María J. García Otero joined the Department of Modern Languages and the Croft Institute for International Studies in the fall of 2019 as Croft Instructional Assistant Professor of Spanish and Co-Director of the Croft Spanish language program. She obtained her B.A. in English Philology from the Universidade de Santiago de Compostela in 2004, her M.A. in Hispanic Literature and Cultures in 2006, and her Ph.D. in Medieval and Early Modern Spanish Literature and Cultures in 2012 from the University of Kansas.
Her research interests include Medieval and Early Modern Iberian hagiography, Religious Iconography and Monasticism, and Medieval Castilian Geopolitical Hegemony. Dr. Otero teaches language and literature courses at the intermediate and advanced levels. Within the Croft Institute, she is focused on developing an oral proficiency curriculum guided by the ACTFL standards. Dr. Otero is a certified Full ACTFL Oral Proficiency Interview tester.
This course, which will fulfill the 500-level literature requirement for the Spanish major, will trace the emergence, workings and controversial historical legacies of one of Europe's most (in)famous legal and religious institutions, the Inquisition, with special focus on Early Modern Spain and its colonies in New Spain. Initially established in France in the late twelfth century to repress religious heterodoxy and affirm the Roman Catholic Church's spiritual authority, the Inquisition was soon to be introduced in Spain and its domains in response to the perceived threats posed by ‘New Christians’ (falsos conversos and judaizantes), and Protestants. In this class, we will study how the Holy Office worked to define, detect and eliminate "heresy", paying close attention to the Suprema’s often-contested relationship with other religious and political authorities. We will also analyze how Inquisitors responded to what familiares and other reporters/informers perceived as sorcery, witchcraft, alumbrismo, moral ‘deviance’, and purity of blood (pureza de sangre). The course will include a selection of literary as well as nonliterary sources, such as legal documents, testimonies, material culture, films, and documentaries.