A. Gabriel Meléndez

Professor of American Studies

A. Gabriel Meléndez [article image]



Office Location:
Humanities 419

Website: http://www.unm.edu/~gabriel

Research Interests:

Race, Class, Ethnicity, Critical Regionalism and Southwest Studies, Cinema Studies, life narrative and Cultural Studies

University Distinguished Professor and former chair of American Studies.  Gabriel Meléndez served three terms as Chair of American Studies between 1999 and 2013. During his tenure as Chair, American Studies doubled the number of new faculty hires and increased the retention of tenured faculty now in the department. Meléndez is a literary, social and cultural critic with research interests in ethnic and cultural representations in film, autobiography, ethno-poetics and ethno-critical theory. His teaching and research interests intersect with a number of American Studies fields of study.  He offers graduate seminars on “Cultural Autobiography and Life Narratives,” “Race, Culture and Cinema,” and “Critical Regionalism: Discourses on the Southwest.” He has been the recipient of a Rockefeller Humanities Fellowship and several other research grants including awards from the New Mexico Endowment for the Humanities, the Center for Regional Studies (UNM) and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project (University of Houston).

His first book, So All is Not Lost: The Poetics of Print in Nuevomexicano Communities, 1836-1958 (UNM, 1997) was reprinted by the University of Arizona with the title, Spanish-Language Newspapers in New Mexico, 1836-1958 (2005). In addition, he is co-editor of The Multicultural Southwest: A Reader (Arizona, 2001) and Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage: Volume VI (2006), and Santa Fe Nativa: A Collection of Nuevomexicano Writing (UNM, 2010). His other works include Reflexiones del Corazón (1993) [a portfolio of images and texts produced with Miguel Gandert and María Baca for the Tamarind Institute], The Biography of Casimiro Barela (UNM, 2003) and The Writings of Eusebio Chacón (UNM, 2012).

Professor Meléndez’s most recent book, Hidden Chicano Cinema: Film Dramas in the Borderlands, (Rutgers University Press, 2013) presents a fascinating, scholarly account of a series of film or “specular moments” in borderlands history that are replete with drama, intrigue and the politics of cultural representations, elements that are as much the result of specific cinematic practices as of a set of socio-cultural encounters peculiar to the Southwest. Also in 2013 he published The Legend of Ponciano Gutiérrez and the Mountain Thieves (UNM 2013) an illustrated book for young readers.

Meléndez serves on the board of directors of the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project, serves on the editorial board of Aztlán: A Journal of Chicano Studies, and is a general editor for the Pasó por aquí Series on New Mexican Hispanic Letters at UNM Press. He is also a contributing member to the National Digital Newspaper Program Advisory Committee based at Zimmerman Library.

Professor Meléndez is the recipient of a 2014-2015 Senior Teaching and Research Fulbright Fellowship.  His Fulbright award extends the on-going academic exchange between UNM and the Department of American Studies at Eszterházy Károly College in Eger, Hungary.  His Fulbright project, “The Power of the Celluloid Curriculum,” aims to build critical awareness in Hungarian students regarding the inclusion and exclusion of ethnic minorities in American film.  While in residency Meléndez will also lecture on the U.S. Latino experience as part of visits to “American Studies” centers at Debrecen, Pannon and other Hungarian universities.