Francisco Lomelí had no idea he was being considered for membership in a prestigious organization of Spanish language scholars. And then out of the blue word came that he was in. A professor of Spanish and Portuguese and of Chicana and Chicano studies at UC Santa Barbara, Lomelí was elected as a correspondent to the North American Academy of the Spanish Language. The honor is given to a small number of scholars who have distinguished themselves in their fields. Known by its Spanish acronym ANLE, the academy promotes the Spanish language in North America.
“I’m incredibly honored to have been elected to this prestigious body because it validates some of my long-standing work on Latinas/os, particularly having the opportunity to comment on and recommend new forms of spoken and written Spanish in the United States,” Lomelí said. “I’m excited to participate among scholars who are keenly interested in language issues for Latinos at a national and international level as the Spanish language grows and develops in the 21st century. I will be able to use my knowledge of Spanglish, aside from Chicano, Mexican, Argentine, Costa Rican, Honduran and Chilean variants and cadences.”
Leo Cabranes-Grant, professor and chair of the Spanish and Portuguese department at UCSB, said the honor acknowledges Lomelí’s stature and accomplishments as a scholar. “Only those invited are eligible for this position,” he noted. “This is a national recognition of Professor Lomelí’s prominence both as a scholar and a citizen. He is only the second person in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese to receive this honor.”
Gerardo Aldana, professor and chair of the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, said Lomelí’s election is a proper honor for his decades of important work. “The Department of Chicana/o Studies is extremely proud of Professor Lomeli for his election to the Academia Norteamericana de la Lengua Español. His research in Chicana/o literature and in Spanish language translation has been of the highest caliber over his long career, and this award is a fitting recognition of his contributions.”
Lomelí came to UCSB in 1978 as an assistant professor after earning his Ph.D. at the University of New Mexico. His research interests include literary history, Chicano literature, New Mexico studies and Latin American literature. He is the author, contributor, editor or translator of numerous publications. In his 38 years at UCSB, he has twice served as chair of the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies. He has also served as chair of the black studies and Spanish and Portuguese departments.