2017 PAMLA Election


The PAMLA 2017 Election ballot will be emailed soon to all members who are current in dues for the 2017 calendar year. Voting must be completed by midnight, November 5, 2017. If you were expecting a ballot but did not receive an email, 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 future of PAMLA 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 John Ganim, has come up with an amazing slate of potential officers. Please take a moment to read through the candidates’ statements and to cast your vote. You will vote for one candidate for 2nd VP, and two for Executive Committee member. The 2nd VP moves up automatically to 1st VP and then to President in consecutive years. 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 John Ganim, and members Heidi Schlipphacke and Cheryl Edelson), and most of all thank our candidates for their willingness to serve PAMLA. Now, let the voting commence!

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




PAMLA 2017 Nominees for Executive Committee: (You may vote for two)

Melissa Axelrod

Melissa Axelrod is a Professor in Linguistics at the University of New Mexico. She is a specialist in Athabaskan languages, having worked on Northern Athabaskan since 1981. She has published a book and many articles on the Koyukon language and has collaborated on volumes of texts and pedagogical materials, as well as a comprehensive dictionary. She has been working on language revitalization efforts in the Southwest since 1995, working with the Mescalero, Plains, and Jicarilla Apache communities, and with the Sandia Tiwa, and Nambe, Pojoaque, and Tesuque Tewa Pueblos. She has been involved in projects with the Jicarilla Apache community since 1996, in particular, as PI of the NSF-funded Dictionary of Jicarilla Apache project (Abáachi Mizaa Láo Ilkee’ Shijai: Dictionary of Jicarilla Apache. By W. Phone, M. Olson, and M. Martinez. UNM Press, 2007).  Her work on a dictionary and pedagogical materials with the Language Program at Nanbé Pueblo began in 2001, also funded by an NSF award. The comprehensive Dictionary of Nanbé Tewa will be printed for community use this year. She has also been working with colleagues on a documentation project for Ixhil Mayan, involving a trilingual grammar and pedagogical materials. She has been working on the O’odham Ñe’ok Revitalization Project since 2009. She was recently awarded the Linguistic Society of America’s Ken Hale Prize for her work on language documentation.

Personal Statement:

I have been attending PAMLA for many years, both presenting papers at the Linguistics session and also, more recently, chairing that session. Although the Linguistics component of PAMLA is fairly small, I treasure the opportunity that the larger conference provides for conversation and collaboration across disciplines. If elected to the Executive Board, I would welcome the prospect of helping to maintain the academic richness of these conferences and the valuable experience it provides for both young and more established scholars.


Michele Chossat


Michele Chossat is Associate Professor of French at Seton Hill University in Pennsylvania. Seton Hill University is a small Liberal Arts university, a school founded by the Sisters of Charity a century ago. A substantial amount of her time is spent teaching elementary language courses in French and Spanish, and also a course in Francophone African literatures and cultures. Lately she has been developing a course in Southeast Asian Literatures and cultures. She is the author of Ernaux, Redonnet, Bâ et Ben Jelloun: Le personnage féminin à l’aube du XXIème siècle (Peter Lang, 2002), and a few articles that deal with daily life and identity. She is presently the Coordinator for Modern Languages. She is also the Study Abroad advisor for her 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 with several groups of students. Finally, she was secretary of the Francophone Caucus at the African Literature Association for several years.


Personal Statement:


My first experience with PAMLA was in 2009 at the San Francisco gathering. Since then, I only missed the Oregon gathering as 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 be looking forward to staying in touch with PAMLA colleagues as well as serving on the Executive committee. I always welcome any fresh ideas that promote the Modern Language cause. I am also interested in consolidating what already works well. Looking back as a student, I really enjoyed and learned so much from study abroad opportunities and international films on campuses. 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.

Fulvio Orsitto

Fulvio S. Orsitto is Director of the Georgetown University study center in Fiesole (Italy). He previously worked as Director of the California State University Study Abroad program in Florence (a. y. 2014-2015) and, between 2008-2014, as Director of the Italian and Italian American program at California State University, Chico (at the rank of Associate Professor). He holds a Ph.D. in Italian Cultural Studies from the University of Connecticut (2008), and has published numerous essays and book chapters on Italian and Italian American cinema, and on Italian Literature. His book publications include the edited volumes The Other and the Elsewhere in Italian Culture (2011) and Cinema and Risorgimento: Visions and Re-Visions (2012). In 2012, he co-edited with Simona Wright Vol. XXXIV of the NeMLA Journal of Italian Studies, a special issue devoted to Contemporary Italian Cinema. In 2014, he has published with C. Peralta and F. Caramaschi the manual Film and Education. Capturing Bilingual Communities. More recently, he co-edited the following volumes: Cultural Contaminations (2014 – with S. Wright) Pier Paolo Pasolini. American Perspectives (2015 – with F. Pacchioni), Cultural Crossings (2016 – with S. Wright), TOTalitarian ARTs: The Visual Arts, Fascism(s), and Mass-Society (2017 – with M. Epstein and A. Righi), and The Italian Economic Boom in Cinema, Television and Literature (forthcoming in 2017 – with U. Perolino).


