Sharada Balachandran Orihuela comes to the Department of English at the University of Maryland from Kenyon College where she was a Marilyn Yarborough Dissertation and Teaching Fellow in the Department of English and Women’s and Gender Studies Program. Her specializations are in nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century literature of the Americas; Hemispheric American studies; transnational American literature and economic history; and critical race and gender theory. She is currently working on her first book project tentatively titled, “Undocumented: Piracy and Personhood in Hemispheric American Literature.” This project traces a genealogy of piratical American economic exchange, and argues that narratives depicting trade allow us to understand liberal subjectivities operating outside the scope of national rights. This study engages the limits and possibilities of possessive individualism through the study of several piratical figures in transnational American literature. These figures include nineteenth century Mexican pirates, enslaved Black subjects in the antebellum South, Mexicans living along the U.S.-Mexico border in the years leading up to and immediately following the Mexican American War of 1848, and Latino immigrants in the present. The rich archival work necessary for this research project has been supported by the Cuban Heritage Collection, the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas, the Consortium for Women and Research, and the Chicana/Latina Research Center at UC Davis. She has received numerous awards including the UC Davis Humanities Graduate Research Award, the UC Davis Department of English Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship, the Professors for the Future Fellowship, and the Chancellor’s Teaching Fellowship. As evidenced in her research interests, she is particularly invested in interdisciplinary and comparative approaches to teaching literature. Her recent publication, “The Virtual Realities of U.S./Mexico Border Ecologies in Maquilapolis and Sleep Dealer,” which appeared in a special issue of Environmental Communication: A Journal of Nature and Culture entitled Coloring the Lens: Cinema, New Media, and Just Sustainability, was assigned for the “Ecological Media and Ecocriticism” seminar at the 2011 Association for the Study of Literature and Environment Conference. She is currently working on two articles: one on slavery and ownership in Martin Delany’s Blake, Or the Huts of America, and one on circuits of migration and exchange in Gayl Jones’s Mosquito. Her next book length project will study narconarratives, and the international discourse on terrorism and drug prohibition in contemporary literature of the Americas.
nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first century literature of the Americas; Hemispheric American studies; transnational American literature and economic history; and critical race and gender theory