The PAMLA 2011 Election ballot has been emailed to all members who are current in dues for the 2011 calendar year.  Voting must be completed by midnight, October 31, 2011.  If you were expecting a ballot but did not receive an email, please contact [email protected].

In November, the terms of two of our Executive Committee members will expire; Sophie Delahaye of Washburn University and Jeremiah B.C. Axelrod of Occidental College will be stepping down from the Executive Committee after three years of terrific service to PAMLA.  We are fielding four candidates for these soon-to-be-open Executive Committee positions.  Please vote for two candidates out of the four nominees for the Executive Committee.

We are also electing a new Second Vice President.  After two years of vice presidential service, the person we elect will assume the PAMLA Presidency. We are fielding two candidates for this position; please vote for one of them.

We would like to thank this year’s candidates, six accomplished individuals and committed PAMLA members, for agreeing to run for the open positions. We feel the candidates truly represent the intellectual diversity and vibrancy and the dedication to service of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association.

Candidate statements appear below. 



CHERYL EDELSON is Associate Professor of English and English Discipline Coordinator at Chaminade University of Honolulu. Her research and teaching interests include American Literature, the Literary Gothic, Film and Television Studies, and Popular Culture. Her publications include “Reclaiming Plots: Albert Wendt’s ‘Prospecting’ and Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl’s Ola Na Iwi as Postcolonial Gothic” (forthcoming in Neo-Victorian Gothic: Horror, Violence, and Degeneration in the Re-imagined Nineteenth Century on Rodopi Press). Since 2007, Cheryl has served as the co-organizer for the Oceanic Popular Culture Association Conference—a meeting that convenes annually in Honolulu, attracting scholars from around the world. In 2010, Cheryl Edelson served as Site Chair for the PAMLA Conference, held at her home institution, Chaminade University of Honolulu.  That same year, she also received the President’s Award for contributions to the field of popular culture studies from the national Popular Culture/American Culture Associations. 

Personal Statement: I believe that my professional background and my experiences with PAMLA render me an ideal candidate for the office of second Vice President. Born and raised in Southern California, I joined PAMLA as a graduate student at UC Riverside in 2000. Since then I have regularly presented at the annual PAMLA conference, as well as the national MLA convention. In addition to speaking on my own research at PAMLA conferences, I also consistently serve as Area Chair for subjects ranging from “American Literature before 1865” to “Science Fiction” and “American Gothic.” Most recently, in 2010, I enjoyed the honor of chairing the PAMLA Conference Site Committee at my home institution, Chaminade University of Honolulu; I believe that this conference was a great success. My own experiences as an active teacher-scholar engaged in intellectual communities throughout the Pacific will guide my Vice Presidency. If elected to this office, I shall work to strengthen ties between PAMLA’s active West Coast members and Hawaii’s scholarly communities. Moreover, I believe that it is important for PAMLA to encourage and support graduate student involvement with the annual conferences.  I would also like to facilitate additional participation of creative writers as part of the continuing scholarly conversation with traditional academics at future PAMLA conferences.


HEIDI SCHLIPPHACKE is Associate Professor of German and Director of the B.A. in International Studies at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA. She has been a member of the PAMLA since 1998.  She received her Ph.D. in German Literature from the University of Washington, and she has enjoyed retaining strong ties to colleagues in the Western United States ever since. Her research focuses on gender, kinship and aesthetics in the European Enlightenment and in post-fascist German and Austrian literature and film. She also enjoys writing about queer popular culture.  She is the recipient of research fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service. She teaches courses in German and Austrian Studies, in Gender and Queer Studies, in Film Studies, in Jewish Studies, and in International Studies.  Her published academic work on authors and filmmakers including Ernst Marischka, Ingeborg Bachmann, Elfriede Jelinek, Tom Tykwer, and Goethe has appeared in journals such as Modern Austrian Literature, Screen, Camera Obscura, The German Quarterly, and Journal of English and German Philology, among others. Her book, Nostalgia After Nazism: History, Home and Affect in German and Austrian Literature and Film, appeared with Bucknell University Press in 2010.

Personal Statement:  I believe that the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association is a particularly vital body for the exchange of scholarly ideas. I have been a member of the Association since 1998, and I have always enjoyed engaging with the vibrant and personable community of PAMLA scholars. I had the privilege to serve on the PAMLA Executive Committee from 2006-2009, an experience that gave me a deep appreciation for the commitment of the members of the Executive Board. In this capacity, I was particularly pleased to be able to take part in conversations about the shape of the Association and about ways to increase participation in the conference while still retaining the intimate and highly productive atmosphere PAMLA members enjoy. I have been gratified to see the growth of the annual forum, which fosters cross-disciplinary conversations about issues of central concern to all of us. I have likewise been excited about the development of a number of new interdisciplinary panels that have encouraged stimulating discussions between scholars from a wide variety of disciplines. Were I to be elected to the position of Second Vice President of PAMLA, I would hope to contribute in meaningful ways to discussions about disciplinarity, about the changing face of academia in the 21st  century, and about the challenges the Humanities face in hard economic times. I believe PAMLA should continue its mission to speak as a unified body when language programs and departments are under threat across the country. With its location on the Pacific Rim, the PAMLA is uniquely connected to cultures in Asia and the Pacific, a connection that enables institutions and scholars in this region to offer a singular perspective on global issues. I am excited to see what the future holds for PAMLA. 



