UNM Associate Professor Carmen Nocentelli was recently selected as the winner of three highly-coveted fellowships for 2016-2017. She has elected to spend the year as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the world’s largest collection of Shakespeareana and a premier repository of rare books and manuscripts from the early modern period (ca. 1500-1750).  

For Nocentelli, an expert in 16th- and 17th-century literature, a year in residence at the Folger Shakespeare Library is a priceless gift of time and support for her second book. To be titled Black Legends and the Invention of Europe, this work will explore the impact of xenophobic invective and jingoistic propaganda on the idea of Europe.

“When we say that there was no ‘Europe’ before the eighteenth century, it is often because we try to read history backward from the standpoint of the European Union. But ‘Europe’ and ‘European Union’ are not the same thing,” Nocentelli said. “Far from expressing a vision of unity and inclusion, ‘Europe’ emerged first and foremost as tool of division and exclusion. It is this paradox that my book will explore.”

Nocentelli holds joint appointments in the Department of English and the Department of Foreign Languages. Her first book, Empires of Love: Europe, Asia, and the Making of Early Modern Identity, was awarded two top prizes in the field: the 2015 Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies from the Modern Language Association (MLA) and the 2014 Roland H. Bainton Book Prize in Literature from the Sixteenth Century Society and Conference (SCSC).