The PAMLA 2012 Election ballot will be emailed on September 25 to all members who are current in dues for the 2012 calendar year.  Voting must be completed by midnight, October 10, 2012.  If you were expecting a ballot but did not receive an email, please contact [email protected].

Your PAMLA Executive Committee is the body that makes major decisions regarding PAMLA on a day-to-day basis, and that helps to plan the future of PAMLA so that we may continue to serve our members’ needs.  So we really need your help in choosing the best officers possible.

Happily, the Nominating Committee has come up with an amazing slate of potential officers.  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 Grad Student Rep serves a two-year term.  And the two Executive Committee members who receive the most votes will each serve three-year terms.

We’d like to thank and acknowledge the fine work of the Nominating Committee (Sabine Wilke, Thierry Boucquey, and Beverly Voloshin), and most of all the willingness of our candidates to serve PAMLA.

Candidate statements appear below.


Second Vice-President Nominees:

HANS J. RINDISBACHER, born in Switzerland, studied English and German at the University of Bern. He received his PhD from Stanford University in 1989 in German Studies and has been a professor of German Studies at Pomona College since 1995. His research focuses on the intersection of perception, notably the sense of smell, and its textual encodings. He published The Smell of Books: A Cultural-Historical Study of Olfactory Perception in Literature (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1992), a groundbreaking study of literary olfactory representations. He is also interested in the role of Swiss literature within German studies, both in Europe and the US. The book chapter, “Smells of Switzerland,” published in Approaches in Teaching Modern Switzerland (Cambridge Scholar Publishing, 2010) combines his current main research interests. He is presently at work on a project on the roles of perfumery and cosmetics in the Nazi era, as well as on a study of Soviet perfumery, expanding his research from a predominantly literary into a socio-historical direction and into different language cultures. 

Personal Statement: As a longstanding member of PAMLA and local organizer of the 2008 annual conference at Pomona College, I have seen, and been partly involved in, our organization’s development over the past two decades. I would be happy to serve it more closely as its Second Vice President. As an immigrant and speaker of several languages, I am an interdisciplinarian and an internationalist. I strongly believe in the importance of foreign languages far beyond literature and have worked for many years successfully as Pomona College’s Fulbright grant advisor. I would also bring to PAMLA years of administrative experience as a department chair in the intercollegiate environment of the Claremont Colleges. If elected, I would see it as my task to continue the organizational modernization that PAMLA has undertaken in the past few years; to intensify the link with the MLA in order to speak with a stronger voice in the current national educational debates; and to strengthen our vertical ties across educational levels and build constituencies across disciplines. In these difficult times for the humanities and foreign languages, ties to the neurosciences could provide us with powerful new arguments for the value of our educational work beyond the already accepted field of intercultural competence. At the same time and toward these ends, I would develop the unique assets that PAMLA has in its size and its regional roots – both conducive to close personal-professional interaction – the most fruitful kind there is.


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 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 have been a member of the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association since 1998. Some of my most meaningful, inspiring, and collegial scholarly exchanges have occurred when I’ve had the pleasure of engaging with the vibrant and warm 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 highly stimulating discussions between scholars from a wide variety of disciplines. It has been a true pleasure to see the Association’s journal, Pacific Coast Philology, blossom into a venue that provides a place for ever more vibrant scholarly exchange among PAMLA’s members and that likewise garners a readership far beyond the Pacific Coast. Were I to have the honor of being 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. The organization should also continue to address pressing labor concerns in the Academy, including issues of tenure and compensation and benefits for part-time faculty. With its location on the Pacific Rim, 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.


Executive Committee Nominees

(Vote for your top two choices; the two candidates who receive the most votes will become members of PAMLA’s Executive Committee for a three year term):

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.


JOHN D. SCHWETMAN is an Assistant Professor of English at the University of Minnesota Duluth where he teaches twentieth century American and world literatures. He has a BA in English and French from Rice University and a PhD in English from the University of California, Irvine, which he received in 1999. His article on the cityscape in Chris Ware’s graphic novel Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth was published in the International Journal of Comic Arts in early 2012. He has also published on the American cosmopolitan in 2009 in Cercles: La revue pluridisciplinaire du monde anglophone, and on romanticism in the science fiction novels of Richard K. Morgan in Pacific Coast Philology in 2006. He is currently working on an analysis of the rhetoric of transit maps for the journal Transfers: Interdisciplinary Journal of Mobility Studies and on a book on icons of cosmopolitanism in the urban landscape of contemporary literature.

