Dr Paul Bowker

Paul Bowker


In 1982 Spain hosted the soccer World Cup and the short spinnets of local colour that were aired between matches and during the half-time breaks were my first exposure to Spain and Spanish culture. At that point, as an impressionable nine-year old growing up in small town New Zealand, my passion for the Spanish language and the cultures of Spain and Latin America was first sparked.

A decade later I began studying Spanish by correspondence, which I kept up for three years before leaving New Zealand to go and work in Britain from 1996 to 1999. From there I was able to fund several trips to Spain, where I travelled extensively, and the Canary Islands, where I taught English privately. Upon my return to New Zealand I studied Spanish and Latin American Studies at the University of Auckland.

I completed my PhD at Auckland in 2010, where I had also been teaching Spanish and tutoring in European Studies since 2004. During my doctorate I was fortunate to have been able to travel to Chile, Mexico and Colombia. I was also an active member of the Colombian Association of New Zealand between 2006 and 2010.

In 2011 I took up a fixed-term position as a lecturer in the Spanish Program at Victoria University of Wellington, where I taught Spanish language and culture, and a second-year unit on the Spanish and Latin American short story. There I also served on the School of Languages and Cultures’ Research Committee. I joined the Spanish and Latin American Studies Program at Monash in June, 2012.


  • 2010     PhD, The University of Auckland.
  • 2005     MA in Spanish with First-Class Honours, The University of Auckland
  • 2003     BA in Spanish with First-Class Honours, The University of Auckland.

Teaching Qualifications

  • 2005     Certificate in Language Teaching to Adults (CLTA), Auckland University of Technology.


Research Interests

My primary research interests are within the field of Transatlantic Studies, or the comparative analysis of Peninsular and Latin American literature from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, and the cultural flows between Spain and its former colonies. By focusing on issues relating to migration, cross-cultural contacts and transnational encounters, I am interested in the cultural and intellectual contact between Spain and Latin America and each region’s changing representations of each other, as well as constructions of a supranational Ibero-American identity. More generally, my research is centred on analysing cultural constructions of identity and nation-building projects in Spain and in the Americas.

  • 19th and 20th-century Spanish and Latin American literature
  • The Centenary Generation in Argentina
  • The Generation of 1898 in Spain
  • Identity politics
  • The Ideology of Hispanism and Ibero-American identity formation
  • Postcolonialism/postimperialism
  • Spanish and Latin American travel writing

Current Projects

I am currently working on revisions of a book project that explores the attempts made by Spanish and Latin American intellectuals to reassess their respective postimperial and postcolonial realities in the twentieth century. It analyses the ways in which Spain and Latin America have represented each other, and the so-called singular cultural space of Ibero-America, through essays and travel narratives produced between the aftermath of Spain’s definitive loss of empire in 1898 and the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939). The study considers Spain’s revived interest in its former colonies in the wake of the events of 1898 and at a time when the emergent influence of the United States, as a potential threat, began drawing Latin American intellectuals towards the former Metropolis in an attempt to re-evaluate for Latin America the cultural significance of Spain.


  • 2009-2008     University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship.
  • 2008-2005     Tertiary Education Commission of NZ, Bright Future Top Achiever Doctoral Scholarship.
  • 2005              Regueiro-McKelvie Foundation, Vista Linda Doctoral Scholarship.


Book Chapters

2011, “Refiguring North and South: The Grotesque of Almería in Juan Goytisolo’s Campos de Níjar and La Chanca.” Encrucijadas históricas de la España contemporánea: textos y contextos que marcan época. Ed. Wendy-Llyn Zaza and Roberto González-Casanovas. Auckland/Salamanca: Ambosmundos, pp. 121-37.

(Forthcoming) “In Praise of the Melting Pot: Argentina as Transformative Space in the Travels of Vicente Blasco Ibáñez.” Gendering European Transnational Encounters in the Long Nineteenth Century.

Journal Articles

2003, “‘Written-Off’ by a Patriarchal Pen: Woman as Currency in José Zorrilla’s Don Juan Tenorio.” The European Connection 9, pp. 18-21.


I have been teaching Spanish at various levels since 2004. I have taught introductions to Spanish and Latin American Cultural Studies, and a literary studies unit on the Spanish and Latin American short story. Currently, I am responsible for coordinating a unit on Literature and the Spanish and Latin American City (ATS3197) as well as the culture component of an advanced Spanish language unit (ATS3195). As part of the School’s team-taught units, I have contributed to the unit in the Literary Studies major, ATS1276: Tales of Origin and Transgression, and will also give lectures for a European Studies unit, ATS3525: The Idea of Europe.  

At present, I am in the early stages of developing a new unit that explores the cultural flows and  transnational encounters between Spain and Latin America at various moments of historical and cultural importance during the twentieth century, and how these encounters have helped to imagine national and transnational identities in the Spanish-speaking world.

Postgraduate Research Supervision

Completed Supervision

Ramsbottom, Katie, “An Indigenous Struggle: A Literary Comparison of José María Arguedas and Witi Ihimaera.” Honours Dissertation, Victoria University of Wellington, 2011.