American Studies HKU School of Modern Languages and Cultures HKU

Academic Staff

Professor Bárbara Fernández Melleda
Assistant Professor in Latin American Studies

5.19 Run Run Shaw Tower

Bárbara Fernández Melleda

Prof Fernández-Melleda’s research focuses on a variety of topics that study Chilean literature, such as intersections between articulations of the female psyche, the criticism of neoliberal principles within a post-dictatorship context, biblical references in poetry and narrative, and memory/post-memory constructions in Chilean writing, among others. Lately, Bárbara has been exploring the cultural relationship between China and Latin America, more specifically with Chile through poets Pablo Neruda, Armando Uribe, and Pablo de Rokha. She was the recipient of the Luis Cha Fund for East/West Studies to conduct research to examine details concerning the great friendship between Pablo Neruda and Chinese poet Ai Qing, and how this permeated both poets’ production. At the moment, Bárbara is working on her book manuscript entitled Chilean Women’s Poetry under Neoliberalism, 1980-2020 which is under contract at a prestigious British university press and will be published in 2025. Her research features at top journals such as Literature Compass, Cultural Dynamics, and The Irish Review. She has also contributed with introductions to Salvador Allende’s “Last Speech to the Nation” and Rigoberta Menchú’s “First Visit to Guatemala City” and “An Eight-Year-Old Agricultural Worker” for the Encyclopedia Aesthetics and Politics in the Global South, edited by J.D Elam (Bloomsbury Academic).

Her latest research project, The Fall of Neoliberalism in the Chilean Post Dictatorship Novel (2000-2020) received the Early Career Scheme Fund by the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC) in 2022. The project lasts 3 years and was awarded HKD 415,000.

As a Latinamericanist, Bárbara’s teaching portfolio is broad. She has lectured on Chilean culture, canonical authors from the Latin American Boom and Nobel Prize winners, XIX century foundational and abolitionist novels from Cuba, Perú and Argentina, Latin American visual culture and fine arts, and Latin American cultural theory. At HKU, Bárbara is devoted to the development of Latin American themed courses. For example, “Cultural Approaches to Dictatorship in Chile and Argentina”; “Global Latin America”; “Latin American/US Cultural Relations”; “Magical Realism in Literature and Film”; “Latin American Theatre and Dramatists”.

Prof Fernández-Melleda also welcomes postgraduate proposals on topics related to her research interests, including her new research avenue on Sino-Latin American cultural relations. For further information on postgraduate supervision, see what her students have researched below. Be aware that to study of Latin American literature and culture under her supervision you need to manage Spanish and/or Portuguese as texts are studied in their original versions.

Prof Fernández-Melleda is a member of the Editorial Board for Memory Studies Review (Brill) and she works as a peer reviewer for a variety of prestigious journals in her field, including the Bulletin of Spanish Studies (Taylor & Francis).

Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Linguistics, Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile.
Master of Arts in Latin American Literature, Universidad de Chile.
PhD in Hispanic Studies, The University of Edinburgh.

Postgraduate Supervision (Current)
Mr Henrique Gomes (2020-2024): Coloniality and Structural Racism in Brazil: Epistemic Diversity in Contemporary Brazilian North-eastern Literature and Cinema, PhD, Principal Supervisor.
Ms Cecilia Chen (2022-2026): Phenomenological Analysis of Virtual Reality Film, PhD, Secondary Supervisor.

Postgraduate Supervision (Past)
Ms Leilei Zhang (2021-2023): Images and Memory of Brazil in Memórias do Cárcere (1953) by Graciliano Ramos and Brazil, Land of the Future (1941) by Stefan Zweig, MPhil, Principal Supervisor.

Office Hours:Please email me in advance to book an appointment. These can be either in person or via zoom depending on availability.

For any media enquiries please email me on


American Studies HKU