Erin Cowling

Assistant Professor, Spanish
Assistant Professor, Humanities
Discipline Advisor/Coordinator, Spanish

PhD (John Hopkins)

7-352F, City Centre Campus
10700 – 104 Avenue
Edmonton, AB


Dr. Cowling's current research interests lie in looking at the literature and culture of the past to understand their affects and influences today. She focuses on Early Modern Spanish Theatre (think Shakespeare, but in Spanish) and is constantly amazed at how the themes (love, honour, war, peace, family drama, etc) still resonate today. To this end, she is working on a project with several colleagues from around the world to discuss the ways in which social justice issues arise on the early modern stage and how modern adaptations can shed light on the social and political questions in the present.

Dr. Cowling is also interested in how Spain incorporated "New World" knowledge and culture into Spanish society. An undoubtedly brutal period, many Indigenous lives, cultures and information were lost, but some were deemed "worthy" or "important" enough to preserve. Chocolate was one such good that made the transatlantic leap, but it was not without controversy. Dr. Cowling is conducting research for a project that will discuss the various perspectives on chocolate from religious, medical and political points of view, while documenting the appearance of chocolate in the literature of the day.

Available to supervise senior students' independent study.

Sixteenth-century peninsular literature, early modern theatre, the Golden Age, Cervantes studies, gender studies, digital humanities

Teaching and Research Interests

In her classroom, Dr. Cowling wants to make sure that students are able to connect with the material in new and interesting ways. Sometimes, reading 400-year-old Spanish for the first time can be challenging, so she incorporates digital humanities activities that help students see what is important, what themes emerge through repetition and how these ideas connect across a text or a series of texts. 

Dr. Cowling is also intrigued by the way that performance and adaptation can affect our understanding of a text, from the perspectives of both spectator and performer. 

Selected Publications / Presentations / Conference Papers

Cowling, Erin. “Reimagining the Spanish Comedia in the Transmedia Age.”  Association of Hispanic Classical Theater, El Paso Symposium. El Paso, TX, 20-22 April 2017. Roundtable presenter.

Cowling, Erin. “The Transtemporal Frame: Entryway to Early Modern Spain.” American Society for Theatre Research. Minneapolis, MN, 3-6 November 2016. Conference paper.

Cowling, Erin. "Métodos cuantitativos, análisis cualitativo: El uso de la tecnología moderna en la enseñanza del corpus canónico.” CibVIII International Conference of the Asociación Hispánica de Humanidades. Universidad Carlos III, Madrid, Spain, 22-24 June 2016. Roundtable presenter, moderator and organizer.

Cowling, Erin. “Civilizing Violence, Violence Civilizing: Portrayals of Conqueror and Conquered.” IXQUIC: Revista hispánica internacional de análisis literario y cultural. 11: “La literatura de la violencia en el Mundo Hispano” December 2015, pp. 57-78.

Cowling, Erin. “‘Sois de diablos:’ Portraying Indigenous Female Characters on the Golden Age Stage.” Bulletin of the Comediantes. vol. 67, no. 2, 2015, pp. 131-156.


Awards / Grants / Fellowships

American Society for Theatre Research. Targeted Research Area Grant. Co-held with Dr. Tania de Miguel Magro (2016)

Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. Mini-Grant. Bring 21st-Century Digital/Technology-Based Teaching Methods to the Hampden-Sydney Classroom (2016)

Professional Associations / Memberships

American Society for Theatre Research

Association of Hispanic Classical Theatre

Modern Languages Association

Boards / Committees

MLA Assembly, Special Interest Delegate for Women in the Profession (2016-2019)

Scholarly Events Committee, Department of Humanities, MacEwan University (2017 to present)