Dr Lorraine Ryan


Birmingham Fellow

Department of Modern Languages


Contact details

Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT


Dr. Ryan joined the University of Birmingham in January 2012.


B.A., M.A., PhD (University of Limerick)


Dr. Ryan convenes and teaches the following modules:

  • A Time of Change: Collective and Cultural Memory in Contemporary Spain. 
  • Contemporary Spanish Women's Writing,
  • The Child in Spanish Culture.

She also contributes to modules on Latin American culture, Spanish Poetry, Golden Age Texts, and Year 4 Spanish Language. 

Postgraduate supervision

Dr Ryan welcomes enquiries from research students who would like to pursue further study in the following areas:

  • Spanish Women's Writing. 
  • Cultural Memory in Contemporary Spain. 
  • The Representation of Spatiality in Spanish Culture. 
  • Spanish Collective Memory.
  • Contemporary Spanish Literature.


Dr Ryan is a specialist in collective and cultural memory in Contemporary Spain with a particular focus on el boom de la memoria, the enormous paradigm shift in Spanish mnemonic culture since the mid-1990s. Her publications to date have focused on what she termed empowerment, in effect, the literary strategies designed to reconceptualise the defeated Republicans as active agents, struggling to maintain a coherent identity in post-war Spain.  

Accordingly, her work has explored the cultural representation of the relationship between spatial expressions of the Francoist collective ideology and the preservation of a repressed Republican counter-memory in the post-war period, as well as the adult rationalisation of postmemory. She is also concerned with theoretical aspects of memory, particularly forms of individual resistance to dominant memory narratives, as well as the interaction between cosmopolitan and national memory narratives.

Dr Ryan has recently completed a monograph on the critically neglected theme of memory and spatiality in Contemporary Spanish narrative. She is currently working on two book projects: a multidisciplinary study of the transformation in Spanish memory culture since the mid-1990s, and a study of one of Spain's foremost women writers, Almudena Grandes. 

In 2013, Dr. Ryan was awarded the prestigious AATSP's (American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese) 'Outstanding Scholarly Publication Award' for her article 'The Development of Child Subjectivity in La lengua de las mariposas.'

Other activities

Presentation of Papers

Dr. Ryan has presented twenty-six conference papers during her academic career to date. Her most recent include the following: 

The Externalisation of Spanish National Memory. Memory and Exile Research Group, University of Birmingham, March 2012.

Discussant. Memory Studies Workshop. University of Birmingham, June, 2012. 

Familial Memory and the Recuperation of Historical Memory in Contemporary Spain. Association of Contemporary Iberian Studies Conference. Kings College London. 12th September 2012. 

Beyond Postmemory: Rethinking Motivation in Contemporary Spanish Cultural Studies. Researching the Spanish Civil War: Trends and Issues. University of Warwick. 15th February, 2013.

Discussant. Research roundtable, Department of Modern Languages. March, 2013.  

The Revalorisation of Local Space in Contemporary Spanish Narrative. CSIC (Spanish Research Council). Madrid. 11th November 2013.  

The Problematics of Motherhood and Class in Almudena Grandes' Los Aires Difíciles. XI International Women's Studies Conference: Transatlantic Visions. Universidad Complutense, Madrid. 9th April 2014. 

New Perspectives on Space in Post-Millennial Spanish Literature. 2014 Annual Conference of the Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland. NUI Galway. 14th April 2014. 

The Representation of Globalisation in Contemporary Spanish Narrative. Globalisation: Texts, Performances and Practices. St Louis University in Madrid. 26th April 2014. 

Impugning a Flawed Democracy: Rafael Chirbes' En la orilla. Democracy and the Arts. University of Birmingham. 27th June 2014.

Social Trauma and Motherhood in Postwar Spain. Motherhood and War Seminar. University of Cambridge. 14th October 2014. 

Membership of Professional Organisations

Modern Language Association.

American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese,

Association of Hispanists of Great Britain and Ireland. 

Women in Spanish and Portuguese Studies. 


Single-Authored Monograph

Memory and Spatiality in Post-Millennial Spanish Narrative. Burlington, VT: Ashgate New Hispanisms. 2014.  

Edited Books

The Dynamics of Masculinity in Contemporary Spanish Culture (co-ed with Professor Ana Corbalán, University of Alabama). In progress.

Articles in peer reviewed journals

Motherhood, Clothing, and Class in Almudena Grandes’s Los Aires Difíciles. Bulletin of Spanish Studies (Forthcoming).

The Economic Degeneration of Masculinity in Rafael Chirbes’s En la orilla. Romance Quarterly 62:2 (2015): 67-83.

The Gendered Reading Trope in Almudena Grandes’s El lector de Julio Verne. Neophilologus 99:2 (2015): 253-269.

