Constitution & Standard Operating Procedures

Constitution of the Association


Sec. 1 – This society shall be known as the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association.

Sec. 2 – Its object shall be the advancement and diffusion of knowledge of ancient and modern languages and literatures.


Sec. 1 – The officers of the Association shall be a President, First Vice President, Second Vice President, General Editor(s) of Pacific Coast Philology, Advancement Officer/Treasurer, and Executive Director. The President and Vice Presidents shall be elected for one-year terms with a pattern of succession at the end of the term as follows: the Second Vice President shall become the First Vice President; the First Vice President shall succeed to the Presidency. The General Editor(s), Executive Director, and Advancement Officer/Treasurer shall be appointed for renewable three-year terms. The Advancement Officer/Treasurer will serve as part of the Audit Committee in charge of reviewing the Association’s financial records.

Sec. 2 – There shall be an Executive Committee composed of the above officers, the immediate past President, and six other members. The immediate past President will serve for one year. The six other members of the Executive Committee shall be elected for three-year terms with two members elected each year. In addition, one graduate student member shall be elected for a two-year term.

Sec. 3 – The above officers and members of the Executive Committee shall be elected by electronic ballot and their names announced at the annual General Membership Meeting. Their term of office will begin at the conclusion of that General Membership Meeting.

Sec. 4 – Officers and Executive Committee members, with the exception of the General Editor(s), the Executive Director, and the Advancement Officer/Treasurer, ordinarily may not be re-elected to succeeding terms in the same office.


Sec. 1 – Anyone interested in language and literary studies may become a member of the Association upon application to the Executive Director and the payment of the first year’s annual dues.

Sec. 2 – The amount of annual dues shall be determined by the Executive Committee, with the approval of the members.


Sec. 1 – The Association, which first met in San Francisco in 1899, shall hold an annual fall conference at a western city determined at the preceding conference of the Association.

Sec. 2 – There shall be a General Membership Meeting at each conference, at which time the Executive Committee shall present an annual report on the progress of the Association.

Sec. 3 – Action on any item at the annual General Membership Meeting, including resolutions, amendments to the Constitution, and changes in operating procedure, will require a quorum equal to ten percent of the membership listed on record. If such a quorum is not present, the Executive Committee is empowered to act on the agenda of the General Membership Meeting unless ten percent of those in attendance request an electronic mail ballot on action items. If the electronic mail ballot produces less than a ten percent response, the Executive Committee shall be empowered to act on the item(s).

Sec. 4 – The general arrangements of the proceedings of the conference shall be directed by the Executive Committee.

Sec. 5 –Special meetings may be held at the call of the Executive Committee, when and where they may decide.


Sec. 1 – All papers to be read at the conference must be approved in advance by the presiding officers of the appropriate Sessions. When called upon, the Executive Director shall make the final decision concerning papers.

Sec. 2 – Publications of the Association, of whatever kind, shall be made only under the authorization of the Executive Committee.


Sec. 1 – Amendments to this Constitution may be made by a vote of two-thirds of those present at the General Membership Meeting, providing a quorum is present. Proposed amendments must be sent to the general membership at least 60 days prior to the General Membership Meeting.

Sec. 2 – Changes in the operating procedures of the Association, as distinct from its Constitution, may be made by a majority vote of those present at any General Membership Meeting, providing a quorum is present.


Standard Operating Procedures

The operating procedures of the Association are generally determined by the Executive Committee in conformity with the Constitution. Members may propose changes by writing to the Executive Committee. The Committee presents its decisions for approval to the members at the next General Membership Meeting.


Invitations to the Association from institutions that wish to host the annual conference are received by the President and acted upon by the Executive Committee. The Executive Director, working in collaboration with the other officers, in particular with the Second Vice President, will secure commitments from institutions and/or conference centers that wish to host the annual conference several years in advance. A written commitment should be in hand at least one year prior to the conference date. At each year’s General Membership Meeting, the Executive Committee shall announce the conference location for the following year.

A Local Committee of members from the host institution is responsible for securing and providing facilities for the conference, for securing funds for the Plenary Speaker in an amount determined by the Executive Committee, and for reporting its arrangements to the Executive Director. The President appoints the chair of this committee, who, in turn, selects its other members.

At each annual conference, the Executive Committee shall hold a meeting to review the Association’s health and discuss important Association matters.

