2022 PAMLA Election Nominee Statements
October 6, 2022
Dear PAMLA members,
The time has come for our annual PAMLA elections for new officers of our Executive Committee. If you are current with your PAMLA membership, in the next few days you will receive an emailed ballot link to vote for new officers. Your PAMLA Executive Committee is the body that makes major decisions regarding PAMLA on a day-to-day basis. They help 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, led by its chair Professor Martin Kevorkian, has come up with an impressive slate of potential officers. Please take a moment to read through the candidates’ statements and then cast your vote. You can vote for one candidate for Second Vice President, and two for Executive Committee Member-at-large. The Second Vice President moves up automatically to First Vice President and then to President in consecutive years. The two Executive Committee Members-at-large nominees 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 Martin Kevorkian and members Stanley Orr and Katherine Kinney). And a great debt of gratitude goes out to all of our candidates for their willingness to serve our association should they be elected. We know we are all busy, so thank you, candidates, for your dedication to service! Now, let the voting commence.
Craig Svonkin, PAMLA Executive Director
Candidates for Second Vice President (please vote for one nominee):
Peter Schulman is Professor of French and International Studies at Old Dominion University where he was just designated “Eminent Scholar.” He is the author of The Sunday of Fiction: The Modern French Eccentric as well as Le Dernier Livre du Siècle with Mischa Zabotin. He is currently co-editor in chief of an online journal of eco-criticism, Green Humanities, and has co-edited the following books: The Marketing of Eros: Performance, Sexuality and Consumer Culture; Chasing Esther: Jewish Expressions of Cultural Difference; and Rhine Crossings: France and Germany in Love and War. He is currently working on a Kolkata-US poetry anthology, Nights at the Calcutta Café. He has translated Jules Verne’s last novel The Secret of Wilhelm Storitz; George Simenon’s The 13 Culprits; Marie Darrieussecq’s On Waves; Suburban Beauty from poet Jacques Reda; Adamah from poet Celine Zins; and Ying Chen’s collection of haiku, Impressions of Summer. His translation of Marie Nimier’s play Another Year, Another Christmas was performed by the Haberdasher Theater company in Columbus Ohio and New York City in November 2017. He co-hosts a podcast series on Contemporary Quebecois Writers and Filmmakers, and one on Contemporary French Musicians. He was Associate Producer on the 2019 documentary I Found It at the Video Store (dir. Robin Paez), which has screened at the Richmond and Austin Film Festivals. He currently organizes a yearly poetry festival between Norfolk, VA and Montreal, and a city-wide Night of Ideas in conjunction with the world-wide initiative sponsored by the French Cultural Services.
Personal Statement: I am deeply honored to be nominated by the nominating committee to run for the position of PAMLA’s 2nd VP. Since I first joined the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association back in 2005 when I proposed a special session on “Representations of the Brooklyn Dodgers in Contemporary American Fiction,” I have been energized by the spirit of collegiality, creativity, and openness that allows scholars of all stages of their careers – from undergraduates to emeriti – to test out and share ideas in a welcoming, warm, and constructive forum. The creativity and energy of PAMLA’s membership and leadership has been a source of great stimulation for me and were I elected to 2nd VP, I would work hard to help grow PAMLA in original ways that would highlight the strengths of our Annual Forum, our Pacific Coast Philology journal, and most importantly encourage and foster such new initiatives as David John Boyd and Juan Delgado’s exciting PAMLA Arts Matters website. It has been such a pleasure serving as a member-at-large on PAMLA’s Executive Committee for the last three years, as I have seen how exciting it is to work collaboratively with such an enthusiastic and imaginative team. I have a passion for brainstorming and realizing projects as diverse as film and poetry festivals, special ecological and artistic events, and even directing zoom and radio plays, and I am eager to come up with new ideas to help promote PAMLA in as many ways and as inclusively as possible while also being a source of support for all colleagues in their struggles during difficult times. We live in an era when the Humanities are under constant threat, but I strongly believe that PAMLA can be a source of support and on the vanguard of their defense as it continues to be a model for diversity, accessibility, and interdisciplinarity.
