Isabel Jaen-Portillo

Professor of Spanish

Dr. Jaén holds Ph.Ds from Purdue University and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid (Spain). Her research fields include early modern literature and psychology, cognitive literary studies, contemporary literature and film, historical memory, women studies, migration, and transatlantic studies. Dr. Jaén is co-director of Cine-Lit, the continuing, cooperative organization between Portland State University, the University of Oregon, and Oregon State University that, in conjunction with the Portland International Film Festival, organizes an international symposium on Hispanic film and fiction every 4 years and co-president of LALISA (Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies Association), an interinstitutional organization which aims to foster productive professional relationships and exchanges among universities and communities in the Northwestern Region of the United States of America and Canada. She is also former executive member of the MLA Division for Cognitive Approaches to Literature (2008-2012, chair in 2011), a former member of the Purdue Cognitive Literary Studies Steering Committee (2008-2010). She co-founded and co-directed (2005-2015) the Literary Theory, Cognition, and the Brain Working Group at the Whitney Humanities Center in Yale University, where she taught for six years. She came to Portland State from Wabash College, where she held an appointment as Byron K. Trippet Assistant Professor.

PSU Senate: Presiding Officer Elect (2018-19)
PSU Interdisciplinary Teaching and Research Ad Hoc Committee: Chair (2018-19)

Dr. Jaén is co-author of Épocas y Avances (Yale University Press, 2006) and co-editor of Cognitive Literary Studies (University of Texas Press, 2012), Cognitive Approaches to Early Modern Spanish Literature (Oxford University Press, 2016), and Self, Other, and Context in Early Modern Spain (Juan de la Cuesta 2017). Dr. Jaén is currently editing with Dr. Julien Jacques Simon the interdisciplinary book Cervantes and the Early Modern Mind, which includes the work of humanists and scientists from the US, Spain, France, and the UK (forthcoming with Routledge). 

She has published articles on Peninsular and Latin American literature and film, comparative literature, and literature and cognition, and has presented her work at national and international conferences. Her most recent essays include:

“Fictions of Human Development: Renaissance Cognitive Philosophy and the Romance.” The Palgrave Handbook of Philosophy and Literature. Ed. Barry Stoker and Michael Mack. New York: Palgrave MacMillan. [Forthcoming]

“Shared Interiority: Can Cinema of Empathy Help Us Recover Historical Memory?” Epistémocritique: A French peer-reviewed journal with a focus on the interconnections between literature and science. Special bilingual issue on “Inner Space / Inner Speech: Neurocognitive and Literary Approaches.” [Forthcoming]

“El estudio cognitivo de la literatura y sus aportaciones al estudio de la conciencia.” #Nodos. Ed. Gustavo A. Schwartz and Víctor E. Bermúdez. Pamplona, Spain: Next Door Publishers, 2017.

“Fascism, Torture, and Affect in Postwar Spain: Memoria Histórica Narratives and Audience Empathy.” The Palgrave Handbook of Affect Studies and Textual Criticism. Ed. Donald R. Wehrs and Thomas Blake. New York: Palgrave MacMillan, 2017.

“The Making of a King: Sensing and Understanding in Calderón de la Barca’s La vida es sueño.” Making Sense of the Senses: Current Approaches in Spanish Comedia Criticism. Ed. Bonnie Gasior and Yolanda Gamboa. Newark, DE: Juan de la Cuesta Hispanic Monographs, 2017. 129-142.

  • PhD
    Purdue University (US)
  • PhD
    Complutense University of Madrid (Spain)