Dr Lorraine Ryan

Photograph of Dr Lorraine Ryan

Department of Modern Languages
Lecturer in Hispanic Studies

Contact details

Room 208
Ashley Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Dr Lorraine Ryan is an award-winning international researcher in the fields of Spanish literature, memory studies, and gender. She has been a visiting fellow to the IMLR (Institute of Modern Languages Research Institute) in the University of London (2014-2015),  and the Georg Eckert Institute for School Textbook Research in Leipzig (2015-16). Dr. Ryan has published extensively on collective and cultural memory in Spain, Spanish women´s writing and masculinity. She has recently published a monograph on  the leading Spanish writer, Almudena Grandes, which analyses gender and perpetrator memory within her work. As such, it is a major contribution to not only the study of Spain´s foremost women´s writer, but also perpetrator memory in Spain. She is currently researching "alternative masculinities" in Contemporary Spanish culture. 

She has won the USA´s most prestigious prizes in Modern Languages: In 2013, she  was awarded the prestigious AATSP's (American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese) 'Outstanding Scholarly Publication Award' , and in 2019, she was awarded second prize in the Annual Adela Zamudio Competition for Best Published article, organised by Feministas Unidas. On both occasions, she was the first academic outside of the USA to be so honoured. She is currently the director of postgraduate research for the department of Modern Languages.

Ryan is also a member of the steering committee for the Centre for Women´s Writing in London in the Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of London and in this capacity, she serves on the editorial board of Peter Lang´s Studies on Contemporary Women´s Writing Series. She also serves as external examiner for Spanish in Kings College London. Currently, she is a member of Dr. Katherine Murphy´s project, Reading Bodies in European Culture, based in the University of Exeter. 

For more information, please see: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-8732-3811


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


Dr. Ryan has ample experience in attracting students to modules. She designed, convened and taught the following modules.

  • A Time of Change: Collective and Cultural Memory in Contemporary Spain (Year 4)    
  • Children and Teenagers in Spanish Literature (Year 4)
  • Gender Debates in Contemporary Spain (Year 4)
  • Post-millennial Spanish Culture (Year 2)
  • Between the National and the Global: Spanish Peninsular History, 1936 to the Present Day.

She also contributes to the core Hispanic studies programme on sections relating to memory and immigration

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 supervises the following doctoral students:

  • Niven Whatley (Lead Supervisor
  • Virginia Maguia (Lead Supervisor)
  • Denis Reddington (co-supervisor)
  • Ascenett Martínez López (Lead Supervisor).

Find out more - our PhD Hispanic Studies  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Dr Ryan has recently completed a monograph on the critically neglected theme of memory and spatiality in Contemporary Spanish narrative. This monograph initiated the spatial turn in Spanish memory studies. She has completed a monograph on the postmillennial novels of the Spanish writer, Almudena Grandes. She is currently researching "alternative masculinities" in Contemporary Spanish culture. 

Other activities

  • Editorial Board Member of the online, fully-refereed journal, Memoria y Narración, University of Oslo.
  • Advisory Board Member on the project, Translating the Civil War, Dublin City University. 
  • Reviewer for the leading journals in the field, such as Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Modern Language Review, Hispania, Modern Languages Open, and Revista Canadiense de estudios hispánicos. 

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
  • Member of Professor Katherine Murphy's  AHRC project. "Narrative of Illness in European Culture
  • Member of the steering committee for the Centre for Contemporary Women´s Writing. Institute of Languages, Cultures and Societies, University of London


Single-authored monograph

  • Gender and Memory in the Postmillennial Novels of Almudena Grandes. Routledge. 2021. 
  • Memory and Spatiality in Post-Millennial Spanish Narrative. Burlington, VT: Ashgate New Hispanisms. 2014. Paperback Edition 2016. 

Dr Ryan's monograph on memory and spatiality has been extensively praised on both sides of the Atlantic:

"Written in an elegant prose, typical of Ryan’s scholarship, this work explores a new area of scholarship that has until now remained ignored. The volume draws upon memory and spatial studies to inform the close readings of the texts and carefully considers Foucault’s work on heterotopias. One of the strengths of the collection is the historical information which enriches the perspicuous textual analysis. This work will serve not only literary scholars devoted to memory studies, urban studies, and contemporary peninsular studies, but also a wider audience." Hispánofila 2020.

"Memory and Spatiality in Postmillennial Spanish Narrative is a very valuable contribution in which Ryan constructs a sustained meditation on the great significance of spatiality in the act of recollection. Through an incisive critical eye, a deep knowledge of memory theory and fastidious attention to the vicissitudes of Spanish history and its polemics in the new millennium, Ryan’s work is an important reference point for those interested in the field of memory studies in contemporary Spain." Bulletin of Spanish Studies. 

