New Spanish professor joins the faculty

Sewanee's new Spanish professorBy Alysse Schultheis


Photo courtesy of

Next semester will bring many new faces to the Sewanee community; among them is Dr. Lisa Burner, who will join the Spanish Department. Completing her undergraduate degree at Colby College, a small liberal arts school in Maine, Burner double majored in International Studies and Latin American Studies. She also studied abroad for six months in Santiago, Chile, “which was an amazing, life-changing experience.” Immediately following graduation, Burner moved to Washington, DC, where she worked for a nonprofit called Food & Water Watch. She conducted research and policy analysis on environmental and human health issues related to fish farming and agriculture. However, Burner soon decided to go to graduate school at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign where she received her MA and PhD.

Burner specializes in Latin American literatures and cultures, especially Chile and Peru, but she is also interested in “how literature gives us insight into how people have though and felt about economic and environmental issues.” Burner’s current research project focuses on how novels, short stories, and legends made sense of economic booms, based on the export of guano and nitrates in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, in Chile and Peru. Looking forward to the next semester, Burner is “very excited to start teaching at Sewanee.” The small class sizes and increased ability to have a lot of class discussion are things Burner is especially looking forward to. This fall, Burner will be teaching a course that includes texts about the Spanish conquest of the Americas and how they continue to shape the ways in which we think about the region, to this day. In the future, Burner would also like to teach Latin American Literature and the Environment. As a professor, Burner aims to provide students with historical and cultural knowledge through which they can assess current issues of importance in Latin America and the United States. Having lived in east-central Illinois, a particularly flat and agricultural region, Burner is “looking forward to spending a lot of time outside at Sewanee to explore the mountain’s natural beauty.” Burner also loves theater, music, and dance, so she will definitely become a regular at student performances during her time at Sewanee. Welcome to the mountain, YSR!