PhD student, Spanish
Faculty advisor: Ksenija Bilbija
Karen García Escorcia is a PhD student in Spanish from Río Bravo, Tamaulipas, México. She completed her undergraduate and master’s degrees in Spanish at the University of Texas-Pan American.
Karen studies debt as a literary motif and a protagonist that has the power to actively impact literary characters, their ideologies, and their interpersonal relationships. She said studying debt in this way contributes to better understandings of the ethical and economic legacies that repressive actions cause in dictatorial, revolutionary, and narcoterrorism regimes in Latin America.
Broadly, Karen studies the violence generated by these ethical debts and considers the moral circumstances of a debtor-creditor relationship, unlike those studies that focus purely on its financial context. In her dissertation, she maintains that one of the most important and long-lasting effects of repression is to ethically indebt its victims. Through this analysis, she expands understandings of gender-based violence, its effect through generations, and its way of torturing even indirect victims in these societies.
Karen received a Graduate School Fellowship, which helped her to also earn the Dissertation Write-Up Award from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese and further supported her toward the goal of dissertation completion. Karen said this funding has allowed her to focus exclusively on dissertation writing and to present her research in a graduate seminar last spring.
“As an international student, it is extremely difficult to find funding,” Karen said. “However, this fellowship made me feel included and equally considered by my university as any other student, and that feeling is, above all, what makes me think that my intellectual work and my research matter and are really appreciated.”