Erin Murrah-Mandril, a Ph.D. candidate in the English Department, with a concentration in American Literary Studies, has been awarded the Center for Regional Studies Hector Torres Fellowship.

Murrah-Mandril earned a bachelor's in history and a master's in English at the University of New Mexico, and now, she is now completing her Ph.D. in English. Her work focuses on late-19th and early-20th century Mexican American literary production. She has published articles in Western American Literature, Arizona Quarterly and the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage series.

As a CRS Hector Torres Fellow, Murrah-Mandril will complete research and writing for her dissertation, “Time Out of Joint: Learning to Live with Specters through Mexican American Historical Narrative.” The project argues that Mexican American authors trouble modernist conceptions of empty, homogenous, linear and progressive time to survive and contest US colonization.  Her dissertation contextualizes the temporality of Mexican American literature within both the time of production and the time of literary recovery and maintains that early Mexican American writers, such as Maria Amparo Ruiz de Burton, Miguel Otero, Adina de Zavala and Jovita Gonzalez, challenge notions of progressive time to reveal temporality itself as a colonial instrument.  The material for her dissertation is located in archives throughout New Mexico and South Texas.

The Hector Torres Fellowship, a $10,000-$15,000 stipend, was inaugurated in 2010 by UNM’s Center for Regional Studies in memory of the English Department’s slain colleague, Hector Torres.

The Center for Regional Studies Hector Torres Fellowship supports graduate research and scholarship in the English Department directly related to the late Torres’ fields, as well as the mission of the Center for Regional Studies. Areas include Chicano/a literary and cultural studies; theory (i.e. Marxism; post-structuralism; deconstruction; psychoanalysis; and globalization); film studies; and scholarship related to the mission of the CRS, including history; archival research; literature; and other interdisciplinary fields related to New Mexico, the U.S.-Mexico borderlands, and the greater southwest.

Murrah-Mandril is particularly grateful to be a CRS Hector Torres Fellow because Professor Torres was one of her mentors, and his commitment to intellectual work strongly influences her theoretical approach.  Her dissertation would not be possible without the guidance he provided, she said.