Personal statement: I started attending annual meetings of PAMLA in 2004 in order to maintain my West Coast connections and to be a part of this welcoming intellectual community, and I have not missed one since. I look forward to this opportunity to serve on the PAMLA Executive Committee as it grapples with challenges to the humanities and to American higher education. If elected, I plan to advocate for pragmatic efforts to make the case for a humanities education in terms that people outside of the humanities can understand and appreciate. Our best hope is to pursue humanistic inquiry unapologetically and to continue to connect it to our communities on and off campus through student-centered pedagogies and community-based learning when appropriate. In addition, we must fight the continual erosion of access to higher education that has been taking place for decades. I am eager to join PAMLA’s efforts to address these concerns.


SONIA BARRIOS TINOCO is an Assistant Professor in the Modern Languages and Cultures Department at Seattle University. She teaches Spanish language and Latin American Literature and Film. Her primary research areas range from cultural products on (il)legal immigration to the study of bandits in Latin American literature and film representations of said figures. She recently published an article about the construction of identity through violence taking as a point of reference the famous Mexican corrido in honor of Joaquín Murrieta. She obtained her doctoral degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and she joined Seattle University in 2009. She is currently part of the organizing committee for the PAMLA 2012 conference to be held at her institution.

Personal Statement: The first time I went to a PAMLA conference I was highly impressed with the range of topics, classic and current, and the level of enthusiasm and collegiality of all the members. I wanted to become part of the organization at a deeper level, so I committed to promote the conference and start conversations at Seattle University so we could host it. I am now part of the organizing committee for the conference of 2012 and would like to be more involved and serve a three-year term as part of the Executive Committee. I want to serve in order to promote interdisciplinary dialogues and in order to foster the growth of our fields of study and protect its spaces by discussing and thinking of solutions to the challenges the humanities are facing.


MATTHEW WARSHAWSKY received his Ph.D. from Ohio State University and is Assistant Professor of Spanish at the University of Portland, where he has taught since 2002.  He teaches courses in Spanish composition and conversation, as well as the literature and culture of the Spanish Golden Age and Medieval periods.  Additionally, he has created and taught classes on Hispano-Jewish literature, the Iberian Inquisition, and Spanish for medical and social services professions.  His research focuses on Jewish identity in the Spanish-speaking world, particularly with regard to baptized Catholics of Jewish descent persecuted by the colonial Inquisition.  Recent publications of his have appeared in the Journal of Jewish Identities, Calíope: Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry, and Pacific Coast Philology.  He also serves on the board of the Society for Crypto-Judaic Studies and recently co-organized an international symposium at the University of Portland on Don Quixote. 

Personal Statement: I have been a member of PAMLA since 2006, participating as both presenter and session chair.  I especially enjoy attending the yearly conferences because of the collegiality of other participants and the depth of the various panels.  My scholarship has benefited greatly from the exchange of ideas that occurs at the conferences and in correspondence with members throughout the year.  It would be an honor for me to serve on the Executive Committee and help PAMLA continue to foster dialogue between scholars working across languages and literatures, particularly at a time when humanities programs are increasingly asked to justify their utility.


Graduate Student Representative Nominees

(The candidate who receives the most votes will serve on the Executive Committee for a two-year term):

LAURENCE DUMORTIER is a graduate student in the Ph.D. program in English at the University of California, Riverside. She studied art history at Wellesley College before receiving her M.A. in English at Loyola Marymount University. Her interests include gender and sexuality, visual culture, and Jewish literature and culture. Laurence has presented papers at the 2010 and 2011 PAMLA conferences, and is the presiding officer of this year’s Jewish Literature and Culture panel. She is inspired by the quality of the work presented at PAMLA and by the congeniality and constructive criticism found there. If elected as Graduate Representative, Laurence would focus on empowering graduate students as emergent members of the academy by strengthening bonds among graduate students, promoting relationships with faculty, and sharing knowledge about the job market, professionalization and other related concerns. 


MELANIE HERNANDEZ is a doctoral candidate in English at the University of Washington, Seattle, where she is a Simpson Center Fellow in Public Scholarship, with a focus on service-learning-based pedagogy. Melanie’s current dissertation research on nineteenth and early-twentieth century “passing” narratives takes a comparative ethnic studies approach, tracking Mexican-American racial formations across time against the black-white color line, and using an African-American critical framework to critique exclusionary Chicano identity politics discourses. Melanie proposed and presided over PAMLA’s 2011 conference panel, “Comparative American Ethnic Literature: States of National Belonging,” and will preside again over this year’s “Comparative American Ethnic Literature.” In addition to her research and teaching at the University of Washington, Melanie is a volunteer instructor for University Beyond Bars, and currently teaches Composition at the Washington State Reformatory in Monroe, WA. If elected as Graduate Student Representative, Melanie is interested in fostering dialogue on pedagogical shifts and alternative praxis that is becoming increasingly vital to the survival of defunded institutions, programs, and learning communities if these groups are still to aspire to their stated teaching missions.