Main content start

Lisa Surwillo

Associate Professor of Iberian and Latin American Cultures
Department Director of Iberian and Latin American Cultures
Faculty Director of Introductory Seminars (VPUE)
W. Warren Shelden University Fellow in Undergraduate Education
2002: Ph.D., Romance Languages and Literatures, University of California at Berkeley
1994: B.A., Spanish and History, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Professor Surwillo teaches courses on Iberian literature, with an emphasis on the nineteenth-century. Her research addresses the questions of property, empire, race and personhood as they are manifested by literary works, especially dramatic literature, dealing with colonial slavery, abolition and Spanish citizenship. Surwillo is the author of Monsters by Trade (Stanford 2014), a study of slave traders in Spanish literature and the role of these colonial mediators in the development of modern Spain. She is also the author of  The Stages of Property: Copyrighting Theatre in Spain (Toronto 2007), an analysis of the development of copyright and authorship in nineteenth-century Spain and the impact of intellectual property on theater. She is currently completing two books: the first is a study of freedom petitions by enslaved Afro-Cuban women during the 1870s and the second is a co-authored study, with Martín Rodrigo (U of Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona), of a major Cuban financier and Catalan real estate magnate. 

At Stanford, she is an affilated member of the Stanford Center for Law and History, the Center for Latin American Studies, and the Center for Comparative Studies of Race and Ethnicity.




(650) 723-2175
Pigott Hall, Bldg 260, Rm 222

Research Interests

  • Autobiography & Biography


  • Cultural History & Studies


  • Spanish Languages, Literatures, and Cultures


  • Theater


  • Transatlantic Studies