Maria DiFrancesco

Professor and Exploratory Director, World Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
Phone: 607-274-3547
Office: Muller Faculty Center 411, Ithaca, NY 14850
Speciality: Contemporary Spanish Literature; Exile; Migration in Spanish Literature and Culture


  • Ph.D. and M.A., University of Buffalo, Spanish
  • B.A., Canisius College, Spanish and English

I joined the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Ithaca College in Fall 2003 after working at the University of Utah as a Visiting Assistant Professor. I hold a Ph.D.from the University at Buffalo, where I specialized in 20th and 21st Century Spanish Peninsular Literature. 

Research Interests

As a Peninsularist, I am particularly interested in post-Franco Spain--the period after the dictatorship--and have written a number of articles, chapters and a book focusing on women's gender roles within this period (Feminine Agency and Transgression in Post-Franco Spain). Since 2008, I have more closely aligned my research and teaching on issues of human migration as portrayed in Spanish literature, film and other popular media. In the last year, I have completed a co-edited volume with Professor Debra Ochoa (Trinity University, San Antonio, TX) entitled Gender in Spanish Urban Spaces: Literary and Visual Narratives of the New Millennium. My next planned monograph will be related to the co-edited volume, but it will focus on literature and film from the 20th and 21st Century.


My teaching interests range from elementary Spanish grammar and composition to contemporary Spanish literature and film. My approach to teaching is student-centered, and I believe that my calling as a teacher is focused on individual needs. For this reason, I am very fortunate because our department's classes are often small, which means I can get to know students as people. As a feminist and scholar interested in Women and Gender Studies, I'm dedicated to bringing an intersectional approach to all my classes, whether that be having discussions about preferred pronoun usage in elementary Spanish classes or thinking about how citizenship status, ethnicity or religious beliefs shape one's interpretation--or writing--of a text.

Inside and outside the classroom, I have a burgeoning interest in the digital humanities and, over the last two years, I have been working on developing some digital story-telling and digital media projects with students. 

Selected Publications:


  • Gender in Spanish Urban Spaces: Literary and Visual Narratives of the New Millennium. Palgrave-Macmillan. Co-edited with Debra Ochoa (Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas). Forthcoming. Expected Spring 2017.
  • Feminine Agency and Transgression in Post-Franco Spain: Generational Becoming in the Narratives of Carme Riera, Cristina Fernández Cubas and Mercedes Abad. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta—Hispanic Monographs, 2008.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Muslim Masculinities in Najat El Hachmi’s El último patriarca.” The Dynamics of Masculinity in Contemporary Spanish Culture, Eds. Ana Corbalán (University of AlabamaTuscaloosa) and Lorraine Ryan (University of Birmingham, England, UK). In press, with Ashgate (expected fall 2016).
  • “Facing the Specter of Immigration in Biutiful.” Symposium: A Quarterly Journal in Modern Literatures 69.1 (2015): 25-37.
  •  “Trafficking in Cultural Narratives, or Self and Other in Nieves García Benito’s Por la vía de Tarifa.” Arizona Journal of Hispanic Cultural Studies 18 (2014): 101-114.
  • “Transcending a Watery Border: Unsettled Bodies and In-Between Subjects in Por la vía de Tarifa.” Hispanic Women Writers in the 21st Century: Shaping Gender, the Environment, and Global Politics, Eds. Francisca López and Estrella Cibreiro. NY: Routledge, 2013. 194-207. Print.
  • “Immigration, Exile and Trauma: Working-Through Arrested Moments in Beth Escudé i Gallès's Memoria fotográfica and Itziar Pascual's Varadas.” Letras Femeninas 37.1 (Summer 2011): 155-168.


Professionally speaking, I value taking leadership positions within organizations specific to my discipline because these organizations have had significant impacts on my life and in my development as a teacher-scholar. I also believe that, through these organizations, I can continue to advocate for the teaching of foreign languages and literatures at all levels, from elementary school to post-secondary school. I am most dedicated to the Asociación Internacional de Literatura y Cultura Femenina Hispánica (of which I have been, in the past, Secretary) and the Northeast Modern Languages Association (of which I am currently Vice-President). I welcome challenges and I always look forward to collaborating with others, particularly if that means building a better world for all of us to live in peace.