SUFEN SOPHIA LAI is Associate Professor of English at Grand Valley State University in Michigan where she teaches world mythology, scriptures as literature and East Asian civilization. She enjoys doing research in the areas of comparative mythology and East-West literary relations. Her recent works include a linguistic study entitled “Chinese in Taiwan: Cooking a Linguistic Chop Suey and Embracing English” in Globally Speaking: Motives for Adopting English Vocabulary in Other Languages (2008, Rosenhouse and Kowner, eds.) and a literary biography of Guo Pu (276-324) in Classical Chinese Writers of the Pre-Tang Period (2010 Curtis Smith, ed.). She is currently working on the issues of race and ethnicity in Chinese nüguo (kingdom of women; the Chinese Amazons) narratives. She loves learning languages (currently studying Hebrew and Italian) and long-distance cycling.

Personal Statement: I have been a PAMLA member since 2003, participating both as presenter and session officer. I am quite fond of attending PAMLA conferences because I appreciate the inclusiveness of this scholarly association that embraces both ancient and modern languages and includes the Medieval and Renaissance periods in its dialogues. I also enjoy PAMLA’s locality and cultural environment that exudes a coastal outlook. Being a student of Comparative Literature (particularly pre-Modern Asia’s literary relation with the West), I hold dear the values of comparative studies and interdisciplinary dialogues. If elected, I hope to support PAMLA’s capacity to generate more such dialogues.


ELISE MAGISTRO holds a doctorate in Italian from UCLA and has taught at Scripps College since 1986.  Her research focuses on late nineteenth and early twentieth century Italian women authors and the writers of Sicily. She has published essays on Maria Messina and Grazia Deledda and is the translator of a collection of short stories Behind Closed Doors: Her Father’s House and Other Stories of Sicily (New York, The Feminist Press, 2007).  Her most recent publications include a co-authored reader developed for intermediate and advanced students (Letture divertenti: Umorismo, (New York, Edizioni Farinelli, 2010). In addition, she has participated in numerous PAMLA conventions as both session chair and presenter.

Personal Statement:  The study of languages and literatures is – and must remain – a critical component of a comprehensive undergraduate education. The PAMLA offers those of us who perpetuate this belief an ideal forum in which to discuss present and future challenges in our field. Issues of paramount concern are the declining relative attractiveness of language and literature majors and the need for increased efforts to promote the essential value our field offers to other disciplines. It is my conviction that through sustained and supported dialogue, we will discover innovative, practical solutions that will serve fellow and future PAMLA scholars in their pursuits.


AILI ZHENG is assistant professor at Willamette University. She teaches German language and literature, culture and film. She also serves as a faculty member in the Film Studies Program, and as an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Asian Studies. She participates as a faculty member and student advisor in International Studies, as well as in the College Colloquium for freshmen. Her research contributions are in twentieth century German and Austrian literature, culture and film, as well as in Chinese film. Of particular interest are intermedial and transcultural approaches to cinematic representation. Her work-in-progress is a monograph titled “Transformations: Schnitzler’s Drama from Print to Stage and Film.”

Personal Statement:  In these times of shifting educational policies, shrinking budgets, complex cultural practices, but also wonderful opportunities for language programs, the PAMLA plays an important role in our professional lives.  I would be pleased to contribute to the goals and activities of PAMLA by serving on the Executive Committee. 

While I would meet all Committee responsibilities to the best of my ability, I would be especially interested in three areas:

  • Globalization of cultural products and its effect on the undergraduate language curriculum.
  • Visual literacy. While doing research at the Institute of Cultural Studies in Berlin, I became impressed by the importance placed on teaching film at all levels. Our students know film, but mostly do not know how to critically engage this medium.
  • Collaboration and sharing of experience. Meeting with colleagues at PAMLA is an excellent way to explore research ideas and compare teaching strategies across disciplines.

Ultimately, the Committee represents the interests and concerns of the membership; I would keep this foremost in my priorities.


EMILY TAYLOR MERRIMAN is Assistant Professor in English (currently on leave) at San Francisco State University, where she teaches twentieth-century poetry from Britain, the United States, and the Caribbean.  She has a B.A. in English and Modern Languages (French) from Oxford University, a teaching certificate from London University, and graduate degrees from Boston University.  Her published work includes essays on Gerard M. Hopkins, William Blake, Geoffrey Hill, Alan Moore, Linton Kwesi Johnson, and Adrienne Rich.  She serves as co-book review editor for The Hopkins Quarterly.  Her current book manuscript, Poetry’s God, studies the theology in verse of Geoffrey Hill, Derek Walcott, and Charles Wright.

Personal Statement: In 2009 I enjoyed serving as co-chair of the organizing committee for the PAMLA conference when it was held at San Francisco State University.  It would be an honor to continue to serve PAMLA, a vibrant organization that supports literature and language scholarship through its annual conference, its publication of Pacific Coast Philology, and its advocacy for the humanities.