The candidates' biographies and statements of purpose follow. Please vote before February 20, 2019, 11:59 PM Eastern.

Second Vice President

Bernadette Wegenstein


Professor Wegenstein is full professor of media studies at Johns Hopkins University, where she founded the Center for Advanced Media Studies. Professor Wegenstein has a PhD in Romance Languages and Linguistics from Vienna University and studied Semiotics in Bologna (with Umberto Eco), Anthropology in Paris, and did a post-doc in Comparative Literature and Film at Stanford University.

She has authored several books in the field of media studies, including Getting Under the Skin: Body and Media Theory (MIT Press, 2006), The Cosmetic Gaze: Body Modification and the Construction of Beauty (MIT Press, 2012), the edited volume Reality Made Over: The Culture of Reality Television Makeover Shows (2008), and the Internet book Living Books About Life: Cosmetic Surgery (2011). She has published numerous articles on body criticism and media culture and is currently working on a monograph about the filmmaker Jane Campion. Her film and documentary work brings together feminist thought and practice, cultural criticism, and anthropological research methods. She has produced and directed the documentaries Made Over in America (Icarusfilms, 2007), See You Soon Again (The Cinema Guild, 2012), The Good Breast (Icarusfilms, 2016), Devoti tutti (currently in post-production), and We Conduct (currently in production).

Statement of Purpose

I have been a member of NeMLA, as well as SLSA, for many years. I am eager to take on tasks of community-building within an organization that values the fields of media studies and feminist studies and gives them visibility. NeMLA is the ideal organization to be involved with because of its commitment to social justice, inter-culturalism, under-represented communities and cultures, and feminism. If elected, I would be eager to work with the board to prepare the Annual Convention's return to Baltimore in 2022, a city which has recently been nicknamed "America’s Comeback City" and "The City that Reads." As a member of the board, I will work to develop areas that help bridge theory and practice, in order to bring out the emergent study of the connections between lived experience and its theorization, from the grounds up, ever more strongly.

Creative Writing, Publishing, and Editing Area Director

Abby Bardi


Dr. Abby Bardi has an MFA in Creative Writing and a PhD in English from the University of Maryland and is the author of three novels: The Book of FredThe Secret Letters, and Double Take. She taught in the United Kingdom and Asia for a decade before locating to the Metropolitan DC area, where she is a Professor of English at Prince George's Community College as well as coordinator of their writing center. She is also an adjunct professor of English at University of Maryland University College and their course chair for creative writing and British literature. In addition to her academic interest in creative writing, she works on the trope of the Gypsy in British literature and on South Asian film.

Statement of Purpose

Since its inception, creative writing as an academic discipline has changed dramatically, evolving from the traditional Iowa-style workshop and its ultra-literary forms into a more capacious and inclusive collection of styles and practices. While other disciplines in the humanities suffer from dramatic enrollment losses, creative writing programs appear to be holding their own. When I first attended the AWP conference in Chicago in 2004, total attendance was 4,100; the 2012 conference in Chicago had over 10,000 attendees and ultimately sold out.

In the wake of the ongoing expansion of the field and its consequent changes, we desperately need new opportunities for professional growth. My goal in joining the board of NeMLA would be to build its creative writing concentration to allow for more diverse approaches and voices and to offer more opportunities for creative writing scholarship.

My ideas for enhancing creative writing at NeMLA include the following:

  • Using diverse formats to accommodate multiple voices
  • Offering more panels on scholarship and praxis
  • Creating workshops and panels on pedagogies
  • Providing more opportunities for readings by local authors
  • Fostering an international perspective

NeMLA's high-caliber academic tradition provides the field of creative writing with a solid basis for investigations in our field that are both professional and creative, and my goal is to facilitate those.

Patrick Thomas Henry


Patrick Thomas Henry is Instructor of Creative Writing at the University of North Dakota, where he teaches undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in creative writing. His fiction and criticism have recently appeared in or are forthcoming from the Massachusetts Review, Response, European Romantic Review, Fiction Southeast, Souvenir Lit, and Passages North, amongst other publications. He also serves as the fiction and poetry editor for Modern Language Studies, and he hosts the journal's fiction and poetry podcast, The Sidebar. Find him online at or on Twitter @Patrick_T_Henry.

Statement of Purpose

It’s an honor to be nominated for the position of Creative Writing, Publishing, and Editing Director on the NeMLA board. NeMLA's recent conference themes demonstrate our collective dedication to the values of inclusivity and civic engagement. These values are also at the heart of current movements and debates in this area of inquiry—from Viet Thanh Nguyen's recent call to transform the workshop, to PEN/America's defense of freedom of expression, to the work of nonprofit outreach programs like PEN/Faulkner's Writers-in-Schools program. NeMLA offers a space to amplify these projects and hold vibrant discussions on how we—as artists and critics—can promote the public humanities through creative writing and publishing. One beginning is to continue NeMLA's dedication to hosting readings and panels that put scholars, creative writers, and editors into a dialogue with one another—programming that I would certainly continue. I would also pursue opportunities to forge connections between NeMLA and other important voices in our literary community, including independent booksellers, the editors of journals and small presses, and directors of nonprofit arts organizations.