At each conference, the President, in meeting with the Executive Committee, appoints an Auditing Committee, consisting normally of two members, which examines the books of the Executive Director and reports to the other members at the General Membership Meeting.

Anyone submitting a paper for possible presentation at the conference or serving as an officer, discussant, or participant in the sessions, workshops, seminars, or panels must be a dues-paid member of PAMLA for the current calendar year.


The same paper may not be submitted to more than one session, but presiding officers may reroute a paper to a second session. More than one paper may be submitted to different sessions, provided the presiding officers are informed at the time of submission. Normally, presiding officers may not accept more than one paper from a colleague or graduate student in their own institutions. Normally, presiding officers may not read a paper in the same session over which they preside. A member may preside over two sessions if not presenting a paper, but only one session if presenting a paper at the conference, may not present more than one paper at a conference, nor have a paper read in absentia. The Executive Director and presiding officers shall resolve any conflicts that may arise.


The following General (Standing) Sessions present programs at the Association’s annual conference: 21st-Century Literature; Adaptation Studies; African American Literature; American Literature before 1865; American Literature 1865-1945; American Literature after 1945; Ancient-Modern Relations; Anime and Manga; Architecture, Space, and Literature; Asian American Literature; Asian Literature; Austrian Studies; Autobiography; Beyond Binaries; Bible and Literature; British Literature and Culture: To 1700; British Literature and Culture: The Long Eighteenth Century; British Literature and Culture: The Long Nineteenth Century; British Literature and Culture: 20th and 21st Century; Carceral/Prison Studies; Children’s Literature; Classics (Greek); Classics (Latin); Comics and Graphic Narratives; Comparative American Ethnic Literature; Comparative Literature; Comparative Media; Composition and Rhetoric; Creative Writing; Critical Theory; Cultural History; Digital Arguments; Digital Studies; Disability Studies; Disney and Its Worlds; Drama and Society; East-West Literary Relations; Fantasy and the Fantastic; Feminisms; Film and Literature; Film Studies; Folklore and Mythology; Food Studies; French; Gay, Lesbian and Transgender Literature; Germanic Studies; Gothic; Hip Hop Poetics; Horror and the Supernatural; Indigenous Literatures and Cultures; Italian; Italian Cinema; Italian Ecocriticism; Jewish Literature and Culture; Latina/o Literature and Culture; Linguistics; Literature & the Other Arts; Literature and Religion; Medieval Literature; Middle English Literature, including Chaucer; New Italians; Oceanic Literatures and Cultures; Old English Literature, including Beowulf; Poetry and Poetics; Post-Colonial Literature; Religion in American Literature; Rhetorical Approaches to Literature; Romanticism; Science Fiction; Shakespeare; Spain, Portugal, and Latin America: Jewish Culture & Literature in Trans-Iberia, Spanish and Portuguese (Latin American); Spanish and Portuguese (Peninsular); Teaching with Media and Technology; Teaching Writing Across the Disciplines; Television Studies; Travel and Literature; Veterans Studies; Video Game Studies; Western American Literature; Women in Literature; Young Adult Literature and Culture.

The General Sessions are open-topic, paper-reading sessions. Any General Session that does not convene for two consecutive years will be struck from the roster. It may be reinstated upon written request by twenty members of PAMLA. Each General Session has its presiding officer. At the conclusion of each Session’s program, the presiding officer calls for nominations from the floor for the office of presiding officer and conducts an election by written ballot. Candidates for the office must be members of PAMLA. The nominee receiving the most votes will be presiding officer the following year. In the event that any presiding officer is unable to serve, the Executive Director of the Association, acting for the Executive Committee, will designate another member to take his or her place.

The presiding officers are responsible for drawing up the programs of their own sessions and for submitting them to the Executive Director. The presiding officer will also file a report with the Executive Committee immediately following the conference. This report will include a brief summary and evaluation of the Session’s program, the results and statistics of any elections, as well as attendance figures. The presiding officers should include evaluations and suggestions from those in attendance. The Executive Committee will use these reports, and other appropriate information, to review the sectional structure of PAMLA and, as needed, make suggestions for modification at the next annual General Membership Meeting.