"Lorraine Ryan’s Memory and Spatiality in Post-Millenial Spanish Narrative offers a novel approach to memory studies.  Ryan’s monograph makes a valuable and original contribution to the burgeoning field of memory studies. Her focus on space, her concern with authorial motivation, her deft use of a range of conceptual frameworks, and her detailed contextualization make it essential reading for those working on memory studies in Spain. Bulletin of Hispanic Studies. 
Ryan does an excellent job of exploring the approach contemporary writers have taken to Republicanism in order to reclaim a political position which had been silenced for many years…Overall, the book is an informative and penetrating analysis of Republican memory after the Civil war."  British Society for Literature and Science. 

"What is primarily new and important about this study is the commingling of memory and space in the context of memory studies in Spain. Ryan argues persuasively for the necessary integration of the temporal and the spatial and illustrates her point through the close reading of seven different narrative texts. Ryan is sophisticated theoretically, is an excellent reader-and it shows throughout her work."  David Herzberger, University of California, Riverside, USA. 

Edited books

  • The Dynamics of Masculinity in Contemporary Spanish Culture (co-ed with Professor Ana Corbalán, University of Alabama). Routledge. 2017.

Reviewed by Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 2019:

"The editors, Ryan and Corbalán, are to be commended on producing a coherent, strongly theoretically-grounded compilation of essays that provides a solid background to a relatively new field in Spanish Gender and Cultural Studies. In this respect, this collection makes a valuable contribution to our discipline and is essential reading for scholars of Spanish culture."

Articles in peer reviewed journals

  • The Male Return to the Countryside in Spanish Culture. Bulletin of Spanish Studies (2024): 1-28. Online First. 
  • Ryan, Lorraine. "Maternal Identities and Abject Equivalence in Biutiful." MLN 133.2 (2018): 388-410. 
  • Writing the Ineffable: Postwar Female Employment and Domestic Violence in Carmen Laforet’s Nada. Forum for Modern Language Studies. 53:4 (2017): 463-482. 
  • Memory, Transnational Justice, and Recession in Contemporary Spain. European Review, 25:2 (2017); 295-306. 
  • The Formation of Neoliberal Spanish Womanhood in Lucia Etxebarría’s Beatriz y los cuerpos celestes. Romance Studies, 2016, 34.1: 26-42.
  • Motherhood, Clothing and Class in Almudena Grandes’ Los aires difíciles. Bulletin of Spanish Studies 95.1 (2018): 113-131.
  • The Economic Degeneration of Masculinity in Rafael Chirbes’s En la orilla. Romance Quarterly 62:2 (2015): 83-96.
  • 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.

  • Ryan, Lorraine and Ana Corbalán. Introduction.  In: Lorraine Ryan and Ana Corbalán (eds), The Dynamics of Masculinity in Contemporary Spanish Culture. Routledge.
  • "Memory and Masculinity in Almudena Grandes's el corazón helado", In: Lorraine Ryan and Ana Corbálan´(eds.), The Dynamics of Masculinity in Contemporary Spanish Culture. (Forthcoming).
  • "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.
  • "Multiculturalization and Irish National Memory", 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 relaciónmadre-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 Pelan (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. 

Book Reviews (over 1000 words)

  • González-Allende, I. (2018). Hombres en Movimiento: Masculinidades Españolas En Los Exilios Y Emigraciones, 1939-1999 (Vol. 74). Purdue Studies in Romance Literature. Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures (Forthcoming).
  • Kenny, Nuala. The Novels of Josefina Aldecoa: Women, Society and Cultural Memory in Contemporary Spain. Tamesis. Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 2014.  
  • Rocha, Carolina, and Georgia Seminet (eds.). Representing History, Class, and Gender in Spain and Latin America: Children and Adolescents in Film. Palgrave Macmillan. Bulletin of Spanish Studies. Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 2015. 
  • Swier,, Patricia L. and Julia Riordan Goncalves (eds), Dictatorships in the Hispanic World: Transatlantic and Transnational Perspectives. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press. Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 2016. 
  • Wright, Sarah. The Child in Spanish Film. Manchester University Press. Bulletin of Spanish Visual Studies. 2018
  • Leggott, Sarah. Memory, War, and Dictatorship in Recent Spanish Fiction by Women. Bucknell University Press, . Bulletin of Spanish Studies, 2018. 
  • Hartson, Mary T. Casting Masculinity in Spanish Cinema. Hispanófila. June 2018.

View all publications in research portal