2018 PAMLA Election

The PAMLA 2018 Election ballot will be emailed soon to all members who are current in dues for the 2018 calendar year. Voting must be completed by midnight, October 30, 2018. If you were expecting a ballot but do not receive an email by October 20, please contact [email protected].

The time has come for PAMLA elections for new members of our Executive Committee. Your PAMLA Executive Committee is the body that makes major decisions regarding PAMLA on a day-to-day basis, helping to plan the association’s future so that we may continue to serve our members’ needs. We require your assistance in choosing the best officers possible. Happily, the Nominating Committee, lead by its chair Andrea Gogrof, has come up with an impressive slate of potential officers. Please take a moment to read through the candidate’s statements and to cast your vote. You will vote for one candidate for 2nd VP, one for Graduate Student Representative, and two for Executive Committee member. The 2nd VP moves up automatically to 1st VP and then to President in consecutive years. The Graduate Student Rep serves a two-year term. And the two EC members who receive the most votes will each serve three-year terms. I’d like to thank and acknowledge the fine work of the Nominating Committee (Chair Andrea Gogrof and members John Ganim and Heidi Schlipphacke), and most of all the willingness of our candidates to serve PAMLA. Now, let the voting commence!

Best, and happy voting, Craig Svonkin, PAMLA Executive Director


Second-Vice President Nominee (Vote for one candidate):


Jeremiah “Jem” Axelrod is Director of the Institute for the Study of Los Angeles [ISLA] at Occidental College in Los Angeles, where he also serves as Associate Professor of Cultural Studies, History, and Urban & Environmental Policy. In addition to a number of articles, he is the author of Inventing Autopia: Dreams and Visions of the Modern Metropolis in Jazz Age Los Angeles, published by UC Press in 2009. He is currently collaborating on a textbook, A Theory Toolkit (under contract with W.W. Norton), designed to help humanities students employ critical theory concepts to construct nuanced and compelling arguments in their writing.

He has been a member of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association since 2003, serving from 2009 through 2011 on the Executive Committee. He has delivered papers at every PAMLA annual conference for the past fifteen years, and has further supported the organization by chairing panels at each of those conferences. Over the years, he has created and subsequently helped usher to permanent status two special sessions: “Science Fiction in Literature and Film” and “Disney and Its Worlds.” Most recently, he has organized a new session on “Los Angeles,” which will be debuting at the upcoming Bellingham conference.

For more about his scholarly work, please consult his CV at inventingautopia.com/Axelrod-CV.pdf.

Personal Statement: In 2003, I co-presented a paper that formed the basis of an article in Pacific Coast Philology (“Reading Frederick Douglass Through Foucault’s Panoptic Lens: A Proposal for Teaching Close Reading” in PCP 39). I’ve been hooked on PAMLA ever since. Although I regularly attend a variety of academic conferences and symposia, and an increasing number of public events beyond academia in my role as Institute Director, PAMLA is the only conference I keep coming back to — as attendee, presenter, and panel chair — year after year without interruption. One reason is that, to me, PAMLA is quite literally like an extended family, and I’ve been thrilled to welcome many old friends, colleagues, and actual family members to our PAMLA community over the years, just as I have been welcomed.

To advance this ethos of collegiality, I believe we can do more to support and encourage graduate students and non-tenure-track scholars. When I served on PAMLA’s Executive Committee, I tried hard to help champion both groups, and I believe one way we might advance that cause is to experiment with bringing smaller, one-day satellite symposia, perhaps in collaboration with organizations in allied humanities disciplines, to some of the vibrant localities across the West which might not sustain our full annual conferences. New inter-institutional and inter-disciplinary partnerships can also extend our reach. For instance, I have been able to leverage my own institution’s resources across a range of departments to support PAMLA on a number of special events, including the 2016 Pasadena conference’s very successful creative session “Straight Out of …: Los Angeles and the Poetry of its Neighborhoods,” moderated by Suzanne Lummis. This memorable poetry roundtable represented, I think, a great way to bridge the scholarly and artistic communities within a specific local context. Similarly, at Portland in 2015, I was able to lead a public interview/discussion with Paul Collins, NPR’s “Literary Detective.” It was a stimulating creative interchange to cap off the day’s sessions and suggested ways to not only inculcate more collaborative and creative session formats, but also potentially broaden the scope and reach of our conference without endangering its collegial and supportive atmosphere. If elected, I will work diligently to innovate and collaborate, while fighting to preserve those things we love about this intellectually stimulating and nurturing scholarly community.