Workshops, seminars, or panels on any topic with a special focus and more specific focus than those of the General Sessions may be proposed for each conference at the written request of any member of PAMLA. Proposals should be sent to the First Vice President by December 15 of the year preceding the conference so that they may be evaluated and selected with a view to a balanced program. The workshop, seminar, or panel presiding officer will be responsible for inviting participants, designing the program, and submitting it to the Executive Director. No more than one presenter may be from the presiding officer’s own institution.

After meeting for a period of three consecutive years, a special session may be considered for general session status upon petition from at least two PAMLA members.


Sessions last for one and a half hours. In drawing up the program of their own sessions, presiding officers are responsible for the format and for ensuring that a minimum of 15 minutes be allowed for discussion, including participation from the audience, which they shall facilitate. They shall accordingly adjust the number and length of presentations in their session.


An organization may apply for allied status to PAMLA, to be granted at the discretion of the Executive Committee for a five-year renewable term. Allied organizations may hold one session, not to exceed one and one-half hours, at the PAMLA conference. Participants in such special sessions must be members of PAMLA.


Pacific Coast Philology publishes peer-reviewed essays of interest to scholars in the classical and modern languages, literatures, and cultures in two issues annually, a general issue and a special topics issue. Both issues are published through Penn State University Press. Essays may be submitted any time throughout the year. While articles that grow out of papers delivered at the Annual Conferences of PAMLA are welcome, PAMLA members are encouraged to submit essays independently of the conference as well. PAMLA membership is not required to submit to PCP; however, membership is required for publication. Normally, up to five reviews of recent works by PAMLA members will be published in the regular issue of the journal, and members may be solicited to submit their books for review. Additional monographs serving the interest of the Association may be published, when funds are available, under the authorization of the Executive Committee.

The general issue of Pacific Coast Philology is edited by the General Editor(s), in consultation with the Editorial Committee, consisting of the incoming President and the First and Second Vice Presidents. The General Editor(s) shall organize an election of an Editorial Board and the appointment of members to the Advisory Board. Members of the editorial board and the advisory board may serve as referees of those manuscripts having the best potential for publication. In addition to the board members, the General Editor(s) shall contact specialists in the field as referees of the submitted essays and make the final selection of essays. The Executive Director is authorized to pay expenses for one editorial conference each year.

The special topics issues are edited by guest editors. Any PAMLA member(s) may suggest a topic to the General Editors, the Editorial Committee, the Editorial Board, and the Advisory Board and be selected as guest editor(s). The guest editor solicits manuscripts; obtains reviewers; and works with the General Editor(s) to fulfill the duties specified in the agreement with Penn State University Press.

Due to the diversity of the readership, all essays submitted to Pacific Coast Philology should be in English.

Pacific Coast Philology is managed by a General Editor(s), appointed for renewable three-year terms by the Executive Committee. The General Editor(s) perform(s) the managerial duties as described in the agreement with Penn State University Press, including soliciting essays; appointing a book review editor; organizing the nomination and election of an editorial board as well as the nomination and appointment of an Advisory Board (12-15 scholars or professionals). The General Editor(s) of the regular issue and the guest editor(s) of the special issues perform(s) or oversee(s) all editorial functions, including ensuring peer-review of essays; communicating with authors about receipt and decisions with respect to manuscripts’ acceptances; and preparing manuscripts according to Penn State University Press guidelines. The General Editor(s) sit(s) on the Executive Committee in an ex officio capacity, making annual reports on the production and finances of the journal and presenting proposals concerning the journal.


Each year the president appoints a Nominating Committee, consisting of the three most recent former Presidents of the Association. When it is impossible for a past-President to serve, the current President may fill that vacancy. The Nominating Committee shall nominate two candidates for each vacant office (except the President and First Vice President when succession follows the order described in the Constitution, Article II, Sec. 1; the General Editor(s); the Executive Director; and the Advancement Officer/Treasurer), giving fair representation to the several geographical areas and literary and linguistic fields of the members. The individuals nominated as General Editor(s), Executive Director, and Advancement Officer/Treasurer will be approved by the Executive Committee before taking office. In addition, any member of the Association may initiate a petition nominating additional members as candidates for the office of Second Vice President and for each of the vacancies on the Executive Committee. Petitions must be signed by at least 25 members of the Association and presented to the Executive Director by March 1.

