Department of English
Rebecca Pawel is a native New Yorker and long-time hispanophile, who majored in Spanish language and literature as an undergraduate at Columbia. After a Masters in Teaching of English at Teachers College, and a long interval teaching both English and Spanish in public high schools in Brooklyn, she returned to Columbia so that she could keep teaching and get to do research as well. She has published several novels set in Spain. Her dissertation, which examines the ways Spain appears in the work of African American writers, was partly inspired by an interest in what other people find fascinating about a country that has always intrigued her too. It was also partly inspired by an interest in medievalism, and how debates about the “multicultural middle ages” remain politically and culturally relevant.
In September 2017 Rebecca had the opportunity to move to Madrid for a year as a Fulbright scholar. She spent her year in Spain doing archival research about African American writers there for her dissertation, and helping to mentor undergraduates studying abroad at the Madrid Complutense. She is currently teaching Literature Humanities. Rebecca loves talking about literature with undergraduates, and her favorite comment in the student evaluations of her Literature Humanities class was that “she encourages disagreement and debate [and] is also incredibly patient with students when they are struggling to articulate their thoughts.”
Publications: “‘Laura’ and the ‘Landlord’: Dorothy Peterson’s Fuenteovejuna.” ConSecuencias: A Journal of Spanish Criticism. October 2019