TAMIU Doctoral Student Receives Grant from History Project

TAMIU Doctoral Student Receives Research
Grant from Hispanic History of Texas Project

Lola Orellano Norris
Lola Orellano Norris

A Texas A&M International University doctoral student has been named the recipient of a 2008 Research Grant from the University of Houston’s Recovering the U.S. Hispanic History of Texas Project.

Lola Orellano Norris received the $4,365 grant for her planned research focused on an analysis of expedition diaries (1686-1690) of General Alonso de León’s five military expeditions into Texas. De León’s diaries hold major linguistic, historical and anthropological importance because they are among the earliest documentary records written in and about Texas.

Orellano Norris said she was excited about the opportunities provided by the research grant which also figures prominently in her doctoral dissertation.

“This research project is part of my doctoral dissertation which will include the identification, location, transcription, English translation and linguistic analysis of de León’s expedition diaries. The manuscripts are held in different archives in Spain, México and the United States and this grant will support my travel and research.”

“Last year, I traveled to the Archivo General de Indias in Seville, Spain and was able to locate the manuscripts of two other contemporary copies of the 1688 expedition diaries unknown until then,” Orellano Norris explained.

“My research approach takes into consideration not just one but all extant manuscripts for each expedition. Linguistically, these manuscripts are invaluable. They form a distinct body of information particularly suitable for the study of linguistic features and documentation of Spanish language change in early Texas. Some of the accounts have been edited and published with historians in mind. They have never been studied as an interconnected body of work or subjected to a linguistic analysis or philological study,” she noted.

Orellano Norris also received a $1,500 Summer Dissertation Research Grant from Texas A&M University’s College of Liberal Arts, department of Hispanic Studies.

She said she believes that her research will reveal new linguistic, cultural and historical data, correct commonly accepted historical facts and clarify existing inconsistencies.

In addition to her doctoral pursuits, Orellano Norris is a TAMIU visiting assistant professor in the College of Arts and Sciences, department of language and literature.

A mother of six with her late first husband, Reymundo "Tigre" Perez, she is now married to TAMIU associate professor of political science Dr. James A. Norris. She earned TAMIU’s first Master of Arts in Spanish in 1999 and was accepted into the collaborative Ph.D. program in Hispanic Studies with Texas A&M University in 2004.

Prior to her pursuit of the Ph.D. program, Orellano Norris was director of the University’s International Language Institute.

Headquartered at the University of Houston (UH), the Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage Project is a comprehensive program to reconstitute the literary legacy of Hispanics in the United States from colonial times to 1960.

It grew from work developed over the past 20 years by UH’s Dr. Nicolás Kanellos and the scholars on the Recovery Project Advisory Board who recognized that a vast body of writing by U.S. Hispanics prior to 1960 remained virtually unknown and scattered across the country.

The Heritage Project has been supported by the AT&T Foundation, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The Ford Foundation, The Meadows Foundation, and The National Endowment for the Humanities.

Dr. Kanellos is the Brown Foundation Professor of Modern and Classical Languages at UH and founder-director of Arte Público Press, the oldest and most accomplished publisher of U.S. Hispanic literature. He has previously lectured at TAMIU.

For additional information on the Heritage Project, visit: arte.uh.edu/recovery/index

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