STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Francesc Morales

Francesc Morales Gigi Marino

Francesc’s dissertation project offers an original blend of historical and literary analysis —within the broader framework of cultural studies — with the purpose of exploring the role played by fictional representations of archaeologists and archaeological work in the development of modern Spanish national identity. Spanish nationalism(s), either in singular or plural, is presently a highly debated topic in the context of Spain’s economic and political crisis as well as that of Europe’s identity crisis. In this regard, Francesc’s research promises to have an important impact in the field of Spanish studies and that of nationalism at large.

Francesc Morales was born in 1980 in Girona, a small city in Catalonia situated in the northeast corner of Spain, between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean. His parents had migrated from Andalusia in the 1970s, as had hundreds of thousands of others since the 1960s. As a consequence, Francesc grew up speaking Spanish at home and with relatives, while Catalan was the primary language at school and in the streets.

Francesc has always been curious. “Knowing stuff was very important to me,” he recalls … and he absorbed much of that “stuff” through reading a diverse array of works — Lazarillo de Tormes, The Hobbit (Catalan translation), Hungarian folk tales in Spanish, and so on — but also through movies and TV shows, especially British series that were translated into Catalan.

Francesc moved to Florida after spending two years between England and Algeria, where he had his first experience teaching Spanish as a foreign language. Francesc arrived in the United States in 2009 and was accepted into UF’s Spanish and Portuguese Studies Graduate Program in 2010. When he first entered the academic world, he found the traditional definitions of “literature,” especially those based on political, geographical, cultural, linguistic, and generic boundaries, to be somewhat restrictive. Instead, he prefers to think of “literature” as synonymous with “humanities,” or “visually represented knowledge.” Francesc thus pays special attention to the overlaps between literature and the social sciences, the natural sciences, and the visual arts.

This view has led to the interdisciplinary work that is his dissertation, which is titled “Translatio Imperii: Archeology and Nationalism in Spanish Fiction (1868–1935).” It combines almost all of his academic interests: archaeology, politics, biography, cultural history, literature, and philosophy. Francesc plans to graduate with his PhD in May of 2018.