Jessica Daves

Lecturer Of Spanish
New Cabell Hall 434
Office Hours:
Mondays, Wednesdays 12-1PM, or by previous appointment.


  • PhD, Spanish, University of Virginia (projected graduation, May 2019)
  • Master of Arts in Spanish, Auburn University (2013)
  • Bachelor of Science in Spanish Education, Auburn University (2011)


            While some critical works have been written acknowledging multilingualism in contemporary literature, most notably Evelyn Nien-Ming Ch’ien’s Weird English, much of the criticism written specifically about Hispanic literature written bilingually has been unfairly one-dimensional. At times, the use of both languages is ignored, or seen as a superfluous aesthetic choice, while at others, the use of Spanish is recognized without truly being analyzed.  Even when an author’s bilingual texts are recognized as such, the criticism tunnels its focus on a single work of a single author without examining the work in a larger context that acknowledges that each bilingual work, even by the same author, does not use its two languages to the same extent or with the same purpose.

            It is therefore the purpose of my dissertation to begin to fill this gap by examining three Caribbean-American authors and their bilingual works: Soledad and Let It Rain Coffee by Angie Cruz; La vida es un special, Raining Backwards, and En la Ocho y la Doce, by Roberto G. Fernández, and Language Duel/Duelo del lenguaje by Rosario Ferré. In so doing, I consider why each author, all of whom have also published monolingual works, chose to include both Spanish and English in the texts that I study. What is the discursive or sociolinguistic purpose of this bilingualism within the texts? Do the authors use their bilingualism in similar ways, or are their bilingual uses different?

            Furthermore, as each of the works that I study was published in the United States, it is not an absurd assumption that at least part of the audience is viewed to be English-speaking, perhaps even monolingually English-speaking. In addition to examining why these authors chose to write bilingually, and the effects of this bilingualism in their texts, I study the effect this bilingualism has on the audience of these texts. Is the bilingualism of each work sufficient to discourage or even alienate a monolingual English reader? If not, how much access does a monolingual English reader truly have to each specific text?

            While this critical study of the bilingualism of these three authors is only the beginning of the study of U.S. Latino writers who write bilingually, it provides one blueprint for how to begin studying works published in the U.S. and written in both Spanish and English. It acknowledges that bilingual works, just as bilingualism itself, exist on a spectrum, and encourages readers to cast a critical eye at why an author has chosen to incorporate more than one language into the text, and what each language accomplishes in a particular work. In this way, I hope this dissertation spurs future study of the bilingual nature of texts, and thus continues to encourage writers to take advantage of any or all of their personal languages so that Spanish continues to thrive within the U.S.


  • New College Requirements: Engagement Series, Engaging Differences
  • SPAN 1010-1020, Elementary Spanish  
  • SPAN 1060, Accelerated Elementary Spanish
  • SPAN 2010, Intermediate Spanish 1
  • SPAN 3300, Texts and Interpretations

Grants & Awards

  • Dean’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Academic Year 2018-19
  • Departmental Dissertation Fellowship, Academic Year 2017-18
  • Virginia Foundation for the Humanities South Atlantic Studies Fellowship, Spring 2016
  • Graduate Scholars Symposium Second Place Presenter (Humanities), April 2013
  • Graduate Scholars Symposium First Place Presenter (Humanities), April 2012


  • Virginia Humanities Conference, April 2017, Shenandoah University
    • “The Power of Words: Linguistic and National Rejection and Acceptance in Angie Cruz’s Soledad
  • MIFLC Conference, October 13-15, 2016, James Madison University
    • “La mania de la traducción: Consideraciones sobre la “traducción” en La traducción de Pablo de Santis y “Nota al pie” de Rodolfo Walsh”
  • Kentucky Foreign Language Conference, April 14-16, 2016, Lexington Kentucky
    • “¡Salud, oh Colón!”: The influence of Colón in Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo’s Viaje a la Habana
  • Auburn Research Week, April 2013
    • “Poetic Exploration across Lost Borders: Defining “New Latino Poetry” in The Wind Shifts
  • “Entre Nosotros” Faculty and Student Presentations in honor of visiting writer, Francisco Aragón, October 16, 2012
    • “Poetic Exploration across Lost Borders: Defining “New Latino Poetry” in The Wind Shifts
  • Auburn Research Week, April 2, 2012
    • “Two Crabs in the Same Shell: A phraseological comparison of Rosario Ferré’s ‘Language Duel’ poems”


  • Assist with Departmental Orientation for New GTAs, UVA, Summer 2014-16
    • Teach a short mini-lesson to new graduate students to model teaching, provide innovative ideas and open discussion for implementation of pedagogical strategies
  • Preceptor of 1010-1020, Elementary Spanish 1-2, UVA, 2014-2015
    • Work with and mentor 1010-1020 instructors to develop assessments for classes, work with department head to finalize syllabus, work with department head and other preceptors to make adjustments and suggestions for future growth of the Elementary and Intermediate Spanish courses, observe first year GTAs
  • Graduate Student Mentor, Auburn University, Fall 2012
    • Worked with non-teaching graduate student to demonstrate teaching ideas and implementation of appropriate lesson planning, assist with their teaching of mini-lessons throughout the semester, demonstrate and guide appropriate grading of compositions