Enrico Vettore is the chair of the Graziadio Center for Italian Studies and Professor of Italian Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Born in Padua, Italy, he earned his BA in Contemporary Italian Literature from the University of Padua and a diploma in classical guitar form the Pollini Music Conservatory in Padua. After his BA, Enrico was awarded a scholarship to study in Modern Greek Literature and spent five years in Thessaloniki, Greece, where he also started teaching Italian as a second language.
Enrico was awarded his MA in Italian and his PhD in Romance Languages at the University of Oregon, Eugene. After two years as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Italian at Kenyon College (Gambier, OH), he was hired at California State University, Long Beach, in 2007. His research interests are: Italian Literature, Italian Studies, Zen Philosophy and Literature, Ethics and Literature, Jungian and Post-Jungian Literary Criticism, Ecocriticism, and Ecopsychology. He has published articles on Petrarch and Schopenhauer, Roberto Rossellini, Sciascia and Manzoni, Schopenhauer’s concept of “eternal justice” in Borges and Sciascia, a Jungian reading of Pasolini’s Medea, a Zen reading of Pirandello’s One, No One and One Hundred Thousand, and the chapter “Lose your Self: Gianni Celati and the Art of Being One with the World.” Currently, he is working on a Zen interpretation of Pirandello’s last collection of short stories, and on a book project on Gianni Celati and ecocriticism.
Personal Statement: I have been a member of PAMLA since 2012, and since then I have either organized, chaired, or presented at all editions of the PAMLA conference. Each time, no matter the location (the Pacific Northwest being my favorite ones, landscape-wise), it has been a wonderful experience. I have had the opportunity to listen to very interesting, thought provoking, and sometimes inspiring presentations, and to exchange ideas with like-minded scholars. Spending some time among peers in a relaxed but intellectually stimulating environment feels like entering a little oasis that helps you regroup before the end of the semester: it is a recharging experience that improves your teaching performance. Moreover, the exchange of ideas does not stop there, for the interaction with colleagues usually marks the beginning of fruitful collaborations, or of a beautiful intellectual exchange that many of us long for, especially when the administrative requirements of our jobs seem to do their best to kill the joy of teaching and researching. PAMLA has done that for me every time I have presented a paper or organized and chaired a panel.
Finally, in summer 2022 I was offered the opportunity to be a member of the Sedenquist International Scholarship committee. This more administrative PAMLA experience has been as pleasant as my academic ones, proving that collaboration with PAMLA colleagues works, whatever the task at hand. The mutual respect, the desire to serve, and the synergy among members during our meetings was highly effective and heartwarming.
I am honored to have been asked to run for the position of Second VP. Having the opportunity to play an active role to contribute to the well-being and growth of this organization is very rewarding, and I look forward to doing my best to keep PAMLA a lively hub from which to grow together, both intellectually and as human beings.
Candidates for Executive Committee’s Members-at-Large (please vote for up to two nominees):
Dawn Dietrich graduated with her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan and is currently Associate Professor of English at Western Washington University (WWU), where she engages in the multi-disciplinary field of Cultural Studies of Science and Technology with its intersections in the Digital Humanities. Dawn teaches a range of courses from Cybernetic Fiction: Narrative in the New Media Ecology to Post-Millennial Film, New Materialism, and Theories of Affect, offering classes in new media, film, experimental literature, and graphic narratives and comix. She has published in journals such as Film Quarterly, Contemporary Literature, and Word & Image: A Journal of Verbal/Visual Enquiry. Most recently, she is featured in the Special Issue of Pacific Coast Philology, “Ways of Seeing: Visuality, Visibility, and Vision,” guest edited by Andrea Gogrof (vol. 54, issue 2: 2019), with her essay, “’For America to Rise It’s a Matter of Black Lives/And We Gonna Free Them, so We can Free Us’: 13th and Social Justice Documentaries in the Age of ‘Fake News.’” In addition to directing the English graduate program and the University-wide Common Reading program (Western Reads) at WWU, Dawn has served on several non-profit boards, including the Pickford Film Center and the Lummi Island Heritage Land Trust. Engaging in participatory research within communities and collaborating on goals through a shared vision is something she values highly. This form of public “research and scholarship” happens collaboratively within a community, with rich opportunities for cross-cultural exchange, including working on tangible problems or goals that go beyond critique and have the ability to affect the material conditions of people and places.
