Michael H. Handelsman (Weehawken, New Jersey, United States, May 11, 1948) is an American university professor, scholar, literary critic, and writer. He is professor emeritus of Latin American literature at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he has been teaching since 1976. He has directed the university’s Latin American Studies and Global Studies programs. His principal area of specialization is Ecuadorian literature and culture. Some of his books include: “Amazonas y artistas: Un estudio de la prosa de la mujer Ecuatoriana” (1978), “Lo afro y la plurinacionalidad: el caso ecuatoriano visto desde su literatura” (1999), and “Leyendo la globalización desde la mitad del mundo: identidad y resistencias en el Ecuador” (2005) which received the Isabel Tobar Guarderas award in Quito and the A.B. Thomas award in the U.S. He’s also written extensively on Benjamín Carrión, including: “En torno al verdadero Benjamín Carrión” (1989), “El ideario de Benjamín Carrión” (1992) and “Benjamín Carrión: el pensamiento fundamental” (2007). He’s been a visiting professor at the University of Kentucky, the Catholic University of Santiago de Guayaquil (UCSG), and the Simon Bolivar Andean University of Quito. Since November 12, 2012, he’s been a foreign corresponding member of Ecuador’s National Academy of Language.
Michael H. Handelsman is an American university professor, scholar, literary critic, and writer. He has dedicated his career to the study of Latin American literature, with a specialization in Ecuadorian literature and culture. Since 1976, he has been a professor emeritus of Latin American literature at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Handelsman’s contributions include directing the university’s Latin American Studies and Global Studies programs, as well as extensive research, teaching, and writing in the field.
Handelsman’s academic journey began at Gettysburg College, where he graduated Magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish. He furthered his studies at the University of Florida, earning a Master of Arts degree in Romance Languages. In 1976, he completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Romance Languages at the same institution, with his dissertation titled “Amazons and Artists: A Study of Ecuadorian Women’s Prose,” focusing on Ecuadorian women writers. Read it here.
Michael Handelsman was born to Jay and Betty Handelsman (née Feinstein) on May 11, 1948, and he later married Maria Victoria Suarez on June 18, 1971. Together, they have two children named Leah and Alysa.
Faculty and Achievements
Throughout his career, Handelsman has achieved numerous accolades and made significant contributions to academia. Since 1987, he has held the distinguished position of Professor in the Humanities at the University of Tennessee. He has received esteemed awards such as the Alexander Prize for teaching and scholarship in 2004 and the Jefferson Prize in 2008, recognizing his exceptional contributions to research, teaching, and service.
Handelsman’s commitment to fostering global awareness and engagement led to his receipt of the Chancellor’s “Ready for the World” Citation in 2014. He has also been actively involved in professional organizations and academic activities, serving as a visiting professor at various universities and holding membership in editorial boards.
Handelsman is an accomplished author, with a focus on Ecuadorian literature and culture. His publications include books such as “Amazonas y artistas: Un estudio de la prosa de la mujer Ecuatoriana” (1978), “Lo afro y la plurinacionalidad: el caso ecuatoriano visto desde su literatura” (1999), and “Leyendo la globalización desde la mitad del mundo: identidad y resistencias en el Ecuador” (2005).
One of Handelsman’s notable areas of research is Benjamín Carrión, a prominent Ecuadorian writer. He has written extensively on Carrión’s works, including books such as “En torno al verdadero Benjamín Carrión” (1989), “El ideario de Benjamín Carrión” (1992) and “Benjamín Carrión: el pensamiento fundamental” (2007). His contributions to the study of Ecuadorian literature and culture have garnered recognition, with awards like the Medalla de Honor (Gold Medal) from the Metropolitan District of Quito, Ecuador in 2005, and his appointment as an Honorary Professor by the Simón Bolívar Andean University (Universidad Andina Simón Bolívar).
Michael H. Handelsman belongs to these organizations
- American Association of Teachers of Spanish & Portuguese
- Latin American Studies Association
- Tennessee Foreign Language Teaching Association
- South Eastern Council on Latin American Studies
- Asociación de Ecuatorianistas
- Sociedad Ecuatoriana de Escritores
- Modern Languages Association
- El Grupo “América”
Michael Handelsman interview (with Fernando Iturburu)
Michael Handelsman interview (Simon Bolivar Andean University)
Michael Handelsman interview, Critic of Ecuadorian Literature
- Amazonas y artistas: un estudio de la prosa de la mujer ecuatoriana (1978)
- El modernismo en las revistas literarias del Ecuador: 1895-1930 (1981)
- En torno al verdadero Benjamín Carrión (1989)
- Lo afro y la plurinacionalidad: el caso ecuatoriano visto desde su literatura (1999)
- Culture and Customs of Ecuador (2000)
- Género, raza y nación en la literatura ecuatoriana. Hacia una lectura decolonial (2011)
- Guayaquil y sus autores. Un homenaje a algunos clásicos que no se van (2017)
- Representaciones de lo afro y su recepción en el Ecuador. Encuentros y desencuentros en tensión (por salir 2019).
- El ideario de Benjamín Carrión (1992)
- Benjamín Carrión: el pensamiento fundamental (2007)