Dr Katie Brown
Senior Lecturer in Latin American Studies
I joined the University of Exeter in 2018, and am currently co-Director of Education and Student Experience for Languages, Cultures and Visual Studies. I am also leading the development of the new BA Comparative Literatures and Cultures with Prof Helena Taylor.
I specialize in contemporary Latin American culture, with a particular focus on Venezuela. My main research interests are the circulation of people (travel, migration and exile) and of texts (publishing, cultural policy and translation), and questions of identity. I also research and teach about cultural responses to politics in the 20th and 21st century.
My PhD, completed at King's College London in 2016, focused on the cultural policy of the 'Bolivarian' government in Venezuela and discussions about why and how to write in fiction from the period. This forms the basis of my first monograph, Writing and the Revolution: Venezuelan Metafiction (2004-2012), published by Liverpool University Press (2019), as well as an article in the Bulletin of Latin American Research.
My current research focuses on Venezuelan migration, publishing and translation, leading to the network Venezuelan Voices in the World: https://venezuelanvoices.exeter.ac.uk/
I am passionate about making Latin American literature accesible not only in the classroom but also to the wider public through translation. I co-edited Crude Words: Contemporary Writing from Venezuela (Ragpicker Press, 2016) and regularly share translations online, particularly through Latin American Literature Today: http://www.latinamericanliteraturetoday.org/en My translation of Desde la salvajada by Alejandra Banca will be published by Selkies House in 2024.
Translation has taken me far back in time, to join the international team digitizing, editing, studying and translated the 13th century General e Gran Estoria, commissioned by Alfonso X: The Confluence of Religious Cultures in Medieval Historiography
I am very active in the Hispanic Studies community, acting as Treasurer for the Association of Hispanists and regularly attending conferences.
I specialise in contemporary Latin American culture, especially from Venezuela, and Comparative Literature. My main research interests are the circulation of people (travel, migration and exile) and of texts (publishing, cultural policy and translation).
Culture in the Bolivarian Revolution
The major focus of my research so far has been cultural production by Venezuelans, in the context of the Bolivarian Revolution. In April 2016, I successfully defended a thesis on contemporary Venezuelan literature at King’s College London, under the supervision of Professor Catherine Boyle. This was the first in-depth analysis of contemporary Venezuelan fiction in the context of nationalist and socialist cultural policy and global literary markets. This research, which forms the basis of my monograph, Writing and the Revolution: Venezuela Metafiction 2004-2012 (Liverpool University Press, 2019), problematizes theories of ‘global’ or ‘post-national’ Latin American literature, which have been derived from analysis of only a handful of countries. My analysis of contemporary Venezuelan literature reveals the enduring importance of the national, especially under a government characterised by strident nationalism, while also demonstrating the legacy of the Boom and other factors, including movements of people, on the international visibility of literature from Latin America. I show that, in this context, self-reflexive narratives afford their writers a form of political agency.
Venezuelan Voices in the World: Migration, Publishing, Translation
This work led me to research discussions of migration and exile in cultural production by the Venezuelan diaspora. Analysis of Venezuela challenges our definitions of exile, as many people who identify as exiles left for political reasons but can and do return to the country. Venezuela also provides an illuminating case study of a country where, for most of its history, immigration rather than emigration has been the norm. I am currently writing about these issues in literature, theatre and online media.
The network Venezuelan Voices in the World brings together collaborative projects I am working on in relation to Venezuelan migration, publishing and translation http://venezuelanvoices.exeter.ac.uk
The website includes interviews with Venezuelan poets carried out by students from Exeter and Universidad Complutense de Madrid, under the supervision of Dr Miguel Vásquez and me, thanks to a European Networking Grant.
Collaborative translation of the General e Gran Estoria
My interest in collaborative translation practice led me to join the international project The Confluence of Religious Cultures in Medieval Historiography, led by Prof Francisco Pena at UBC Okanagan, which aims to digitize, edit, study and translate the 13th century General e Gran Estoria, commissioned by Alfonso X. As translation lead, I recruit two or three interns each year to work on the translation from medieval Spanish to contemporary English as part of their MA Translation at Exeter through collaborative workshops. I've learned a lot about medieval Spain along the way! This translation work has been funded by Exeter-UBCO Global Partnerships grants.
I am Co-Director of the Exeter Centre for Latin American Studies, which brings together colleagues across Modern Languages, History, Archaeology, English, Films and Politics: http://humanities.exeter.ac.uk/modernlanguages/research/centres/excelas/
Since 2021, I have been involved in The Confluence of Religious Cultures in Medieval Historiography, an international, collaborative project to digitize, edit, study and translate the General e gran estoria. Led by UBC Okanagan, the project partners include Cilengua, Universidad de la Rioja, Texas State University and the Hispanic Seminary.
