Vollendorf, Lisa 1969-

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Vollendorf, Lisa 1969-


Born February 2, 1969. Education: University of Pennsylvania, Ph.D.


Office—California State University, Long Beach, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840. E-mail—[email protected]


Academic. Miami University, Oxford, OH, visiting assistant professor, 1995-97; Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, assistant professor, then associate professor of romance languages, beginning 1997; California State University, Long Beach, associate professor, then professor of Spanish and chair of the department of Romance, German, Russian languages and literatures, 2008—. Recipient of numerous fellowships, including from the Newberry Library, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the Huntington Library. Visiting assistant professor at Miami University, Oxford, OH.


(Editor) Recovering Spain's Feminist Tradition, Modern Language Association of America (New York, NY), 2001.

Reclaiming the Body: María De Zayas's Early Modern Feminism, University of North Carolina Department of Romance Languages (Chapel Hill, NC), 2001.

(Editor) Literatura y Feminismo en España, S. XV-XXI, Icaria Editorial (Barcelona, Spain), 2005.

The Lives of Women: A New History of Inquisitional Spain, Vanderbilt University Press (Nashville, TN), 2005.


Lisa Vollendorf is an academic. Born on February 2, 1969, she completed her higher education studies by earning a Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania. She began working at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as a visiting assistant professor, then accepted a tenure-track position at Wayne State University in 1997. Vollendorf later became an associate professor of Spanish at California State University, Long Beach. She has held fellowships at the Newberry Library, the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library of the University of California, and the Huntington Library.

In 2001 Vollendorf published her first two books, including Reclaiming the Body: María De Zayas's Early Modern Feminism. She also edited Recovering Spain's Feminist Tradition. The book analyzes the Spanish feminist consciousness across a range of topics, genres, and periods of time. This does not include, however, any Basque writers and a limited amount of other minority language writers due to a lack of space. The book is divided into three sections based on time periods, with the smallest section covering the fifteenth to seventeenth centuries, and the largest on the twentieth century. Themes covered in the book include the problems of taxonomy, the battle for intellectual freedom within the limitations of living in a patriarchal society, the use of education to fight against misogyny and restrictive cultural paradigms, women's friendship, solidarity, and self-worth, the cultural aspects of gender difference in Spain, and the plurality of feminisms developed in Spain.

Vanessa Knights, reviewing the book in the Modern Language Review, remarked that "despite the limitations sketched above, overall this is a strong collection of well-written essays by feminist critics that makes a significant contribution to the study of Hispanic women's writing and feminist scholarship in general. It will be a useful study tool for both undergraduates and graduates, as well as scholars in the field."

In 2005 Vollendorf edited Literatura y Feminismo en España, S. XV-XXI. She also published The Lives of Women: A New History of Inquisitional Spain that same year. The book looks into the different experiences of being female in Spain's early modern period, ranging from 1580 to 1700. The book includes a wide range of women, diversifying the experiences they would have recorded in the archives Vollendorf drew from, including hermaphrodites, widows cum nuns, prophets, so-called witches, and a converso immigrant.

Barbara F. Weissberger, writing in Biography, commented that "what is necessary is a redefinition of the concept of women's education that would include both formal and informal mechanisms of educating and supporting themselves and each other. Only by expanding our focus in this way, and paying closer attention to the many extant texts of moral instruction written by women—advice and behavior manuals, religious instruction treatises, and social and political critiques, among others—can we grasp the complete history of women's contributions. Her book presents both an invigorating model of this new kind of history and a clear road map for future scholarship."

Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt, writing in Clio, stated that "a book such as this will raise questions among readers about the choice and relative exemplarity of the case studies that Vollendorf chooses to pursue. While that debate has its merits, I would also highlight the fact that Vollendorf has brought to light women who have not received much scholarly attention." Lehfeldt observed that The Lives of Women "opens an interesting dialogue between scholars of history and literature. While her own training and perspective lean more heavily towards a literary methodology, she has posed some questions that historians would do well to listen to." Lehfeldt concluded that "Vollendorf's book is a significant contribution. The Lives of Women is an important piece of scholarship that deserves a readership among scholars of Spanish history, European women's history, and even those interested more broadly in the study of women's education and networks."

Helen Rawlings, reviewing the book in the Historian, noted that the book formulates "an important contribution to our understanding of women's experiences in early modern Spain and invites us to look afresh at the dominant culture's attempt to define, limit, and contain femininity. It will be of interest to scholars of the social and religious history of Spain, as well as opening new frontiers in Hispanic women's studies." Allyson M. Poska, writing in the Journal of the History of Sexuality, said that "Vollendorf reserves her best work for last. Her chapter on women's education has important implications," adding that "although Vollendorf does not provide any concrete ideas about the broader societal impact of female networks, she has given scholars much food for thought." Poska concluded that the author "has taken a scholarly risk, and the result is an important contribution to both the study of early modern women's history and the study of early modern Spain. By encouraging scholars to move beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries, she also has set the stage for much exciting research."



American Historical Review, June 1, 2006, Andrew Keitt, review of The Lives of Women: A New History of Inquisitional Spain, p. 908.

Biography, spring, 2006, Barbara F. Weissberger, review of The Lives of Women, p. 357.

Choice: Current Reviews for Academic Libraries, October 1, 2002, K. Kennelly, review of Recovering Spain's Feminist Tradition, p. 285; May 1, 2006, A. Rabil, review of The Lives of Women, p. 1670.

Clio, fall, 2006, Elizabeth A. Lehfeldt, review of The Lives of Women, p. 118.

Historian, spring, 2007, Helen Rawlings, review of The Lives of Women, p. 175.

Journal of the History of Sexuality, May 1, 2007, Allyson M. Poska, review of The Lives of Women, p. 340.

Modern Language Review, April 1, 2004, Vanessa Knights, review of Recovering Spain's Feminist Tradition, p. 517.

Reference & Research Book News, November 1, 2005, review of The Lives of Women.

Sixteenth Century Journal, fall, 2002, Lisa McClain, review of Reclaiming the Body: María De Zaya's Early Modern Feminism, p. 913.


California State University, Long Beach, Spanish Department Web site,http://www.csulb.edu/ (August 8, 2008), author profile.

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