Cosmopolitan Memory and National Memory Conflicts: On the Dynamics of their Interaction. Journal of Sociology (2014): 50:4,  501-514.

Illusory Liberalism in Almudena Grandes’s Atlas de Geografia Humana. Hispania. September 97: 3 (2014): 485-497.

The Nullification of Domestic Space in Alberto Méndez’s Los girasoles ciegos. Bulletin of Spanish Studies. (May 15th 2014, Online First Edition)

Deep Memory and the Impossibility of Civil Resistance in Alfons Cervera's Maquis. Hispanic Research Journal 14:4 (2013): 338-355. 

The Development of Child Subjectivity in La lengua de las mariposas. Hispania 95:3 (2012): 447-459.

Memory, Power and Resistance: The Anatomy of a Tripartite Relationship. Memory Studies 4: 2 (2011):154-169.

The Empowerment of Republican Postmemory in Alfons Cervera’s El color del crepúsculo. Modern Language Review 106:1 (2011): 130-148.

The Enactment of Resistance: Hidden and Public Transcripts in Alfons Cervera´s el ciclo de la memoria. Romance Studies 29:1 (2011): 30-43.  

A Reconfigured Cultural Memory and the Resolution of Postmemory in Alfons Cervera’s Aquel Invierno. Hispanic Research Journal, 11: 4 (2010): 323-337. 

The Sins of the Father: The Destruction of the Republican Family in Franco’s Spain. History of the Family: an International Quarterly, 14: 3(2009): 245-252.

Terms of Empowerment: Setting, Spatiality and Resistance in Dulce Chacón’s Cielos de Barro and Carlos Ruíz Zafón’s La Sombra del Viento. CLUES: A Journal of Detection, 27:2 (2009):  95-108. 

Chapters in edited books

"Social Trauma and Motherhood in Post-war Spain", In: Dana Cooper and Claire Phelan (eds.), Motherhood and War: International Perspectives. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.  2014. 127-143.

"Catharsis and Confrontation: Post Millennial Memory Culture in Contemporary Spain", in Niamh Thornton and Kathy Bacon (eds.), The Noughties  in the Hispanic and Lusophone Worlds (Cambridge Scholars Press: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2012), pp. 106-129. 

"Familial Trauma in Post Transition Spain: Memory and Reconcilation through Generations", in Bruno Charbonneau and Genévieve Parent (eds.), Peacebuilding, Memory and Reconciliation: Bridging Bottom-up and Top-Down Approaches (Routledge: New York, 2011),  pp. 56-74.

"When the Personal is Political: The Formation of a Republican Mnemonic Community in Alfons Cervera’s La noche inmóvil", in Alison Ribeiro de Menezes and Catherine O´Leary (eds.), Legacies of War and Dictatorship: Essays on Cultural Memory in Spanish and Portugese Literature (Peter Lang, Iberian and Latin American Studies: the Arts, Literature and Identity: Oxford, 2011), pp. 169-187.

"All Turbulent on the Home Front: Unfulfilled Working Mothers in Almudena Grandes´ Atlas de Geografía Humana", in Tiffany Trotman (ed.), The Changing Spanish Family: Essays on New Views in Literature, Theatre and Cinema (McFarland: North Carolina, 2011) pp. 40-58.

"Irish National Memory and Multiculturalism", in Oona Frawley (ed.), Memory Ireland: Explorations in Celtic Memory, Volume One: History and Modernity (Syracuse University Press: New York, 2011 ) pp. 207-217.

"For Whom the Dominant Memory Tolls: The Suppression and Re-Emergence of Republican Memory in Contemporary Spanish society", in Laura Rorato and Anna Saunders (eds.), The Essence and the Margin: National Identities and Collective Memories in Contemporary European Memory Culture (Rodopi: Amsterdam, 2009), pp. 119-135. 

"Nada más que un espejismo: la inquieta realidad de la modernidad española a través de los relatos La buena hija de Almudena Grandes y La hija predilecta de Soledad Puértolas", in Cinta Ramblado (ed.), Construcciones culturales de la maternidad en España. La madre y la relación madre-hija en la literatura y el cine contemporáneos (Editorial Universidad de Alicante: Alicante, 2006) pp. 45-63. 

"A Case Apart: The Evolution of Spanish Feminism", in Rebecca Phelan (ed.), Feminisms Within and Without (Women’s Studies Centre, University College Galway, 2006), pp. 56-68.

"The Aberration that Dare not Speak its Name: The Unloving Mother-Daughter Relationship in Esther Tusquet’s Carta a la Madre", in Nuala Finnegan and Martin Veiga (eds.), Reading Spanish and Latin American Literatures: New Directions in Research (Department of Hispanic Studies: University College Cork, 2006), pp. 62-74. 

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