Sarah Owens

Director of the First Year Experience

Sarah Owens photo


Sarah Owens is Professor of Spanish and Director of the First Year Experience. As director of this vibrant program she recruits talented faculty to teach First Year Seminars and Learning Communities. In addition to the development and scheduling of these courses, she helps to develop faculty professional development programs to facilitate campus conversations about teaching and learning in the first year and beyond. She is passionate about study abroad and facilitates optional one-credit spring break trips for freshmen.

Dr. Owens enjoys teaching courses on literature, gender, travel, and culture of Latin America and Spain. She enjoys teaching new students in the First Year Experience and has developed a new course called The Border for that program. She has taught several courses in the Masters of Education program and the Honors program, and often teaches Introduction to Latin American and Caribbean Studies. Dr. Owens has led College of Charleston study abroad programs to Spain, Chile, and Cuba.

Dr. Owens received her Ph.D. in Colonial Latin American Literature from the University of Arizona, her M.A. in Hispanic Literature from New York University in Madrid, and her B.A. degree in English and Spanish from the University of New Hampshire.  She specializes in the writings of colonial and early modern Spanish nuns. Her research has taken her to the archives of Mexico, Spain, Chile, Peru, and the Vatican. In 2009, she published an award-winning edition of a Spanish nun’s travel account called Journey of Five Capuchin Nuns (CRRS & ITER, 2009). Her co-edited volume, Women of the Iberian Atlantic (Louisiana State University Press, 2012) won the award for best Collaborative Project from the Society for the Study of Early Modern Women. Her third book, Nuns Navigating the Spanish Empire (University of New Mexico Press, 2017) was supported by a Fellowship from the National Endowment. Her latest book, Health and Healing in the Early Modern Iberian World: A Gendered Perspective, co-edited with Margaret Boyle (University of Toronto Press, May 2021), breaks new ground through its systematic focus on gender and sexuality as they relate to the delivery of healthcare, the practice of medicine, and the experiences of health and healing across early modern Spain and colonial Latin America.