ANDREW HOWE is Professor of History at La Sierra University (Riverside, California), teaching courses in film theory & history, popular culture, and American history. He received his Ph.D. at the University of California, Riverside, in 2005. He has published numerous articles and chapters on popular film and television. Recent and forthcoming scholarship includes journal articles on the depiction of the Calormen in The Chronicles of Narnia (in American, British & Canadian Studies) and on power and governance in The Walking Dead (in the Journal of Popular Television), as well as a chapter on The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada in The 21st Century Western: New Riders of the Cinematic S(t)age (University of New Mexico Press). Andrew’s current research involves the rhetoric of fear employed during the 1980s killer bee invasions of the American Southwest, as well as the debate over the rediscovery of the Ivory-billed Woodpecker in Arkansas, which has taken on a faith vs. science texture. These two works are conceived of as chapters in a book-length project exploring the manner in which societies translate environmental events by employing the familiar rhetorical strategies and vocabularies of existing, sociological problems.


Personal Statement: I have been a member of PAMLA since 2003, when I delivered my first paper at the annual meetings. Since then, I have attended numerous conferences, presenting papers at many of them, organizing panels, and most recently serving on the Executive Committee. PAMLA is a community of scholars, one that encompasses and encourages academics from a variety of disciplines at various stages of their academic journey. One of the strengths of the organization has been, and should continue to be, the encouragement of graduate students to join our ranks, as they bring with them new ideas and vitality. If elected, I would seek to continue encouraging the depth of community so ably fostered by those who have gone before, while seeking to broaden PAMLA’s footprint with allies outside of language and letters who might be helpful as the humanities heads into an uncertain future.


Executive Committee (Vote for two candidates)


Marta Albalá-Pelegrín holds a doctorate in Spanish and Luso-Brazilian Cultures and Languages from the Graduate Center, CUNY. She has taught at Queens College, and Princeton University and is currently an assistant Professor at Cal Poly Pomona. She is also an Associated faculty of the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at UCLA and Affiliated faculty of the Center for 17th and 18th Century Studies at UCLA, an associate of The Mediterranean Seminar and a member of the Comedia in Translation Working Group at UCLA, which publishes translations of Early Modern Hispanic Drama. She has been the recipient of several fellowships and grants sponsored by the NEH, Fulbright HAYS Program, Mellon Foundation, Folger Library, and McGill University, and she has been invited to present her work at Princeton University, UCLA, the University of Barcelona, and CUNY, The Graduate Center. At PAMLA, she has been part of the Local Organizing Committee of the 2016 Pasadena Conference, the Presiding Officer for the Spanish Sessions at the 2017 Conference in Honolulu, has organized numerous panels at PAMLA (8), and has published an essay as part of a Forum in Pacific Coast Philology on Libraries and the fight for hegemony in Early Modern Iberia, which originated in one of the double panels of the 2016 Pasadena Conference.

Her research focuses on the study of Spanish, Italian, and French Early Modern Theater, Mediterranean Literary History, history of the Book, history of Diplomacy, and Visual Culture. She has published articles and book chapters in Journal of Royal Studies, Revista Canadiense de Estudios Hispánicos, E-Humanista, Bulletin of Hispanic Studies, Celestinesca, and Pickering and Chatto.

She is currently working on her book project Entertaining the Pope: International Diplomacy and Performance in the Roman Curia (1470- 1530), which explores the vital role of Spanish patronage in the Roman curia, with a keen eye on the importance that theater came to have for Mediterranean diplomatic enterprises. She is also co-translating with Mac Test the early modern play La Monja Alférez (The Lieutenant Nun) by Juan Pérez de Montalbán, based on the life of Catalina de Erauso, a transvestite nun-to-be that sailed to Latin America, became a soldier and a colonizer by the beginning of the 17th century only to confess her identity at a later age and be bestowed with a papal dispensation and a royal pension for her services to the Crown.

Personal Statement: I actively engaged in the organization of PAMLA panel sessions since 2016, soon after my arrival to the West Coast. As a literary historian, a comparatist, a translator, and a multilingual speaker I am deeply engaged in the interconnection of culture, literature, language and space, as well as in the exploration and reconsideration of our past. My ability to work, do research in several languages, and my continuous commitment with dialogue and intercultural research, that I brought into the classroom makes me appreciate the opportunities that PAMLA offers as a forum in which both researchers of the West Coast and Graduate Students can exchange ideas and enrich themselves from the opportunities that a multidisciplinary conference brings, wide in the range on languages and variety of topics, but disciplinarily attentive. The panels that I organized during the last years brought to PAMLA specialized research in Early Modern Renaissance Studies, creative literature (by inviting literary journals of the East Coast and suggesting inviting Librarians and curators), and translation groups currently engaged in the reshaping of the literary canon both in K12, undergraduate and graduate Theater Studies. I believe in the importance of fostering a dialogue across disciplines and in the importance that both highly specialized research, and educational academic projects have in the composition of a sound and well-informed society and in the formation of future scholars. I conceive PAMLA as a privileged site and forum of discussion that promotes all these initiatives, and exchanges.


