Department Chair, Sterling Professor of Spanish
Ph.D. Cornell University (1974)
Sterling Professor of Spanish; Chair of the Department of Spanish and Portuguese
Areas of interest: Colonial Spanish American literature and history; the nineteenth-century origins of Hispanism in the United States; manuscript culture and textual transmission in colonial Spanish America.
Adorno’s most recent books are Colonial Latin American Literature: A Very Short Introduction, which will appear shortly from the Oxford University Press; De Guancane a Macondo: estudios de literatura hispanoamericana (Sevilla: Renacimiento, 2008), and The Polemics of Possession in Spanish American Narrative (Yale University Press, 2007), which was awarded the Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize by the Modern Language Association.
Adorno’s three-volume study, Álvar Núñez Cabeza de Vaca: His Account, His Life, and the Expedition of Pánfilo de Narváez (1999), co-authored with Patrick C. Pautz, received prizes from the American Historical Association, the Western Historical Association, and the New England Council on Latin American Studies.
Her other works in colonial Spanish American literary and cultural history include Guaman Poma: Writing and Resistance in Colonial Peru; La obra de don Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala; Guaman Poma and his Illustrated Chronicle from Colonial Peru; and New Studies of the Autograph Manuscript of Felipe Guaman Poma de Ayala's Nueva corónica y buen gobierno, and studies of the manuscripts of Fray Martín de Murúa (with Ivan Boserup).
Adorno is the editor of From Oral to Written Expression: Native Andean Chronicles of the Early Colonial Period;Transatlantic Encounters: Europeans and Andeans in the Sixteenth Century (with Kenneth J. Andrien); The Narrative of Cabeza de Vaca (with Patrick C. Pautz); and the print and digital editions of Guaman Poma’s Nueva corónica y buen gobierno (with John V. Murra and Jorge L. Urioste).
She has also introduced a new edition of Irving A. Leonard’s classic Books of the Brave (University of California Press, 1992) as well as its recent reissue in Spanish, Los libros del conquistador (Fondo de Cultura Económica, 2006).
Rolena Adorno has been the recipient of the Graduate Mentor Award of the Graduate School of Yale University and a Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award from the University of Iowa, her alma mater.
She has held fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities and the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. She holds an honorary professorship at La Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú, and is an Honorary Associate of the Hispanic Society of America.
In November, 2009, she was appointed by President Barack Obama to a five-year term on the National Council on the Humanities, the advisory board of the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Adorno is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.