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José N. Ornelas

Professor

ornelas@spanport.umass.edu

(413) 545-4921

422 Herter Hall

José N. Ornelas is Professor of Spanish and Portuguese Literature, Culture and Film and Assistant Dean at the College Humanities and Fine Arts (CHFA) Advising Center. Born in Madeira Island, Portugal, he emigrated to the United States in 1961. He received his Ph. D. from the Graduate Center of City University of New York in 1976, and has been a Professor at the University of Massachusetts since 1974. From 1999-2007, he was both Chair and then Director of Spanish and Portuguese, and from 1997-2008 he was the Director of the BDIC Program, the largest interdisciplinary program at the University. 

Initially, a specialist in contemporary Portuguese narrative, Professor Ornelas has expanded his areas of research to include gender identity, national identity and construction, post-colonial studies, film studies, and cultural politics within a multicultural and transnational framework. His scholarly work, two co-editions and around 50 book chapters and articles that have appeared in various journals, have focused on a wide range of issues and writers from Portugal, Lusophone Africa and Brazil, including Camões, Eça de Queirós, the Nobel Prize winner José Saramago, José Cardoso Pires, Teolinda Gersão, Maria Velho da Costa, Mia Couto, José Luandino Vieira and Pepetela.

Throughout his academic career, Professor Ornelas has taught a variety of courses at the University, many in the areas of his research interests. In the past few years, he has expanded his course offerings to include Latin American and Spanish film. As a result of his research interests on questions of nation formation, empire, post-coloniality and gender identity, he has been a guest Visiting Professor at the Universidade Pontifícia Católica do Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, in three different years. In Brazil, he has also been invited to give several lectures, to read papers at conferences, and to participate in television and radio programs. Currently, he is working on several volumes of Portuguese Cultural Studies, a journal whose home since 2014 has been the University of Massachusetts Amherst. PCS is an open access journal designed to promote interdisciplinary, theoretical and cultural studies focused on the countries of the Portuguese-speaking world and its diasporas. The next three volumes/issues of the journal will be dedicated to women writers of the Lusophone world, José Saramago, and the literary world of authors who gave voice to the Portuguese empire during the colonial period. 

Research Areas

  • Spaces of Identity
  • National Construction and Empire
  • Gender Identity
  • Colonialism and Post-Coloniality
  • Film Studies
  • Women Writers
  • Cultural Politics

Publications

Books

  • Da possibilidade do impossível: Leituras de Saramago.  Co-edition with Paulo de Medeiros. Utrecht:  Portuguese Studies Center, University of Utrecht, 2007.

Articles

  • “A intersecção entre o imaginário do fascismo, do império e da política colonial em Paisagem com mulher e mar ao fundo de Teolinda Gersão,” Letras de Hoje 49.4 (2014): 477-486.
  • “Pepetela (Artur Carlos Maurício Pestana dos Santos).” Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 367 (African Lusophone Writers). San Francisco: Gale Group, 2012. 131-148.
  • “José Luandino Vieira (José Vieira Mateus da Graça).” Dictionary of Literary Biography. Volume 367 (African Lusophone Writers). San Francisco: Gale Group, 2012. 197-208.
  • “José Saramago—Apresentação Geral da Obra.” Ciências Humanas e Sociais em Revista 33.2 (2011): 185-252
  • “Negation of the Narrative Framework or the Failure of Narrative Memory: The case os Os cus de Judas.” Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies 19-20 (2011): 321-339.

Awards and Accolades

  • Outstanding Academic Advisor of the Year (1995), University of Massachusetts Amherst
  • National Outstanding Advisor (1995), Award of the National Academic Advising Association