Michele Chossat is Associate Professor of French at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. Seton Hill University is a small Liberal Arts university. Innovative Technology and Service Learning are important school activities. Prof. Chossat teaches a variety of courses at all levels in French as well as at the elementary level in Spanish. At the advanced level, she offers a course in Francophone African literatures and cultures and is getting ready to offer a new course on Francophone literature related to Southeast Asia. She is the author of Ernaux, Redonnet, Bâ et Ben Jelloun: Le personnage féminin à l’aube du XXIème siècle (Peter Lang, 2002), and articles that deal with daily life and identity. She is the Coordinator of the Modern Languages program. She is also the Study Abroad advisor for campus. Several years ago and for another college, she directed a European Studies program in Strasbourg, France, for an entire year. She has also traveled abroad with several groups of students. Finally, she was secretary of the Francophone Caucus at the African Literature Association for several years.

Personal Statement: Along the years, PAMLA has become my favorite conference and professional organization thanks to welcoming colleagues and outstanding leadership. My first experience with PAMLA was in 2009 at the San Francisco conference. Since then, I have only missed the Oregon gathering, when I was on Sabbatical leave. After presenting at other enjoyable regional MLA conferences, and given my diverse interests, I found PAMLA to give a broader range of perspectives and fields. There is always a session one can attend and colleagues are very supportive and helpful in sessions. As an elected officer, I will look forward to staying in touch with PAMLA colleagues as well as serving on the Executive committee. Working at a smaller school, my daily routine is all about multitasking. As a participant to the conference, I have already tried to reach out to colleagues to get even more participation in the French programs. I always welcome any fresh ideas that promote the Modern Language cause. I am also interested in consolidating what already works well in the organization. Looking back, I have always enjoyed and learned so much from study abroad opportunities and international films on campus. Therefore, I feel particularly strongly about the importance of Study Abroad as well as opportunities for cultural events on campuses and ways to promote them.


Brigitte Prutti is Professor of German and chair of the German department at the University of Washington, Seattle. She holds degrees in German literature and history from the Karl Franzens Universität Graz, Austria, and the University of California at Irvine. Her areas of research and teaching encompass modern Austrian and German literature since the 18th century, history of drama, modern prose fiction, and gender studies. More recent publications include a monograph on Viennese post-classical theatre and two book-length essays on the Austrian late modernist Thomas Bernhard and the mechanisms of literary distinction as well as on 19th century autobiographical prose. Current research interests include the recent surge of literary regionalism in the context of older practices of regional writing and the theatrical imagination of place with regard to 19th century Habsburg travel accounts to the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East. She serves as guest editor for a themed journal volume on Literary Vienna and is on the board of the Austrian Studies Association.

Personal Statement: I have regularly attended PAMLA meetings since the 1990s and put together many special sessions, including one on “Franz Kafka: New Readings for the 21st Century” last year and a panel on “The Personal and the Literary” this year. PAMLA meetings are a great forum for engaging with colleagues from other disciplines and for testing new ideas. The PAMLA is the one major West coast organization promoting the teaching of world languages and literatures as an integral part of higher education; it is advocating for the Humanities and fostering a productive scholarly exchange across disciplines and generations. As a board member, I hope to support the key elements of its mission.


Matthew Warshawsky earned his B.A. in Latin from Swarthmore College and Ph.D. from Ohio State University. He has taught at the University of Portland since 2002, where he is professor of Spanish and chairs the Department of International Languages and Cultures. His teaching covers Golden Age and Medieval Spanish literature, Hispano-Jewish literature and culture, and the Spanish language. He is the author of The Perils of Living the Good and True Law: Iberian Crypto-Jews in the Shadow of the Inquisition of Colonial Hispanic America (Juan de la Cuesta-Hispanic Monographs, 2016) and, co-edited with James A. Parr, Don Quixote: Interdisciplinary Connections (Juan de la Cuesta-Hispanic Monographs, 2013). Additionally, his articles and reviews have appeared in publications including Colonial Latin American Review, Pacific Coast Philology (PAMLA’s journal), Partial Answers, and Sephardic Horizons. Previously he served a three-year term as vice president of conference programs for the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies.

