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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)


The list below shows Durham University research staff who are members of IMEMS. Click the member's name to see a more detailed biography and department.

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Publication details for Professor Andrew Beresford

Beresford, Andrew M. (2015). Postcolonial Theory and the Traditional Castilian Lyric: The Morenita as Epidermal Stereotype. Hispanic Research Journal 16(6): 471-488.

Author(s) from Durham


his article is the revised text of the twenty-fifth Kate Elder Lecture, delivered at Queen Mary University of London, on 27 March 2014. This lecture series com-memorates the life of Kate Elder, who died while a student at Westfield College, and is generously funded by her family.

Discussions of the morenita, whose white skin turns almost black as a result of exposure to the searing heat of the sun, have traditionally been dominated by factors intrinsic to her status. This paper, which examines her legacy in the light of postcolonial theory, offers a series of fresh interpretations of the corpus of morenita lyrics, focusing on the epidermalization of identity and the complex relationship between mimicry and menace. It argues that, while the traditional Castilian lyric stands to benefit from an engagement with theory, theoretical explorations of phenotypic identity also have much to learn from an appreciation of the morenita’s peculiar ontological ambivalence.