedback, Best Lecturer and Innovative Teaching. These are some of the comments received to support her nominations: “Overall just a fantastic lecturer, she takes the subject into as much detail as possible and makes sure that not only do we, as students, keep up with her, but that we actively participate in the lesson making the topic much more interesting and the course much more rewarding!”; “Nuria is pure inspiration. She is so passionate and genuinely interested in what she teaches that it is infectious. She makes you want to learn and also to do well. Her lectures can be amusing and fun at times but also incredibly moving. She has made my final year feel like going to university was worth it”; “Great choice of unknown texts and authors that the canon have not credited and that I wouldn't have come across otherwise. They are serving as a basis for a new understanding and a different way of approaching this term's modules as well as general every day incidents”; “Efficient module structure where there was plenty of opportunity for debate during student-led lessons”.

Professor Capdevila-Argüelles is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Modules taught

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