In our moment of austerity politics, however, the humanities are confronting new political pressures. One of my aims as area director would be to provide NeMLA members with a forum to investigate how the crafts of writing, editing, and publishing can help literary studies (and the humanities writ large) in the face of daily challenges, like the recent threats to the University Press of Kentucky and the University of Montana's MFA program. As the wave of post-recession austerity continues to shape higher education in the United States, creative writing and publishing need to be prepared for these issues—which means being open with students and colleagues about the pressures these industries face, as well as candidly discussing the profession alongside traditional topics like craft, technique, and the publication process.

In my creative writing, criticism, editorial work, and teaching, I situate creative and critical work as complementary projects. This is in part because my membership in NeMLA has been a crucial and generative part of my development as a writer, scholar, and editor. For these reasons, it would be a privilege to serve the NeMLA membership in this position, and I welcome the opportunity in this important moment for the humanities.

French and Francophone Language and Literature Area Director

Olivier Le Blond


Olivier Le Blond earned his Doctorate in French and Francophone Literature at University at Buffalo in 2014. His research interests lie in, but are not limited to, gender and LGBT+ representations in French and Francophone literature. He is currently an Assistant Professor of French at the University of North Georgia where he has been teaching since spring 2015. He teaches a variety of beginner, intermediate, and upper-level courses in French. He is also the Senior Co-Director of the UNG Gender Studies Council for the 2018-2019 academic year, overseeing gender-related course offerings, and sponsoring and promoting gender-related events at the university with other members of the council. He has published a book review in The French Review, one article in Nouvelles Études Francophones, and co-authored an article in Women’s Studies International Forum. He has contributed a chapter in Éduquer en pays colonisé, edited by Franck Collin (Université des Antilles), expected to be published soon.

Statement of Purpose

When looking over my candidacy for the position of NeMLA's French and Francophone Language and Literature Director, one may wonder why I am interested in such a position when I live and work in Georgia. The answer to this question is simple: I have strong ties to the Northeastern part of the United States, having lived and studied in Buffalo, New York, for almost seven years. My first NeMLA experience was as a graduate student, during the 42nd annual convention in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Not only did this first experience confirm my research interests, but it also cemented the topic of my dissertation. I have since made it a point to attend the convention as often as possible, expanding and exploring new topics related to gender and LGBT+ representations in French and Francophone literature.

One of the main challenges of any convention is to make sure that panels represent a wide variety of topics, as well as ensuring good attendance for each of them. If selected as the French and Francophone Language and Literature Director, I will make it a point to foster and promote the diversity that exist in the field of French and Francophone Language and Literature by helping to create a varied and thought-provoking program that will attract attendees during upcoming conventions. As such, the publicization of board-sponsored events and sessions are one of the ways in which I plan on promoting NeMLA's French and Francophone language and literature area, all the while selecting and inviting speakers that will not only contribute to the convention's overarching theme of the year but will also foster discussion among attendees.

I very much look forward to the opportunity to work with other language-specific area Directors, as well as the Executive Board and to help with one of the nation's major conventions that not only promotes but also shows the vitality of Modern Languages at a time when the Humanities are cast aside in favor of the Sciences.

Richard Schumaker


I believe my academic background, professional experience, and dedication to NeMLA programs qualifies me for the NeMLA directorship in French Language and Literature.

I was born and raised in Northern California and graduated from the University of California with a degree entitled "European Literature-Philosophical Aspects." Throughout my career, I have pursued this dual perspective.

After a year of independent language study, I started the program at the University of Paris IV (Sorbonne), from which I earned three graduate degrees. My focus at Paris IV was on the reflection of Heidegger and Nietzsche on modern literature. During that time, I had the good fortune to work with Henri Birault, Emmanuel Levinas, Michel Haar, and Sarah Kofman. Toward the end of this period, I was hired to teach for one of the Maryland state universities, which had a very large program in most of the European countries. I spent over two decades in that position.

Living and teaching in Europe for so long was inspiring. I had a chance to learn the European national cultures deeply, co-edit "Focus on Robert Graves and His Contemporaries," teach innumerable traditional and interdisciplinary courses, and work for the University of Trier in an interdisciplinary program. I was co-organizer and presenter at many conferences and film festivals in in France, Germany, England, Spain, Italy, Scotland, Belgium, Russia, the People’s Republic of China, and, of course, the United States. Throughout this time, I presented many times on Stendhal, Balzac, Zola, Barbusse, and occasionally on Descartes and Corneille.

Statement of Purpose

Between 2015 and 2018, I was the NeMLA director of comparative literature.  During this time, I expanded the comparative literature presence at NeMLA by using a three-fold approach: propose director's conference sessions; develop aspects and areas such as South Asian Studies and philosophical themes that had been somewhat neglected at NeMLA; pro-actively contact departments globally about NeMLA.

