The candidates' biographies and statements of purpose follow. Please vote online for the run-off election before March 1, 2021, 11:59 PM Eastern.
Because Professor Larkosh has passed away, please consider voting for a different candidate for Comparative Literature Area Director.
Christopher Larkosh is a Professor in the Department of Portuguese at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. A multilingual scholar specializing in theories of literary translation and transculturation, he not only researches Lusophone and Lusodiasporic literary cultures, but also a wide range of others including Quebec, Argentina, Italy, France, Germany, Turkey and India in comparative perspective. His work appears in journals such as Social Dynamics, TOPIA, TTR, The Translator, and Transgender Studies Quarterly (Duke University Press), as well as the Taylor & Francis journal Translation Studies, where he subsequently served as Reviews Editor from 2012 to 2014. He completed a two-year term as Director of Tagus Press from 2015 to 2017, and a concurrent three-year term as Editor of the academic journal Portuguese Literary & Cultural Studies, which he contributed as Lead Editor for two recent volumes, one on Lusophone and transnational African visual cultures, and another on Luso-American literatures and cultures today. He continues to serves at Tagus as Editor for the Portuguese in the Americas series, where he has added a collection of new Luso-American writing, Behind the Stars, More Stars (2019) to earlier volumes: Re-Engendering Translation: Transcultural Practice, Gender/Sexuality and the Politics of Alterity (London/New York: St. Jerome/Routledge, 2011) and KulturConfusão: German-Brazilian Interculturalities (DeGruyter, 2015). Current projects include co-editing an issue of the Italian journal Textus on Viral Transcultures, a translation of Brazilian cultural theorist Christine Greiner's The Body in Crisis for University of Michigan Press, and a single-author monograph titled The Queerness of Translation: Interpretation, Transference, Theory (Routledge, 2021).
Statement of Purpose
While my involvement in NeMLA began rather recently, it comes after years at the MLA chairing panels, giving papers, serving on committees in both translation and Lusophone Literatures, and representing Less-Taught Languages and Literatures in the MLA Delegate Assembly. I also have a record of giving papers and chairing seminars at the ACLA; I currently serve as Chair of the Bernheimer Prize Committee, which evaluates and gives recognition to the best recent PhD dissertations each year, thus acknowledging the crucial role early-career comparatists play in generating high-quality, cutting-edge research.
These experiences underscore what I hope to contribute through my greater involvement in NeMLA: not only organizing a seminar on comparative diasporic literatures in March, but also continuing to mentor graduate students on the job market. The commitment and vitality of younger colleagues remind me what is at stake both personally and professionally as we attempt to emphasize to skeptical government administrations, private enterprise, and society as a whole the critical functions and intrinsic value of our profession, be it the teaching and learning of an ever-longer list of global languages in conversation, research on topics of crucial local and national concern, or projects of social activism and civic engagement.
The specific platform I propose is thus surprisingly predictable: webinars on accessible topics to create greater visibility for the profession, through a globalized online comparative literary forum that stresses the fundamental non-negotiable dimensions of public service in academic work as an easily recognizable and relatable social good.
Ernesto Livorni is Professor of Italian Language and Literature, Comparative Literature, and Religious Studies, at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. His scholarly publications include Avanguardia e tradizione: Ezra Pound e Giuseppe Ungaretti (1998) and T. S. Eliot, Montale e la modernità dantesca (2020). He also translated into Italian and edited Ted Hughes, Cave-Birds: Un dramma alchemico della caverna (2001). He has published articles in Italian and in English on medieval, modern and contemporary Italian literature, English and American literature, Italian-American literature, and comparative literature. He is currently working on a book on Italian Hermetic poetry and another one on the concepts of motherland, fatherland, and homeland from the US and French Revolutions to this first quarter of the twenty-first century. Livorni is the founding editor of L'ANELLO che non tiene: Journal of Modern Italian Literature. Livorni has also published three collections of poems: Prospettiche illusioni (1977-1983) (1987) (Illusions of Perspective), Nel libro che ti diedi. Sonetti (1985-1986) (1998) (In the Book That I Gave You. Sonnets) and L'America dei Padri (2005) (The Fathers' America, forthcoming: New York: Bordighera Press, 2015). His last collection Onora il Padre e la Madre (Honor Thy Father and Mother) (Passignano sul Trasimeno (Perugia): Aguaplano-Officina del Libro, 2015) gathers new and collected poems. An anthology of his poetry bearing the same title is available in Romanian as well (Craiova: Editura MJM, 2017).
Statement of Purpose
I attended the NeMLA Conferences assiduously in the late Eighties and in the Nineties, when I was living and teaching in Connecticut. Since moving to Wisconsin in 2000, I thought I would dedicate my energy to attend the MMLA Conferences, which I did. However, I could not help but feel a strong sense of nostalgia, if you will, for the organization that supports the NeMLA and the challenges that NeMLA accepts and, in turn, launches in the context of the teaching of English and foreign languages and literatures in the United States and in North America. I want to offer my professional experience to the field of Comparative Literature, which has traditionally been very strong in the United States and in the context of NeMLA. The history of engagement that NeMLA itself has promoted in several areas is a dynamic context in which each member is aware of the great opportunity for improvement. I intend to engage in areas that have become crucial to our profession and to the role that our profession plays in the social contexts in which we live, from pedagogical issues to social justice, from cultural intersections to intellectual openness. The challenges that the humanities are facing in these years are an opportunity to affirm again the necessity of the role that teachers and scholars of languages, literatures and cultures provide to students and even to the public. I look forward to working within the context of Comparative Literature and in collaboration with the other members both of this area of studies as well as of other areas in the teaching of English and foreign languages, literature, and cultures.
