Monday, February 26, 2018 - 12 pm


Over twenty years ago, scholars researching the condition of male subjectivity in the age of Shakespeare posited that one of the ever-present and overwhelming conditions of being male in Early Modern England was anxiety. (Breitenberg) More recently, social psychologists have developed a theory of “precarious manhood” in which the status of being a man produces anxiety because it is both “elusive and tenuous.” (Vandello et. al.)  This talk will explore the connections and differences between historical and current versions of masculine anxiety and its effects. Has masculinity changed, and can we imagine an alternate form of masculinity free from anxiety?



Wendell Smith, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Spanish, Wilson College

An Associate Professor of Spanish, Wendell P. Smith received his undergraduate degree in Spanish and English from Vanderbilt University, and his Ph.D. in Spanish Literature from the University of Texas at Austin. His primary research focus is on chivalry in Medieval and Early Modern Spain. His expertise is on one the most famous Arthurian narratives that Don Quijote imitated when he went crazy: Amadís de Gaula (1508). His dissertation explored the politics of knights rescuing damsels in Amadís during the queenship of Isabel of Castile (1474-1504). Subsequently, he has published articles in such journals as La corónica, Revista de estudios hispánicos, and Cervantes on chivalric literature as a motor for exploration and conquest, on the gender debate in fifteenth-century Castile, on cosmography in the Enchanted Boat chapter of Don Quijote, and the meanings of knighthood and chivalric romance in Cervantes’s novella “La Gitanilla.” Current scholarly projects include an examination of definitions of disease in Calderón de la Barca’s honor plays, and an essay on the division between animals and humans in the late fifteenth-century cosmography of Diego de Valera.

Dr. Smith came to academia after a brief career working as a journalist for national magazines such as Harper’s, Rolling Stone, and Spy. He is also a trained Spanish/English medical interpreter, and uses that knowledge to teach a service learning course in Medical Spanish. His current hobbies include ballroom dancing, backpacking, gardening, trail running, and training his Australian Shepherd, Mia. He spends summers in Denmark with his Danish wife, Marie.