The Executive Director shall prepare an official ballot of the nominations proposed by the Nominating Committee and any additional nominations proposed by petition of members of the Association (see preceding paragraph). The ballot will be sent electronically in a timely fashion. Members must return ballots in time to arrive at the office of the Executive Director by the announced deadline. The nominees receiving the highest number of votes shall be declared elected, and their names shall be announced at the General Membership Meeting. In the case of a tie vote, the Executive Committee votes to break such a tie. In the case that an Executive Committee member cannot serve out his or her term, the Executive Committee votes for a replacement for the remainder of the term.


Annual dues to the Association are $50.00 regular membership, $30.00 for lecturers, and $25.00 for graduate students and emeriti. A regular multi-year membership (three years) is available for $135.00 and lifetime membership for $450.00. All persons attending conferences of the Association will be charged a registration fee beyond the regular membership fee sufficient to help defray expenses of the conference.


At the beginning of each calendar year, the Executive Director sends to all members of record at the close of the preceding year a Call for Papers to be given at the conference in the fall. This mailing will also include the minutes of the last General Membership Meeting, as well as a report of all actions taken by the Executive Committee, and any other information of interest to the membership. The immediate past President will approve the minutes before they are mailed, and the members will approve them at the next General Membership Meeting.

The Executive Director is responsible, with the assistance of the Sessions’ presiding officers and the chair of the Host Committee, for the preparation and publication of a program of the conference. Conference participants who are not members by the time of publication of the conference program will be dropped from the program.

Remuneration of the Executive Director, and allotments to him or her for secretarial assistance, are determined by the Executive Committee, subject to approval by the members. By decisions of the Executive Committee as ratified in the Regular Plenary Sessions of 1967 and 1973, the Association pays for expenses incurred by the Executive Director in attending the conference or other meetings on behalf of the Association and not reimbursed from other sources. The financial allowance made by the Association to the Executive Director was set in 2014 at a total of ten thousand dollars. At the November 9, 2017 Executive Board Meeting, the Board raised the Executive Director’s annual compensation to thirteen-thousand dollars. In the same meeting, the Board approved the creation of an Assistant Director position (to be compensated at a reasonable rate). At the October 21, 2022 Executive Board Meeting, the Executive Director’s annual compensation was raised to twenty-thousand dollars. Members of the Executive Committee may be reimbursed, if funds are available, for travel on behalf of the Association.

The Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association has been affiliated since its founding as the Philological Association of the Pacific Coast in 1899 with the American Philological Association, and since 1917 with the Modern Language Association of America. The Executive Director or a representative of PAMLA is a voting member of the MLA Delegate Assembly representing the region.


The Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) and Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association (RMMLA) agree to share the cities of Las Vegas, Nevada and Spokane, Washington as convention sites. When either association anticipates locating a conference in one of these cities, it is expected to notify the other association of its intent when negotiations begin and before finalizing a contract. PAMLA and RMMLA further agree that any conferences they schedule in Las Vegas or Spokane will not be held in the same city in the same year or in contiguous years.

The PAMLA region includes the full states of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington (with the exception of Spokane). Canada will be divided following the state line between Washington and Idaho, going north; everything west and north of that line is in the PAMLA region, including the province of British Columbia, Canada.

The RMMLA region includes the full states of Arizona, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada (with the exception of Las Vegas), New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming, and portions of Texas agreed upon with South Central Modern Language Association. Canada will be divided following the state line between Washington and Idaho, going north; everything east and north of that line is in the RMMLA region, including the province of Alberta, Canada.

RMMLA or another regional MLA may be permitted to hold a conference in PAMLA’s above-specified territory only upon prior approval by PAMLA’s Executive Director in conjunction with the PAMLA Executive Committee, and subject to an agreed-upon “out-of-region usage fee.” (This out-of-region allowance does not affect the above-stated PAMLA-RMMLA agreement concerning the shared cities of Spokane and Las Vegas.)

Likewise, upon prior approval by the appropriate regional MLA’s Executive Director in conjunction with their Executive Board, PAMLA is willing to pay an agreed-upon “out-of-region usage fee” to book a conference out of its territory.

The PAMLA Executive Director in conjunction with the PAMLA Executive Committee reserves the right to refuse any and all offers by other regional MLAs to use any location in our above-specified territory.

Territorial Agreement ratified by the PAMLA Executive Committee on November 8, 2012, and approved by a vote of the PAMLA General Membership.