Personal Statement:

My involvement with PAMLA extends back to 2008. As soon as I moved to California to work at CSU Chico, I started presenting at PAMLA conferences on a regular basis, organizing and chairing numerous panels as well. At PAMLA I found a very supportive network of colleagues from different disciplines and institutions, a community thriving upon the sharing of ideas. Hence, in the past years it has been a pleasure to have contributed to the growth of the Italian, Cultural Studies and Cinema Studies contingent at the Conference (given my background in these areas). If elected, I look forward to broadening and promoting the continued strength and vitality of PAMLA as a member of its executive board, making use of my previous academic experience and of my current involvement with administration and study abroad. I will put the versatility and expertise I have acquired during my academic and administrative career at the service of the executive board, and work hard to give back to an organization that has done so much for my growth as a scholar.


Peter Schulman

Dr. Peter Schulman is the author of The Sunday of Fiction: The Modern Eccentric (Purdue University Press, 2003) as well as Le dernier livre du siècle (Romillat, 2001) with Mischa Zabotin. He has edited a critical edition of Jules Verne’s The Begum’s Millions (Wesleyan University Press, 2005) and recently translated  a meditation on waves by Marie Darrieussecq, On Waves (VVV editions, 2014) and Ying Chen’s Impressions of Summer (Finishing Line Press, 2016); Jules Verne’s last novel The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz (University of Nebraska Press. 2012) as well as Suburban Beauty from poet Jacques Reda (VVV editions, 2009) and Adamah from Céline Zins (Gival Press, 2010). He is currently co-editor in chief with Josh Weinstein of a new journal of eco-criticism, Green Humanities: A Journal of Ecological Thought in Literature, Philosophy and the Arts and is at work on a book on French filmmaker Alain Resnais for the University of Mississippi Press and a translation of Jules Verne’s unpublished plays, A Thousand and Second Night and Other Plays by Jules Verne (West Warwick, RI: Bear Manor Fiction, The Palik Series, 2017). In addition to his publications, he is also President and Producer of the Haberdasher Theater in NYC and Columbus, and is at work on a documentary titled American Cinemathèque with director Robin Paez. He translated Marie Nimier’s play Noel revient tous les ans which was performed in NYC and Columbus Ohio in November by the Haberdasher Theater Company. He has organized international film festivals and started a yearly Virginia Beach-Quebec Poetry Festival with the Maison de la Poesie in Montreal. He was elected to the MLA Executive Committee of the Division of Twentieth-Century French Literature (2004-2009) and the executive committee of the Societé des Professeurs Français et Francophone (SPFFA) since 2001. He currently serves on the Editorial Board of five different journals including The French Review, Nouvelles Francographies, and French Studies in Southern Africa.


Personal Statement:


I’m deeply appreciative of the creative and broad scope of PAMLA and its openness to new voices and research. I’m deeply committed to the Pacific Northwest and Southern California but also appreciate how PAMLA attracts scholars and contributors from around the world. It is this synergy of international reach and local examinations that make PAMLA so unique and dynamic. I have also reviewed articles for Pacific Coast Philology, a journal that is such an important and proud part of the PAMLA mission, and have enjoyed organizing panels and given papers on subjects as diverse as the Brooklyn Dodgers, Aki Shimazaki or Jacques Rivette. I want to see PAMLA continue to nurture young and older scholars alike from all aspects of PAMLA’s increasing subjects of inquiry and perhaps organize non-convention PAMLA events throughout the Northwest such as poetry readings and poetry in translation events; environmental round tables and film screenings with discussions.


PAMLA 2017 Nominees for 2nd Vice President: (Please vote for one)


Martin Kevorkian


Born and schooled in California, Martin Kevorkian is Professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, where he has served as Associate Chair, Interim Chair, and (currently) Director of the English Honors Program. Kevorkian earned a BS in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University, with Honors in the Humanities. He then received an MA in English at Stanford before earning his PhD at UCLA. He is the author of Color Monitors: The Black Face of Technology in America (Cornell UP, 2006) and Writing beyond Prophecy: Emerson, Hawthorne, and Melville after the American Renaissance (LSU, 2013), as well as articles in American Quarterly, ELH, NLH, Renascence, Leviathan, and the Nathaniel Hawthorne Review. In addition to his work on technology and race in contemporary culture and on the literature of the American Renaissance, he has published essays on John Ashbery, Samuel Beckett, Tim Burton, and Alfred Hitchcock.


