Wednesday 31 May 2017 – Lunchtime Seminar with Dr Anja Louis (Sheffield Business School, SHU)

Advertising image of spanish police drama 'Los Misterios de Laura'

Speaker: Dr Anja Louis
Title: ‘Spanish police dramas: action, emotion and politics’

Anja is a Senior Lecturer in Spanish and Intercultural Studies. Her research is firmly grounded in Spanish Cultural Studies in its openness to interdisciplinarity and its celebration of popular culture. Previous projects have examined the representation of gender issues in popular culture through the prism of various law-and-culture debates. The monograph entitled Women and the Law: Carmen de Burgos, an Early Feminist was the first to apply the insights and methodology of the interdisciplinary field of law and culture in a Hispanic context. It analyses the representation of law in the work of twentieth-century Spanish feminist Carmen de Burgos (1867-1932) and argues that her narratives were used as a means of political propaganda.

Most recently, she has co-edited a collection of essays (Louis and Sharp (2016) Femininity and Feminism: Carmen de Burgos Defines the Modern Woman) that brings together leading international specialists who offer new readings of Burgos’s work. Subsequent, and on-going, studies analyse the representation of professional women in Spanish film and television, and ask to what extent these on-screen professionals are indicative of wider issues of patriarchal crisis.


A central mechanism through which law rules is popular culture. Most people learn what they know (or think they know) about law from popular culture, often without realising they are receiving a popular-legal education. Police dramas are without doubt one of the most important genres on television, both to represent social issues and reflect ideological changes. They invite a judgemental viewing process and encourage their viewers to participate actively in finding justice. Public perception of the preservation of order in a country haunted by fascism makes the viewing of crime dramas in Spain interestingly ambivalent. Viewer reception is influenced by both cognition and affect, just as justice is often guided by reason and emotion.

After an overview of Spanish police dramas, this paper examines one of the most successful Spanish crime comedy TV series Los Misterios de Laura/The Mysteries of Laura in which Laura Lebrel, a police detective with a disorganised personal and professional life, uses her intuition to solve intriguing cases. It explores how the comedy genre parodies received notions of law enforcement officers in a post-modern Spain and plays with the stereotype of incompetent women. The prize-winning series was premiered on 27 July 2009 and was an instant success. Italy, Russia, Holland and, most recently, the American network NBC adapted the series.


1.00PM – 2.00PM

See here for details of other seminars in the series.

All SHU staff and students are welcome to attend the C3RI Lunchtime Research Seminars. If you are from outside of the University and would like to attend a seminar, please email C3RI Administrator to arrange entry.