In 2021, thanks to a European Networking Fund grant, I led a project with Dr Miguel Vásquez from Universidad Complutense de Madrid for our students to work together to interview Venezuelan migrant poets. The interviews are available at: http://venezuelanvoices.exeter.ac.uk
From 2019 to 2021, I was PI of a project called 'Pensamiento y libertad' (Throught and Freedom), working with researchers from the Centro de Investigaciones Populares and the Escuela de Teatro Musical de Petare, both based in Caracas, Venezuela, to investigate the use of arts education to support critical thinking among young people. The project is part of 'Changing the Story', funded by the AHRC through the Global Challenges Research Fund: https://changingthestory.leeds.ac.uk/pensamiento_venezuela/ In 2022-23, we received follow-on funding to complete a new round of focus groups and a writing workshop with young people in Caracas.
From 2014 to 2018, I was co-organiser of ‘Migrating Texts’ with Dr Carla Mereu Keating and Dr Kit Yee Wong. Migrating Texts is a series of workshops bringing together academics and cultural and creative industry professionals to discuss subtitling, translation and intermedial adaption. We have hosted one two-day conference, three one-day conferences with special focuses on intercultural understanding, multilingualism, and innovation and technology (including practical training sessions on theatre translation and multilingual digital story-telling), an adaptation for radio workshop with a BBC producer and a subtitling workshop: https://migratingtexts.wordpress.com/
I am open to discussing research proposals on any relevant subject given my research expertise. I am especially happy to consider working with candidates with interests in the following areas:
Contemporary Latin American literature and culture
Migration and exile
Translation and reception
Research through practice
As well as researching contemporary Venezuelan literature, I take an active role in publishing and translating literature about migration by Venezuelans. I was co-editor of Crude Words: Contemporary Writing from Venezuela (Ragpicker Press, 2016) with Mongatuge Kobbe and Tim Givern and Escribir afuera: Cuentos de intemperies y querencias (Kálathos, 2021) with Raquel Rivas Rojas and Lilana Lara. My translation of Alejandra Banca's collection of short stories Desde la salvajada (From Savagery) will be published by Selkies House in 2024.
External impact and engagement
I co-edited the anthology Escribir afuera: Cuentos de intemperies y querencia (Kálathos, 2021) with Raquel Rivas Rojas and Liliana Lara. Together we ran a series of talks through June, July and September 2021, interviewing the authors from the anthology: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCopABcakERhe-ZwZARt664A
As a practicing translator, I regularly contribute translations to Latin American American Literature Today and co-edited Crude Words: Contemporary Writing from Venezuela (Ragpicker Press, 2016). My translation of Alejandra Banca's Desde la Salvajada (From Savagery) will be published by Selkie's House in 2024.
I was one of the judges for the Valle Inclán prize for translation from Spanish to English, hosted by the Society of Authors, in 2017 and 2018.
In August 2017, I participated in a round-table at a public screening of Venezuelan film La soledad at Genesis Cinema in London.
I am very commited to engaging school children in the study of modern languages and regularly give taster sessions for schools.
Contribution to discipline
I have been Treasurer for the Association of Hispanists since 2016, having previously been a Trustee for the Association.
I am also a member of the Society for Latin American Studies and the American Comparative Literature Association. I regularly attend conferences, organising panels on contemporary literature and culture.
I am a regular peer reviewer for the Bulletin of Latin American Research, and other journals. I also regularly review manuscript proposals for publishers.
Interview about Venezuelan literature for BBC4's OpenBook (16 Sept 2018): https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0bjyw68
I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and have completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Academic Practice, with a specialisation in Diversity and Equality.
In 2023, I completed a TQUK Level 2 certificate in Understanding Autism, to better support neurodivergent students.
- EASM175 - Dissertation (Research-Based or Practical Publishing Project)
- EASM177 - The Global Publishing Marketplace: Creating Audiences
- MLS1001 - Spanish Language
- MLS1066 - The Making of Modern Latin America: History Through Literature and Culture
- MLS1067 - Ideology in the Hispanic World
- MLS2072 - Place and Identity in Contemporary Venezuelan Culture
- MLS3069 - Mediated Lives: Intermedial Fiction from Latin America
- MLS3111 - Advanced Spanish Language Skills
- SML3015 - Dissertation
- SML3030 - Extended Dissertation
- SML3040 - Women in Translation: Gender and Publishing in the 21st Century
- SMLM113 - Dissertation in Global Literatures and Cultures
- SMLM145 - Translation Dissertation
- SMLM156 - Translation as Literary and Creative Practice
- SMLM235 - Key Concepts for Global Literatures and Cultures
- SMLM236 - Latin American Cinema: Race, Nation and Representation
I studied BA Modern Languages and European Studies (French and Spanish) at the University of Bath from 2007 to 2011, graduating with First Class honours. This degree cemented in me the interdisciplinary and international approach I have carried into my teaching. During my degree, I spent a year studying politics, psychology and sociology at Sciences Po in Paris. I completed my MA in European Studies at Cardiff University (2011-2012) and then a PhD in Spanish American Studies at King's College London, under the supervision of Professor Catherine Boyle, with a thesis on literary production in Venezuela (2012-2016).
I taught Spanish and Latin American literature throughout my PhD at KCL, then spent two years as a Teaching Fellow in Hispanic Studies at the University of Bristol, before joining the University of Exeter in 2018.