Personal Statement: I have been a member of PAMLA since 2006 and have presented in every yearly conference during this time. These gatherings have been especially meaningful not only because of the opportunities they offer to connect with professional colleagues whom I might not otherwise see, but also because I enjoy meeting panelists in fields unrelated to my own and learning about their research. Over the years my scholarship has grown thanks to the exchange of ideas that occurs at the conference and in correspondence with members throughout the year. Chairing the Department of International Languages and Cultures at the University of Portland and previously organizing the conference program of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies have provided valuable experience that would be helpful were I to be elected to the Executive Committee. At a time when humanities programs must work ever harder to justify their importance in the face of societal pressure to valorize higher education for transactional reasons, I am excited by the opportunity to serve PAMLA as it helps advance the transformational potential of the study of languages and literatures.


Graduate Student Representative (Vote for one candidate)


Emily “Emma” Butler-Probst is a Ph.D. student and Graduate Teaching Associate at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. She received her B.A. from Metropolitan State University of Denver and her M.A. from the University of Colorado, Boulder. In her program at UT Knoxville, Emma studies the intersection of nineteenth-century American literature and religion. Her research focuses on the ways that Herman Melville and other nineteenth-century authors incorporate subversive biblical references in order to wrestle with the nature of belief and doubt. In a larger sense, she is fascinated by questions of epistemology, especially the ways in which faith, doubt, and delusion can dramatically alter that which individuals know to be true. Emma’s undergraduate thesis focused on Melville’s use of madness as a warning for the obsessive pursuit of absolute truth and her M.A. thesis explored Melville’s ongoing cyclical journey from skepticism to faith and back to skepticism. In 2017, Emma published “Raciocultural Union and ‘Fraternity of Feeling’: Ishmael’s Redemption in Moby-Dick,” an article which explores Ishmael’s personal adoption of Queequeg’s cultural identity as a mock conversion narrative which results in multicultural salvation. Emma received the Trotsky Fellowship in recognition of completing an exemplary first semester in her M.A. program at CU. She is also the recipient of the Herman E. Spivey Humanities Graduate Fellowship which is reserved for the most promising incoming graduate students at UT Knoxville.

Personal Statement: I have been an active presenter at PAMLA since 2014 when I was a Junior in my undergraduate program. In the years since then, I have presented several papers, served as a session chair, and even proposed my own special session on “Epistemologies of Sight and Touch in American Literature.” I have also had the opportunity to assist with the logistical side of PAMLA’s conference planning, and, through this experience, I have learned about the hard work that goes into making this conference an exceptional annual event. I have thrived in the welcoming atmosphere that PAMLA provides to student scholars, benefiting from the resources this organization offers so that graduate students can come and share their research with other scholars. PAMLA offers a beautiful picture of young scholars working alongside experienced scholars, mutually enriching one another. While I have presented at other conferences, PAMLA is the only conference I have attended that feels like a true family, one that I would be honored to support and strengthen. If elected to the position of Graduate Student Representative, I would love to advance current PAMLA Graduate Representative Raymond Rim’s worthy project of creating a special Graduate Student-focused session. I would be particularly interested in forming sessions around the subjects of Graduate Student pedagogical methods and the unique position of graduate students who often teach undergraduate courses while also attending classes of their own as students. I believe it would be valuable to explore graduate student liminality and the way that these dual roles may enhance approaches to both teaching and learning. I know that a significant portion of PAMLA’s encouraging atmosphere comes from effective representation and an excellent Executive Board. Because of this, I would cherish the opportunity to speak on behalf of my fellow graduate students so that students like myself may continue to have a voice and feel welcome.


Zachary Ramon Fitzpatrick is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Before entering the doctorate program, he completed his Master’s thesis on camp and comedy in recent Turkish German film. In addition to his studies, he is the head teaching assistant, teaching beginner language courses, as well as facilitating German and European cinema courses. Later this year, he will begin writing his dissertation on how Germany has imagined and represented Asia and Asians throughout the history of cinema and television.

Personal Statement: I am honored to have been nominated as Graduate Student Representative for PAMLA’s Executive Committee. When attending my first PAMLA conference, I appreciated not only the sheer range of fascinating panels, but also the enthusiasm of participants engaging with panelists and furthering discussion. Before joining PAMLA, I was driven by a similar sense of intercollegiate collaboration, helping to co-organize an interdisciplinary graduate student conference for the humanities at my university. In addition to research, my foot is firmly planted in pedagogy. For three consecutive years, I have served as my German department’s head teaching assistant. If elected, it would be my privilege to help represent and voice the concerns of the current generation of graduate students, both as young academics and young teachers.