Guest PhD researcher: Paula Serrano Elena


Paula Serrano Elena is a visiting PhD student from University of Zaragoza, Spain. She is spending three months at the Centre for Gender Research where she will be working on the theoretical and analytical chapters of her thesis on the representation of mothers’ psychic suffering in the post-pandemic US literature. 

I hold a B.A. in English Studies from the University of Zaragoza (2017-20) and an M.A. in North American Studies from both Complutense University of Madrid and Franklin Institute of Alcalá de Henares University (2020-21). In 2019 I did my Erasmus at the University of Wroclaw and in 2021 I obtained a scholarship from the Ministry of Education to work as a language assistant in England, where I worked at the “Loughborough High School”. Since January 2023, I am a Ph.D. student at the University of Zaragoza in the English Studies Ph.D. program. 

Research interests: feminism, gender and representations of motherhood in North American literature, childbirth and motherhood/mothering, domestic and gender-based violence, psychic suffering, mental health, and madness.

What is your current research about?  
My doctoral thesis focuses on the representation of mothers’ psychic suffering in a post-pandemic US narrative. Specifically, it is a comparative study between the US post-pandemic works Nightbitch (2021) by Rachel Yoder, The School for Good Mothers (2022) by Jessamine Chan, and The Nursery (2024) by Szilvia Molnarto. My project looks at these authors as part of a new trend, within the new generation of novelists writing about motherhood, which aims to expose the interrelation between the experience of motherhood, as it is demanded in the 21st century, and psychic suffering, leading to mental illness. 


  • Serrano Elena, Paula.“La locura como consecuencia de la vivencia de la maternidad en Canina, de Rachel Yoder.” La mujer y el textoNuevas propuestas críticas literarias 2.1 (2023).
  • Serrano Elena, Paula. “Grief as a Political Matter: An Analysis of Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper.JACLR: Journal of Artistic Creation and Literary Research 9.1.1 (2021).       

Last modified: 2021-09-10