Electa Arenal, Latinamericanist, professor of Hispanic literatures, and translator, is one of the pioneers of Women’s Studies and a leading Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz scholar. A member of the Ph.D. Program in Hispanic and Luso-Brazilian Literatures, the Master in Liberal Studies, and the Women’s Studies Certificate Program of City University of New York [CUNY]/Graduate Center, she also taught, 1968-97, at CUNY’s College of Staten Island.
A specialist in colonial literature and women’s monastic culture, she is co-author of three books in the field: Untold Sisters: Hispanic Nuns in Their Own Works; Cultura conventual femenina; Obras completas de sor Marcela de San Félix, la hija de Lope de Vega [Women’s Convent Culture: Complete Works of S.M.S.F., daughter of L.de V.]; and the bilingual, annotated edition of Sor Juana Inés de Cruz, The Answer/La Respuesta, including a Selection of Poems.
She has published essays on Sor Juana and other monastic women, and on the work of twentieth century Central American writers Claribel Alegría, Gioconda Belli, and Carmen Naranjo.
Professor Arenal helped found women’s studies at Richmond College (now the College of Staten Island) CUNY in the early 1970’s. From 1992-94 she was Director of Research at the Center for Feminist Research in the Humanities at the University of Bergen, Norway, and from 1997-2000, Director, Center for the Study of Women and Society and Coordinator, Women’s Studies Certificate Program at CUNY’s Graduate Center. An NEH and Bunting Institute Fellow, 1989-90 she has received support from the Rockefeller Foundation’s US-Mexico Cultural Fund, and from the PSC-CUNY Faculty Award Program for her current project, a book and interactive on-line program, Sor Juana’s Arch/El arco de Sor Juana.