If I am chosen to lead the NeMLA French and Francophone Language and Literature section, I would like to follow a similar path by doing the following: promoting interest and involvement in Québecois literature, film, and general culture; actively promoting Francophone African, Caribbean, and Vietnamese literature; developing interest in the importance and influence of French writers on critical theory. Also, I would like to promote sessions and interest in the teaching of French, especially online. As I am planning a sabbatical in Paris in late 2019-20, I would also like to promote NeMLA's upcoming conference from France and from continental Europe generally.

Presently, I teach in the Washington DC and New York metropolitan areas. I have submitted three sessions for NeMLA's 50th anniversary gala in Washington, DC: a panel on the Great War (my fourth on this topic in the last four years), a roundtable on the films of Sanjay Leela Bhansali, and a workshop on teaching the humanities online. I am working on presentations on Henri Barbusse, the Age or Trump, and teaching French online. My most recent publication is "Shanghai between East and West" published by Classiques Garnier in their "Rencontres." My article on "Julius Caesar in Central Park" has been selected for inclusion in Trump Fiction: Essays on Donald Trump in Literature, Film, and Television, to be published by Lexington Books at the end of 2019.

Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature Area Director

Alan G. Hartman


Dr. Alan G. Hartman holds a BS in Spanish and Psychology from Manhattan College (2003), a MA in Hispanic Studies from Boston College (2005), a MA in Italian Studies from Middlebury College (2006) and a Doctor of Modern Languages, specializing in Italian and Spanish literatures, from Middlebury College (2014). Dr. Hartman has also studied or worked as a volunteer abroad in Spain, Italy, Honduras, and Bolivia. His areas of interest include literature written under fascism and literature that explores Southern European identities. Dr. Hartman speaks English, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Statement of Purpose

It is with great pleasure that I am seeking to be the NeMLA Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature Director.

I have served in leadership roles in many different capacities. At present I am the Program Director of Modern Foreign Languages at Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, New York. Mercy College is a Hispanic Serving Institution, and there I direct a program that teaches more than 1,100 students in five languages each semester. Our program includes a Spanish Major and Minor, and in the program I have enjoyed teaching many courses in the Spanish language as well as Peninsular and Latin American literature, culture, and history. Deeply interdisciplinary, I have also taught many courses in Italian language and literature as well as courses in Italian American history and literature. In addition to my work at Mercy College I serve on the board of directors for a several institutions including Italian Charities of America, the Hart Island Project, and the White Plains Historical Society.

As the Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature Director I look forward to supporting all of you as best as possible while working to build very dynamic and edifying conference programs in 2020 and 2021. I especially hope to increase interest in NeMLA by professionals outside of the Academy as well as augment the number of panels relating to Lusophone Studies. Lastly, I am eager to promote panels and programming that stress the importance of Hispanic and Lusophone Studies at a time when all fields in the Humanities are threatened.

Victoria L. Ketz

Bio and Statement of Purpose

I am a professor of Spanish, Chairperson of Foreign Languages and Literatures, and Director of the Central and Eastern European Studies Program at La Salle University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. I received my PhD in Spanish Literature from Columbia University, an MA in Romance Languages and Literatures from Ohio State University, as well as a BS in Microbiology and Spanish from Ohio State University. My research interests include contemporary theater, narrative, film, and pedagogy. As a chairperson, I serve a multifaceted interdisciplinary department that houses twenty-one programs, each serving different student populations from Hispanic English Language learners in our BUSCA (Bilingual Undergraduate Studies for Collegiate Advancement) program providing  sheltered immersion; international students in the English Language Institute and International Year One; undergraduate students in Foreign Languages, literature in translation, cultural studies, and Leadership and Global Understanding; as well as graduate students in the Hispanic Institute and Central and Eastern European Studies.

It would be an honor to serve as the area director of Spanish and Portuguese Literature for NeMLA. I have participated in NeMLA Conferences since 2009 as a panel organizer, session chair, roundtable discussant, and presenter. As a participant in the conferences, I was enriched by the experience of the suggestions for further investigation at the panels, the interchange of ideas over meals, and the networking opportunities offered. Attendance at conferences is a valuable experience for all scholars at any academic rank. It delivers us to our institutions inspired and energized for our next challenges.

Although our organization does much to enhance our lives as scholars through the conference and its publications, I believe we could also serve our profession by initiating the important dialogue about pressing issues of higher education in the twenty-first century. As an organization, I would like for us to explore ways to create multifaceted language departments that will evade program terminations; to bolster professional development, which will facilitate professional growth; to help train our doctoral candidates to meet the new demands in the workforce; to advocate for equitable wages for our adjunct instructors; and to strategize how to better promote foreign languages at our home institutions. Much of this work could be started in workshops at the conference and give rise to documents we could disseminate through various platforms. It is through our combined advocacy that we can bring to a forefront the importance that studying languages and literatures has in our global world.