Personal Statement: It is an honor to be nominated for Member-at-Large on the PAMLA Executive Committee. Like most candidates on this roster, I became an ardent PAMLA supporter because of Craig Svonkin, whose ability to create a warm and welcoming conference for everyone is legendary. This conference, centered in community and lacking in one-upmanship, is really its own phenomenal attraction within academic circles. Over the course of a decade, it has been my pleasure to act as Presiding Officer for sessions as diverse as Film Studies, Graphic Narratives and Comics, Comparative Literature, and Multimodal Pedagogies. 2022 is one of the few years that I will not be in attendance, and only because I am going up for full professor and wasn’t able to travel this quarter. I routinely bring graduate students to PAMLA to support their professional development, and I relish seeing my former students (now colleagues) as well. PAMLA is that kind of place. In addition to leading panels at PAMLA, I always volunteer at the conference (usually at the registration desk). This behind-the-scenes role gives me a chance to meet a lot of graduate students from other institutions (PAMLA’s future leadership) and to welcome new PAMLA participants as their first point of contact. Additionally, in 2018, I was delighted to serve on WWU’s site committee when PAMLA was held in Bellingham, WA; and I worked with Craig and the committee to secure funding and event venues. PAMLA has played a large role in my professional development for which I am thankful.
If I am elected, I will commit to giving back to this organization—first by listening to understand where the needs are as well as what is already underway—and then by using my leadership experience and my skill set to support the committee’s goals. Of particular interest to me is supporting leadership culture (anywhere) with education around ADEI; continuing to think about the ways that PAMLA might partner with and/or support public forms of scholarship and creative activity; creating opportunities for academic research to be leveraged within economic and political spheres where material problems might be impacted; and supporting graduate student career development explicitly: educating students early about wages, market demands, trends, exploitation, and pitfalls as well as offering about a full bevy of career options beyond academic paths. Finally, recovering financially from the Covid years might make thinking about long-term, sustained funding sources and/or fundraising a timely topic for PAMLA.
Ellen Finkelpearl is Professor of Classics/Ancient Studies at Scripps College where she has taught since 1988. Her degrees are from Princeton and Harvard. She has published widely on Latin literature and the ancient novel, particularly the novelist, Apuleius. She currently is working on the representation of animals as artists and musicians in Greek and Roman Imperial literature. Most recently, she collaborated with animal rights philosopher, Peter Singer, on an abridged version of Apuleius’ Golden Ass that highlights his great empathy for animals (Norton 2021).
Classics is an embattled field in the contemporary world. In teaching and scholarship, Finkelpearl has always been interested in the muted voices of antiquity that parallel current social struggles: what was it like for Apuleius to be a colonized North African under Roman rule? How did Aesop, an enslaved Phrygian, navigate his world and how did his work allow enslaved people in the Roman world to speak in code? As a nearly life-long vegetarian, she is interested in lesser-known ancient texts that endow animals with sentience and emotion. She has taught and written on gender roles in Greek and Latin texts. In recent work, she draws on theories of contemporary art and music in her discussion of animal artists in ancient texts.
Personal Statement: I have been attending and presenting at PAMLA for decades, scarcely ever missing a year, serving on the Executive Committee from 2011-14. What I most appreciate about PAMLA is that, of all the MLAs, PAMLA alone includes Classics, so that we Classicists can attend and participate in sessions on the contemporary world. The open and non-combative atmosphere provides a space to present work in progress fearlessly and plan sessions far outside our fields; this past year I organized a session on Venturi and Scott Brown’s architectural manifesto, Learning from Las Vegas. The “Creative Spotlight” adds a welcome non-academic feature to the conference.