Personal Statement:


I am personally grateful to PAMLA for many years of wonderful conferences that have nourished my academic life. I’ve been an avid panel-goer and presenter since 2010, the same year that I first chaired a session, something that I have been happy to be able to do on a number of subsequent occasions. I was particularly honored to be asked to present at a PAMLA Forum in 2013, and have also had a chance to serve as a presiding officer for a standing session. In the course of making minor contributions to the amazing institution that is PAMLA, I have incurred a major sense of debt, and, more than that, developed a love for the uniqueness that I hope will continue to flourish through PAMLA’s stewardship of its scholarly and artistic community. Perhaps the most important term in Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association is the word “and.” Just as we are Ancient and Modern, we are both old and young: I particularly value the ways that PAMLA encourages and seeks materially to support the work of graduate students, and I would like to extend that legacy of nurturing young scholars. We are also very much an “and” organization methodologically: PAMLA is a place where I have felt equally at home presenting on both “The American Renaissance and the Aspiration to Prophecy” and “Serial Frankensteins and the American Detection of Apocalypse.” Through conferences rooted in specific Pacific sites, brought to life by both scholarly inquiry and creative expression, PAMLA welcomes the broadest spectrum of what languages can achieve, and that approach is one that I will continue to celebrate in whatever capacity I may in future be able to serve the association.

Leonard Michael Koff

Leonard Michael Koffis an Associate of the UCLA Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies (CMRS) and has degrees from Columbia (B.A., M.A.) and the University of California, Berkeley (M.A., Ph.D.). He has developed and taught courses at UCLA, on campus and online, including Homer and James Joyce, the Literature of Existentialism, Technology and Human Values, and Banned Books, and courses in Comparative Literature’s humanities sequence.  He has lectured in this country and in Europe on such subjects as literature and philosophy, the shared texts of Western religious identity (Jewish, Christian, Islamic), Cicero, Freud, and Emmanuel Levinas, and he has spoken twice on distance learning at Salahaddin University-Erbil for the Ministry of Higher Education, Iraqi Kurdistan. Leonard has written Chaucer and the Art of Storytelling (University of California Press) and published essays on medieval literature and medievalism: his essays on Chaucer and Gower appear in MLA’s Approaches to Teaching series.  Leonard has lectured on Targum Sheni (the Second Targum) of the Book of Esther at the XI Cardiff Conference on the Theory and Practice of Translation in the Middle Ages (hosted by the Austrian Academy of Science’s Institute for Medieval Research), at the Association for Jewish Studies, at the Annual Conference of the Medieval Association of the Midwest (MAM) in Madrid, and at UCLA. His recent essay, “Adaptation as Translation,” given in Vienna, is forthcoming in The Medieval Translator.  Leonard is co-editor of The Decameron and the Canterbury Tales: New Essays on an Old Question, for which he wrote on the Clerk’s Tale; and co-editor of two volumes from Brill: Mobs that includes his essay “Elias Canetti and the ‘Biology’ of the Crowd,” and Time: Sense, Space, Structure that includes his essay “No-Time in Non-Places.”  


Personal Statement:

Although I’m a relative newcomer to PAMLA, I jumped in feet first actively and happily in 2014. I organized the “Ancient-Modern” session for PAMLA 2014 and the “Bible in Literature” special session for PAMLA 2015, 2016, and 2017: its current iteration for the conference in Hawaii is “Biblical Visions in Literature.” And I’m proposing a special session for PAMLA 2018 on banned books and the development of the canon; such a session would encourage discussion of the changing maps of cultural value and the papers from such a session would, I think, make a strong special edition of Pacific Coast Philology. My talk at PAMLA 2014 on the seventeenth-century Kurdish court poem, Mem û Zîn—Kurdish literature should figure in any consideration of court literature generally—is forthcoming from Harrassowitz Verlag (Wiesbaden). Clearly, I’m grateful to those who spoke to me about my paper at the session in which I gave it, after the session, and at coffee the next day. PAMLA has offered me, as it clearly offers all its members—I’ve experienced this first-hand—serious occasions, in formal sessions and outside of them, to talk about ideas and their cultural contexts; these are the pleasures of intellectual life.  I’d welcome the chance as 2nd Vice President to work for continuing strong, collegial exchanges at PAMLA, which provides scholars, teachers, graduate students, and those who value discussion a strong, highly supportive community.