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Christine Blackshaw Named Associate Director of Fellowships Office

Christine Blackshaw feature

The Office of Competitive Fellowships expanded this year with the addition of Christine Blackshaw, Ph.D., as associate director. During the first few months in her new position, Blackshaw, an associate professor of Spanish literature and culture, has enjoyed getting to know the Mount fellows through their various fellowship applications.

“Actually what’s really been rewarding is meeting these students at the beginning of their application process," she commented. "As they’re writing their personal statements, they’re really also learning who they are, and we make all these wonderful discoveries about them. We get to learn who they are and who they’re becoming. I really love that.”

The Office of Competitive Fellowships assists students and alumni of the Mount community with the application process for highly competitive and distinguished awards, such as the Fulbright, Marshall, Rhodes, Goldwater and Gates Cambridge Scholarships. Last year, Blackshaw coauthored an article with Saribel Morales-Rivera, C'18, about their research on El Escorial, “a monastery/palace/burial ground for all of the kings and queens in Spain.” Saribel is a Mount Fellows alumna, which is how Blackshaw initially got involved in the fellowship program. Blackshaw was among the professors who read Saribel’s statement for a fellowships application last year. She stated, “That was so cool to me because I had felt like I knew her really well and yet to read her narrative was to discover all these other things.” Now Blackshaw is able to have similar experiences by working with other Mount fellows.

Blackshaw's academic background is in 19th century Spain, but she has recently been studying 18th century and contemporary Spain as well. She mainly teaches 100 level language courses and several upper-level courses about Spain and the Spanish language.

Blackshaw became interested in the Spanish language and culture when she was 13 years old. One year into her journey of learning Spanish, a woman from Spain began working with her mother at a summer camp. Blackshaw practiced her Spanish, and the woman honed her English. Blackshaw especially noticed the woman's willingness and excitement to share the Spanish culture. “I kind of fell in love really because of this Spanish hospitality, especially considering the desire this woman demonstrated to share her culture with me. I became interested in certain aspects of Spanish history and culture, which is very different from our own,” she explained.

Nearing the end of her undergraduate experience at the University of Virginia, Blackshaw was not sure what was next for her. She decided to take a graduate level course about the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges. Through this course, Blackshaw realized that she enjoyed having conversations about Spanish language texts, so she decided to continue at UVA to earn her master’s and doctoral degrees. She studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain, and taught in Valencia for a summer. She was able to return to Spain to conduct doctoral research in Madrid’s National Library through the Program for Cultural Cooperation, now Hispanex. In the future, she would like to teach and study Spanish literature in England.

“My research currently is in historical myth in 18th through 21st-century discourse,” she explained. “What I mean by that is how shared beliefs about Spain’s past are disseminated through popular text but also historical text.” Her next anthology is about “history and myth in Spanish television and film.” Some of her favorite television shows include El Ministerio de Tiempo, Carlos, Las Chicas del Cable, Mar de Plástico and Isabel. She incorporates these shows into her classes.