Associate Professor of Spanish
Office: 1361 - Coleman Hall
ON LEAVE 2016-2017
Prof. Irene Jacobsen was born in Córdoba, Argentina to parents who loved to read. Her first exposure to a foreign language occurred in kindergarten (Spanish in the morning, German in the afternoon). At age 7½ she moved to Montréal, Canada, where her Father worked as a U.N. translator, thus bringing forth her second exposure to a foreign language, French. After graduation from secondary school, following the wise advice of her parents, she switched to the English school system and earned a B.A. in Sociology from McGill University (1989). Eventually she followed in her Mother's footsteps and decided to study Spanish and Latin American literature, which led to a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania (2002). In 2007 her linguistic odyssey came full circle when she married a native from Germany, an event that reignited her interest in German.
Every semester, Prof. Jacobsen teaches Elementary Spanish (FLS 1102) and Problems in Spanish Grammar (FLS 3000), as well as a third content course, on a rotating basis: Writing Through Literature (FLS 3010, a basic composition course); Survey of Early Spanish Literature (FLS 4510, medieval and early modern literature of Spain); Women in the Hispanic World (FLE 3025, in English, cross-listed with Women's Studies); and Cultural Perspectives on the Tango (Special Topics: FLS 4650).
Prof. Jacobsen's research interests coincide with the literature and culture courses she teaches. For a decade, inspired by the topic of her doctoral dissertation, her conference papers and articles focused on the issues faced by women writers, such as censorship of their work and the textual strategies they developed to avert clashes with (male) authorities. The past few years have seen a shift in the focus of her research toward the intersection of the picaresque novel (arguably Spain's most important original contribution to world literature, aside from the Quijote) with Tango lyrics (a subgenre of Argentine poetry). She is devoting her full attention to this new area of inquiry now.