Research - Prof. dr. E. Helena Houvenaghel

Exile & Migration and Myth & History Rewriting


Fenix: Network for Research on Female Exiles and Refugees

The 8th Fenix-congress (2022) zooms in on Jewish-Latin American writers and their search for identity. The Jewish-Latin American women authors on whose work the congress focuses, are daughters and granddaughters of European emigration. They are descendants of Jewish emigrants and exiles who had to leave their homeland at the end of the 19 th century or throughout the 20 th century as a result of conflict and persecution. Given that Jewish-Latin American writers live in a different place from the place where their roots are located, their works construct links between the new homeland and the homeland of their ancestors via the representation of routes, journeys and itineraries. The results of this congress are published in the Special Issue: Routes of Jewish Latin American Women Writers (1980-2020) toward a sense belonging/ Rutas de autoras judeo-latinoamericanas (1980-2020) hacia un sentido de pertenencia in the Journal América Sin Nombre (Open Access, Web of Science ESC). This Special Issue juxtaposes different itineraries constructed by Jewish-Latin American writers and aims at understanding the diversity and unity of these routes and journeys. The Special Issue focuses primarily on three dimensions of this diversity/unity: the spatial dimension (1), the temporal dimension (2), and the imaginative dimension (3). In what way(s) do the routes traced between the territories of the ancestors and the new host territories relate to the geopolitical map in which the boundaries of the nation-state predominate? How do the past and the present dialogue in these journeys towards a sense of belonging? How do reality and imagination interact in the depiction of the place of origin? These are the questions that guide our exploration.

The 7th Fenix encounter (2021), Teresa of Avila: Exploring the diverse paths of a polysemic model of femininity (1936-1986)/ Teresa de Avila: Rutas de un modelo polisémico de feminidad (1936-1986), explores the varied influences exerted by Teresa of Avila, during the Franco period and the transition, on Spanish women artists and intellectuals, both in Spain and in exile. The participating Fenix-members study Teresa de Avila’s ambivalent impact on female Spanish artists and thus contribute to the historicization of her significance as a spiritual guide for women. The outcome of this encounter is published in the Hispanic Research Journal (2022).
Hispanic Research Journal

The 6th Fenix encounter (2021), Networks and Routes of Spanish women in Argentinian exile/ Redes y Rutas de mujeres españolas en el exilio argentino (1939-1975), puts the spotlight on the networking strategies elaborated by Spanish women exiles in Argentina. The participating Fenix-members analyze the cross-border contacts, networks, and routes developed by the first generation of Spanish women exiles in Argentina. The results of this fourth Fenix encounter are published in the journal Anales de Literatura Hispanoamericana (2022). For more information, see Argentina.
Anales de Literatura Hispanoamericana

The 5th Fenix encounter (2020) reflects on the ethics of exile literature and gives a central place to the concept of “nonconformism”. As a case study, this meeting focuses on the transgression of the established norms in second generation exile Angelina Muñiz Huberman’s oeuvre. The results of this encounter are published in the Dossier Angelina Muñiz Huberman: A nonconformist voice, in the Journal INTI Revista de Literatura Hispánica y Transatlántica, N° 93-94, Spring-Autumn 2021)
Angelina Muñiz Huberman (1936 - today): A nonconformist voice

The fourth Fenix- congres (2019) highlights the experiences of Spanish women refugees during transit in France in the 1930s and 40s. The reflection revolves around the concepts of ‘Agency’ and ‘Transnationalism’. The results of this encounter are published in the Special Issue The female face of refugee transit: Spanish Women Refugees in France (1936 - 1945) in Impossibilia. Revista Internacional de Estudios Literarios (N° 20, 2020). For more information, see Transit.
Spanish refugee women in transit in France

The third Fenix-Congress (2018), Spanish Exile and Italian Immigration in Argentina (1930-1976): Gender, Politics, and Culture reflects on women refugees’ and migrants’ experiences in Argentina. This third Fenix congress aims at gendering the image of Spanish exile and Italian migration in Argentina. The results of this first congress are published as a series of 4 Special Issues in the Journal Romance Studies (2020-2021, 38.2, 38.3, 38.4 and 39.1). For more information, see Argentina.

Gender (part 1)
Gender (part 2)
Politics & Culture
Theatre & TV Drama

The second Fenix-Congress (2016), Escritoras españolas en el exilio mexicano: una perspectiva transgeneracional adopts a transgenerational and gendered perspective on the Spanish exile in Mexico. The Fenix-members who participate in this congress discuss and compare the strategies used by first generation exiles to reconstruct their identity in between two home countries with the strategies used by the second generation of women exiles, the “daughters” of the exile, to define their transnational identities.
Escritoras españolas en el exilio mexicano

The first Fenix-Congress (2015), Writing the Hybrid self: the daughters of the Spanish exile (1975 - 2015), focuses on Spanish women in Latin American exile of the second generation who express their hybrid selves, in between different homelands, via hybrid writing. Their texts question the borders of identity by crossing and re-crossing borders between literary genres. The result of this first Fenix-collaboration is the Special Issue Escribir en Nepantla (Anales de Literatura Hispanoamericana, vol. 44, 2015), which examines hybridity and its meaning in Angelina Muñiz-Huberman’s work.
Escribir en Nepantla: la prosa sin fronteras de Angelina Muñiz, hija del exilio republicano