Associate Professor of Spanish & Chair of IECA

ASB 265
219.464.5102
debra.ames@valpo.edu

Education

  • Ph.D. University of Virginia
  • M.A. University of Virginia
  • A.B. College of the Holy Cross

Biography

Professor Ames grew up on the East Coast and has lived in Valparaiso and taught at the University since 1987. She has traveled to Spain, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica and recently went to Chile to visit the memorial sites honoring those detained/disappeared under the Pinochet dictatorship. She looks forward to exploring more of the Spanish speaking world in the coming years.

Contributions

Publications:

A Critical, Annotated Edition of Lope de Vega’s La quinta de Florencia. Kassel: Edition Reichenberger, 1996.

“Love Melancholy in La quinta de Florencia.” Bulletin of the Comediantes 44:1 (1992): 45-58.

La quinta de Florencia:  Lope’s Debt to Belleforest.” Hispanófila 98 (1989): 1-16.

“‘Sacred and Profane Love’:  Venus Figures in Lope de Vega’s comedia.” Cincinnati Romance Review 8 (1989): 78-85.

“Phaethon’s Second Fall:  Lope’s Burlesque Treatment of the Myth in La villana de Getafe.” Romance Languages Annual 1 (1989): 360-65.

“El espejismo pampeano y literario en el Santos Vega de Rafael Obligado.” Rimas y palabras (1981): 71-90.

“The Rejection and Assimilation of Roman Culture in Hispania During the Fourth and Fifth Centuries” (a translation of an article by José M. Blázquez); Classical Folia: Studies in the Christian Perpetuation of the Classics 32:2 (1978): 217-42.

Conference Papers:

“The Silent Sorrow of the Invisible Mother in Carmen Martín Gaite’s Lo que queda enterrado” at the April 2016 Southeast Coastal Conference in Savannah, Georgia

“Same Moon, Different Approaches: Strategies for Teaching La misma luna” at the Indiana Foreign Languages Teachers Association conference, Indianapolis Indiana, November 2015

“Bridging the Gap from Language to Content Courses” at the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese conference, Denver Colorado, July 2015

“Looking at Life through Mirrors and Windows: Ana Maria Matute’s Demonios familiares”  at the Southeast Coastal Conference in Savannah, Georgia, March 2015

“Language, Literature, Culture:  Approaches to Teaching La casa en Mango Street” at the IFLTA (Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association conference, November 2014)

“Viva la poesía: Poetry in Class and beyond” at the AATSP convention (American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese) in Panama City, Panama, July 2014

“Urrutia’s Retrato de familia: The Tip of the Chilean Iceberg,” delivered at the Southeast Coastal Conference on Languages and Literatures (March 26-28, 2014)

“¡Viva la poesía! Poetry in the Classroom and Beyond” at the 2013 Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association

Review of Junot Diaz’s This is How You Lose Her, given at VU as part of its university-community series, Books and Coffee (Jan 2013)

“Life and Death on the Border: Testimony and Tribute” (AATSP Conference, San Juan Puerto Rico, 2012)

“Reading Isabel Allende’s Si tocaras el corazón as Political Allegory” (AATSP Conference, San Juan Puerto Rico, 2012)

“The perfecta casada Gone Monstrously Wrong: Isabel Allende’s ‘Si me tocaras el corazón’” (AATSP Conference, Albuquerque, NM, 2008)

“Prisons—Literal, Figurative and Supernatural—in Beatriz Guido’s La mano en la trampa” (Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 2006)

“Portrait of an Anti-Mother in Cecilia Urrutia’s Retrato de familia (Midwest Modern Language Association, 2003)

“The lady doth protest….differently, methinks: Social Protest by Women in the Spanish-speaking World”, VU Women’s Conference, 2000.

“Gutiérrez Nájera’s “La mañana de San Juan”: A Feminist Rereading”, Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 1997.

“Seduction and Sedition: Rape in La quinta de Florencia” (Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 1995)

“Love Melancholy in Lope’s La quinta de Florencia” (Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 1991)

“The Notion of Love Melancholy and Madness in the Renaissance.” (presentation on  campus, 1991)

“Tragedy Foretold:  The Myths of Icarus and Phaethon in Lope’s El castigo sin venganza” (Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, 1989)

“Phaethon’s Second Fall:  Lope’s Burlesque Treatment of the Myth in La villana de Getafe” (Purdue University Conference on Romance Languages, Literatures, Linguistics and Cinema, 1989)

“The Metamorphoses Metamorphosed: Spanish Writers’ Views of Classical Tales” (presentation on campus, 1989)

“‘Sacred and Profane Love’:  Venus Figures in Lope de Vega’s Comedia,”  (the Conference on Romance Languages & Literatures at the University of Cincinnati, 1988)

Courses Taught

  • Spanish Grammar for Reading
  • First Semester Spanish
  • Second Semester Spanish
  • Spanish for High Beginner
  • Intermediate Spanish
  • Spanish Composition and Conversation
  • Advanced Grammar and Composition
  • Advanced Oral Expression
  • Spanish Language and Culture through Film
  • Taller de Escritores, Writing about Literature and Film
  • Human Rights Literature of Latin America (in Spanish)
  • Human Rights Literature of Latin America (in English, on-line, developed but not offered)
  • Selected Readings in Hispanic Literature
  • Survey of Spanish Literature
  • Independent Study (Golden Age poetry)
  • Freshman Seminar (Looking at Love)
  • Spanish Culture/Literature (1700 onward)
  • Spanish Civilization
  • Senior Seminar: Portrayal of Women in Hispanic Literature
  • International Economics and Cultural Affairs Senior Seminars on:
  • The Challenges of Globalization
  • Rights and Wrongs
  • Security: Human, Global, Environmental, Economic
  • Challenges and Opportunities of Human Mobility
  • Human Rights

Memberships

  • American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese
  • Indiana Foreign Language Teachers Association

Recognitions

Grants Received:

  • Council of Independent Colleges (2013, grant received from CIC to participate in the Information Fluency in the Disciplines: Workshop on Foreign Languages, Literatures, and Cultures in Charleston, SC)
  • Summer Research Grant, Valparaiso University, in 1989 and 1994
  • VU Alumni Association Faculty Fellowship, 1992
  • King Juan Carlos Fellowship, 1992 (to subsidize participation in the Quincentennial Summer Program for Spanish Teachers at the Universidad Complutense de Madrid)

VU Alumni Association Faculty Development Grant (to  attend the AATSP in Panama) 2014

Academic Honors:

  • Phi Beta Kappa
  • Phi Sigma Iota (Foreign Language Honor Society)
  • Sigma Delta Pi (Spanish Honor Society)
  • Alpha Sigma Nu (Jesuit Honor Society)
  • Philip Francis duPont Fellowship (1983)
  • Graduated summa cum laude, Honors Program

Awards:

  • Professor Ames was recognized as the 2016 College Teacher of the Year by the Indiana Chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese.

Interests

  • Literature under dictatorships
  • Women authors in Spain and Latin America
  • Chilean 20th-21st century history
  • Post dictatorship memory landscapes
  • Human rights literature and art
  • Teaching literature
  • Teaching composition in Spanish
  • Teaching Spanish language at all levels

Hobbies

Professor Ames is an avid runner, swimmer, cyclist and triathlete. A long time vegetarian, she enjoys cooking, gardening and devotes as much time as possible to volunteering at an area dog rescue organization.

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