If elected, I would mostly like to support and promote all that is already great about PAMLA, but would endeavor to integrate Classics more into thematic sessions; why not add an ancient perspective to “Architecture and Space,” “Masks and Masking,” “Geographies of the Fantastic and Quotidian,” “Literature and Religion?” My project in life is to show that Classics has much to contribute to contemporary conversations.
Satoko Kakihara is Associate Professor of Japanese at California State University, Fullerton. She received her Ph.D. in Literature from University of California, San Diego, in 2014, after completing her B.A. in English and Linguistics and M.A. in Linguistics at Stanford University. At CSUF, Satoko teaches courses on Japanese language, literature (medieval, modern, and contemporary), and culture (including animation and film). At previous institutions (including Nagoya University in Japan after completing her Ph.D.), she also taught research methods in cultural studies, undergraduate writing, and English as a Second/Foreign Language. She has published in such venues as the electronic journal of contemporary japanese studies, the Japanese Studies journal, and the CATESOL Journal. She has also contributed to such volumes as Teaching Postwar Japanese Fiction (MLA, forthcoming 2023), Culinary Nationalism in Asia (Bloomsbury Academic, 2019), Asia-Pacific Film Co-productions (Routledge, 2019), and Migrant Identities of “Creole Cosmopolitans” (Peter Lang, 2011). Her first book, Women’s Performative Writing and Identity Construction in the Japanese Empire, is forthcoming from Lexington Books, an imprint of Rowman & Littlefield, at the end of 2022.
Personal Statement: I have been a part of the PAMLA community in different ways, from first presenting at its 2013 conference as a graduate student, to serving as the presiding officer for its Asian Literature and Culture standing session (in 2014, 2017, and 2019), to proposing and presiding over the Asian Film and Media special session (in 2021 and 2022). I also served on the selection committee for the 2021 Pacific Coast Philology Outstanding Article Award.
If elected as a Member-at-Large of the Executive Committee, I would have much to learn—but having been born and raised in Japan but completed my higher education in California, I know the challenges and opportunities of working with students and scholars across cultural and linguistic borders; as a CSU faculty member, I understand the need for research support from entities separate from our institutions, amidst teaching and service obligations; and having worked as a writer before my doctoral program, and currently working in literary translation from Japanese to English, I recognize the possibilities in careers that blend training in literatures and languages with alternative and creative outlets. As a Member-at-Large, I aim to serve PAMLA in ways that empower it to continue serving the needs of our membership.
Aili Zheng is associate professor at Willamette University. She teaches German language and literature, as well as culture and film in the Department of Global Cultural Studies. She also serves as faculty member in the Cinema Studies Program, International Studies, and Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She participates as an affiliated faculty member of the Center for Asian Studies as well. 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 most recent article, “Performance, Performativity, Spectacle: Arthur Schnitzler, Der junge Medardus,” appeared in The Palgrave Encyclopedia of Urban Literary Studies.
Personal Statement: In these times of shifting educational policies, shrinking budgets, and challenges posed by COVID-19, the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association plays an important role in our professional lives. I greatly admire its conference programming, its various resources for keeping abreast with trends and developments, and the collegial atmosphere of its annual meeting. 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:
- Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in Undergraduate Language Curriculum:
Discussions within our PAMLA community on how to build DEI into a foreign language class and focus on pedagogical practices supporting student engagement with DEI.
- The Role of Foreign Languages in General Education:
Some institutions have reduced the foreign language requirement; therefore, it becomes even more important to advocate for the learning of a second language in the curriculum for General Education.
- Collaboration and Sharing of Experience:
Meeting with colleagues at PAMLA is an excellent way for exploring research ideas and comparing teaching strategies across disciplines.
Ultimately, the PAMLA Executive Committee represents the interests and concerns of the membership; I would keep this foremost in my priorities.