Born in Puerto Rico, Mariselle Meléndez is Professor of Colonial Spanish American Literatures and Cultures and LAS Alumni Distinguished Professorial Scholar at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She is also a former Conrad Humanities Scholar (2011-2016). 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, food studies, environmental studies, 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 & paperback in 2021). 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.
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