Bridgette Gunnels

Associate Professor of Spanish

Bridgette W. Gunnels is a scholar in Latin American literature from the twentieth century, in all forms, with special emphasis in the short story. Dr. Gunnels possesses a deep preparation in Latin American history, especially Latin American identity, economic and environmental histories, and diaspora studies.  

Gunnels’ courses focus on speaking, listening, reading, and writing in Spanish at all levels. Her introductory and intermediate courses are often experiential in nature, taking students outside of the classroom to experience learning in a variety of environments. Intermediate courses are often involved in the community and encourage students to creatively explore language learning through photography and the dramatic arts. Upper division courses focus on Hispanic literature and history, with critical text analysis, writing and presentations in Spanish. Often interdisciplinary in nature, Gunnels’ courses seek to connect multiple touchpoints and offer students a global perspective of the area studied. Since 2012, she has led mid-semester trips with students to San José, Costa Rica, and most recently in 2018, to Havana, Cuba, in connection with upper-division courses. 

Gunnels has recently been selected as a Global South Research Grant Fellow from Tulane University to complete research in Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Florida and Havana, Cuba. This research highlights Gunnels’ most recent research interests, transnational identity in the Caribbean and the US Deep South. This research considers the unique ligatures between the military and plantation histories of the southern US and several Caribbean countries, and the resulting development of similar regional identity politics.  

A frequent presenter at international and national conferences, Gunnels is a member of the Latin American Studies Association (LASA), the American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL), the Society for the Study of Southern Literature (SSL), and the South Atlantic Modern Language Association (SAMLA). 

Gunnels received a BA degree in English and Spanish from the University of Georgia as well as a MA degree in Romance Languages. She continued on to the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, where she pursued a PhD in Romance Languages and Literatures and Latin American history. While there, she was awarded a dissertation fellowship to complete her degree in Seville, Spain. While in Seville, she also taught English classes at the University of Seville, and afterwards spent time teaching English in Madrid, Spain. Gunnels taught at the University of West Georgia and Agnes Scott College before joining the Oxford College faculty in 2011.  


BA| University of Georgia| 1996

MA| University of Georgia| 1998

Ph.D.| University of North Carolina - CH| 2002

Courses Taught

Introductory & Intermediate Spanish

Introduction to Spanish Texts/Contexts (advanced grammar and writing)

Hispanic Texts/Contexts (introduction to Hispanic cultural history)

Hispanic Narrative (environmental approaches to the Hispanic short story)

Hispanic Special Topics (Cuba: Evolution of Revolution)


“Harnessing the Mobile Narrative in Foreign Language Pedagogy.” Journal of Language Literary Education [online], published December 30, 2016.

“Ways of Inquiry: The Distinctiveness of the Oxford College General Education Program.” in Inquiry-Based Learning for Faculty and Institutional Development: A Conceptual and Practical Resource for Educators. Emerald Group Publishers (London). January 2015. 121-146.

“The Consequences of Capitalism: Horacio Quiroga Writes the Proletariat.” Revista de Estudios Hispánicos 45 (2011): 67-88.

“Blurring Boundaries between Human and Animal: Animalhuman Rights in Horacio Quiroga’s ‘Juan Darién’.” Romance Notes XLVI (3): 349-358. 2008.


“Silence, Secrets and the Global South: Masculinity, Mariel and the Deep South” LASA, Boston, MA, May 19-27, 2019.

“Curriculum for Change: Working for Social Justice via Service Learning” ACTFL, New Orleans, LA, Nov 16-18, 2018.

“This feels familiar: the ‘clusterfuck of sorrow’ from Alabama de Havana.” SAMLA, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA. 2-4 Nov, 2017.

“Cuban Context as Content: A Study of Place in Nevada and Mécanica by Abel González Melo.” Latin American Studies Association; Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, Lima, Peru. 28 April-2 May, 2017.

Research Interests

For the past five years, my research focus has been in the Caribbean, more specifically Cuba. I am researching an expansive topic that focuses on migration from Cuba from the Mariel Port, and this generation’s experience in the United States as they settled mainly in the US Deep South. This project utilizes cultural ethnography as well as archival research to help me develop a nuanced view of what life was like during the 1970s, 80s and 90s for Mariel migrants living in the US Deep South. My professional training focuses on environmental approaches to understanding Hispanic literature, and although I took a hiatus from this research I am renewing my focus with a new course in fall 2019 that examines recent short story writers from the Caribbean and South America and their relationship with their lands as seen in their creative works.