Born in Puerto Rico, Mariselle Meléndez is Professor of Colonial Spanish American Literatures and Cultures and a Conrad Humanities Scholar (2011-2016) at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. Her research focuses on issues of race and gender in colonial Spanish America with special interest in the eighteenth century, the cultural phenomenon of the Enlightenment, global coloniality, as well as visual studies. She is the author of Deviant and Useful Citizens: The Cultural Production of the Female Body in Eighteenth-Century Peru (Vanderbilt University Press, 2011-forthcoming in paperback in 2020). Raza, género e hibridez en El lazarillo de ciegos caminantes [Race, Gender, and Hibridity in El lazarillo de ciegos caminantes (University of North Carolina Studies in Romance Languages and Literatures, 1999), and co-editor of Mapping Colonial Spanish America: Places and Commonplaces of Identity, Culture, and Experience (Bucknell University Press, 2002). Her articles have appeared in journals such as: LatinAmerican Research Review, Colonial Latin American Review, Bulletin of Spanish Studies, Latin American Literary Review, Hispanic Review, Revista Iberoamericana, Revista de crítica literaria latinoamericana, Dieciocho Hispanic Enlightenment, and Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, among many others. Along with Karen Stolley she co-edited a special issue "The Enlightenment in Colonial Spanish America" in Colonial Latin American Review (2015). Her current book project Fluid Spaces and Transient Bodies: The Cultural and Racial Geography of Spanish American Ports in the Eighteenth Century is in advanced contract with Vanderbilt University Press.
- Colonial Spanish America
- Environmental Studies
- Food Studies
- Race and Gender
- The Enlightenment
- Visual and Cultural Studies
See a selected list of publications below.
Work in progress:
- Patriotic Enlightenments: Local Epistemologies and Transnational Exchanges in Eighteenth-century Spanish American Newspapers. (Book-length project)
- The Cultural Geography of Spanish American Ports in the Age of the Enlightenment. (Book-lengthproject)
Ph.D. Spanish American Literature, University of Wisconsin, Madison (1993)
Master of Arts-Spanish, University of Wisconsin-Madison (1987)
Bachelor of Arts-Hispanic Studies (University of Puerto Rico-Río Piedras [Magna Cum Laude] (1986)
Program for Cultural Cooperation between Spain’s Ministry of Culture and United States Universities.
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Stipend (NEH), 1997
University of Illinois Campus Research Board
Awards and Honors
- Awarded by the Comisión Ejecutiva Puertorriqueña de la Juventud and UNESCO a medal and certificate of recognition as “Joven destacado de Puerto Rico” (Outstanding Young Puerto Rican). Award based on professional merits. (Spring 2001)
- Conrad Humanities Scholar Award, LAS University of Illinois (2011-2016)
- 2019-20 University of Illinois President’s Executive Leadership Program (PELP) Fellow.
Spanish 535 “Visual Culture in Colonial Spanish America: From the Construction of Space to the Corporeal View of the World.”
SPAN535 “The Limits of Racial Formation: Constructing Black Identities in Colonial Spanish American Texts”
Spanish 442 “Visualizing Difference in Colonial Spanish America: From Bodily Representations to the Production of Space
Spanish 530 “Historiography, Literariness, and Visual Expressions in Colonial Spanish America.”
SPAN324 "Africa in Colonial LatinaAmerica: Diasporas and the CulturesWithin"
SPAN 324 "Why We Eat What We Eat: Food and Culture in Colonial Spanish America"
SPAN 324 “Ecology and Natural Disasters in Colonial Spanish America”
SPAN 324 “Objects in Motion: The Circulation of Culture in Colonial Spanish America”
SPAN 535 “Indigeneity in Latin America”
Additional Campus Affiliations
Professor, Spanish and Portuguese
Head, Spanish and Portuguese
Meléndez, M. (2011). Deviant and Useful Citizens: The Cultural Production of the Female Body in Eighteenth-Century Peru. Vanderbilt University Press. https://doi.org/10.2307/j.ctv1622n18
Arias, S., & Meléndez, M. (Eds.) (2002). Mapping Colonial Spanish America: Places and Commonplaces of Identity, Culture, and Experience. Bucknell University Press.
Meléndez, M. (1999). Raza, Género e Hibridez en El Lazarillo de ciegos caminantes. (North Carolina Studies in the Romance Languages and Literatures; No. 264). University of North Carolina Press. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5149/9781469641614_melendez
Melendez, M., & Stolley, K. (Eds.) (2015). The Enlightenment in Colonial Spanish America. Colonial Latin American Review, 24(1).
Meléndez, M. (2021). Geographic Knowledge, Global Recognition, and Patriotic Enlightenment: The Case of the Port City of San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico: The case of the Port city of San Juan Bautista de Puerto Rico. Revista de Estudios Hispánicos, 55(1), 65-88. https://doi.org/10.1353/rvs.2021.0006
Meléndez, M. (2020). Port cities as sites of spatial knowledge in eighteenth-century Spanish America. In Y. M-S. Miguel, & S. Arias (Eds.), The Routledge Hispanic Studies Companion to Colonial Latin America and the Caribbean (1492–1898) (pp. 328-343). (Routledge Companions to Hispanic and Latin American Studies). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315107189-23
Meléndez, M. (2019). Negotiating subjectivities on the fringes of the empire: The port city of Cartagena de Indias as site of social and political convergence. In E. Franklin Lewis, M. Bolufer Peruga, & C. M. Jaffe (Eds.), The Routledge Companion to the Hispanic Enlightenment (pp. 142-156). (Routledge Companions to Hispanic and Latin American Studies). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315180281-11
Meléndez, M. (2018). Geography and the enlightenment: Patriotic views of the port city of Havana, 1761–1791. Latin American Research Review, 53(1), 139-151. https://doi.org/10.25222/larr.257
Melendez, M. (2017). Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda and her View of the Colonial Past. Hispanic Issues On Line, 18, 215-234.