Adriana Méndez Rodenas

Adriana Méndez Rodenas
Professor of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures
318/318A Arts & Science Building

Adriana Méndez Rodenas is Professor of Spanish and Director of the Afro-Romance Institute. Born in Havana, she has published amply on Caribbean and Latin American literature. Her second book, Gender and Nationalism in Colonial Cuba: The Travels of Santa Cruz y Montalvo, Condesa de Merlin (1998), recuperates a pivotal figure in nineteenth-century Cuban letters. She edited Les esclaves dans les colonies espagnoles (2005), a collection documenting the slavery debate in Cuba, as well as Merlin’s riveting Viaje a la Habana (2009).  Her work on the Cuban nineteenth-century continues with “Picturing Cuba: Romantic Ecology in Gertrudis Gómez de Avellaneda’s Sab (1841),” published in Hispanic Issues Online (2017) ( and «El abolicionismo transnacional cubano: los relatos antiesclavistas de Félix Tanco y ‘el tiempo de la nación,’” which appeared in the 2014 issue of América Sin Nombre dedicated to Cuba y el Caribe : Raza, diáspora, e identidad cultural.

Travel writing is by far her favorite literary genre. Her book,  Transatlantic Travels to Nineteenth Century Latin America: European Women Pilgrims (2014), was supported by an NEH Fellowship for University Teachers (2002-03). She continued resurrecting the stories of traveling women in her edited the issue of Review #84—Literature and the Arts of the Americas (2012). 

At Mizzou she is researching Ethnography and Afro-Atlantic Religions:

Fredrika Bremer’s American Journey (1851-1853) and the Iconography of the Plantation,

a book on the visionary nineteenth-century Swedish traveler,  novelist, and pioneer feminist.  Started while a Fulbright Distinguished Chair of American Studies at Uppsala University in Sweden (2008-09), the book is progressing through various articles.  “’Picturing Eden:’ Contesting Fredrika Bremer’s Tropics,” appeared in Contesting Environmental Imaginaries: Nature and Counter-Nature in a Time of Global Change (2017), while “En dos tiempos: El viaje de Fredrika Bremer como alegoría de la nación,” was published in Cuba: Un siglo de literatura (1902-2002) (2004).

In the area of Latino/a studies, her essays have appeared in two interdisciplinary anthologies: Negotiating Identities in Art and Literature: Cuban Americans and American Culture (2009) and Cuba—Idea of a Nation Displaced (2007).  The art of Ana Mendieta inspired Mythologies of Return: Revisiting Ana Mendieta’s Rupestrian Sculptures (2017), an artist’s book made in collaboration with Aurora de Armendi.

She currently serves on the Executive Board of  ELADD: Escritoras latinoamericanas del diecinueve, a digital journal dedicated to nineteenth-century Latin American woman writers and on the Editorial Board of Karib—Nordic Journal for Caribbean Studies, an online scholarly forum jointly edited by the University of Bergen and Uppsala University. Recently she was elected to serve in the nineteenth-century section of the Instituto Internacional de Literatura Iberoamericana.

A recipient of numerous grants, she was a 2012 research fellow at the Notre Dame Institute of Advanced Study; participated in the 2014 NEH Summer Institute, “Mapping Nature Across the Americas,” at the Newberry Library in Chicago, and held a short-term fellowship at the Huntington Library (2017-2018).