Born in 1951 in Germany, I graduated in German, history, social sciences, and philosophy to become a teacher in 1977. I continued studying Comparative Literature and sociology in Mainz, Frankfurt a.M., and Dijon (France), finishing with a PhD-Thesis (1985) and Habilitation (1995) in Comparative Literature (U Mainz). Since 1980, I have worked as a researcher and author in the social sciences and as a lecturer in CompLit. From 2002-2019, I worked as a full tenured professor of Comparative Literature at Martin-Luther-University (MLU) in Halle (Germany), focusing on the relations between literary studies and the social sciences. When teaching social sciences and literature at an institute for students from outside of Europe, I started working on the project of "cultural education for a globalized world" that I am still working on today. Besides being head of the German Department at MLU (2008-2019) and Associate Director with the Muhlenberg Centre for American Studies in Halle (2014-2019), I am also a member of the board of an Institute for Social Research in Mainz (1993-). As a visiting professor I have worked in Russia, Poland, Italy, Hungary and Canada, where I was appointed as an adjunct associate professor at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in 2008. Since then, I have spent several times at Queen’s and became acquainted with the North American university landscape. Bestowed with the John G. Diefenbaker Award in 2017, I received the chance to stay in Canada for longer and the opportunity to work with NeMLA’s activities I appreciate very much.
Statement of Purpose
For the last 30 years, I worked in comparative literature with a focus on the relations between social phenomena, experiences, and developments on the one side, literary texts, topics, and forms on the other – in a historical perspective beyond European frames and also in concern of contemporary questions and challenges. As I am convinced, that literary education in a comparative access will still be one of the main roads to the acknowledgement and negotiation of crucial topics of our time: dealing with "others" and ourselves, negotiating identity politics and discrimination on the one, social conflict and power abuse on the other hand, the histories of world literatures provide abundant examples and genres if we want to listen to the voices of the individual and to learn from stories and experiences from people all over the world. My concern, also within the NeMLA realm, will be to work on and develop a program of "cultural literacy for a globalized world" trying to connect the incitements of G. Spivak (aesthetic education) with the concept of social criticism (M. Walzer) and the description of literacy in the way N. Frye has delivered. Being an adjunct professor in Canada since 2007, I was thrilled to attend the NeMLA Boston event in 2020. Now preparing a session for Philadelphia 2021, I found the courage for the application as an area director which would also be a great honor for me.
I believe my academic background, professional experience, and dedication to NeMLA programs qualifies me for the NeMLA directorship in Comparative 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. Directly after finishing at the University of California, I moved to France and enrolled in the philosophy program at the University of Paris IV (Sorbonne). As I completed my three graduate degrees, my program became interdisciplinary, focused on Heidegger's and Nietzsche's reflection on modern literature.
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 at that position, eventually moving into a combined faculty-staff position in which my title was senior fellow.
For family considerations, I eventually returned to the US to continue teaching and organizing and managing Maryland’s global distance learning program. During that time I was president of the Maryland Distance Learning Association, faculty representative to the state academic senate, and voted Maryland Administrator of the Year.
Since 2014, I have worked for the City University of New York and am presently one of the lead facilitators preparing that system to shift to online learning in the fall of 2020.
Presently, I happily divide my time between Metropolitan Washington, DC, and New York with frequent trips to France.
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 numerous director's conference sessions; develop areas that had been somewhat neglected at NeMLA; pro-actively contact departments globally about NeMLA.
If chosen to serve another term as NeMLA comparative literature director, I have three goals, all of which continue the excellent work of my 2019-21 successor, Katherine Sugg.
First, NeMLA can and should take a stronger role in preparing humanities faculty to teach online. NeMLA can easily develop a very valuable and helpful certificate program focusing on teaching the humanities online.
Second, I would like to emulate MLA by having an international NeMLA conference every few years. The comparative literature area of NeMLA is well suited to plan and organize this international conference.
Third, I would like to continue my earlier initiatives as comparative literature director by again building interdisciplinarity and developing neglected areas such as South Asia and philosophical areas such as Marx, Lacan, Freud, Nietzsche, and Heidegger. I would also like to expand my personal sessions on the "Literature on the Trump Era" into special topics events with invited guests and panel discussions.
I look forward to our 2021 session in Philadelphia for which I have submitted the following proposals:
Julia Titus is Senior Lector II in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at Yale University where she has been teaching courses in language and literature in Russian. Educated in Europe and the United States, she holds an MA in literary criticism cum laude from Moscow State University in Moscow, Russia, an MA in Russian and East European Studies from Yale and a PhD in comparative literature from the Graduate Center at CUNY. Her research interests focus on the comparative study of French and Russian literature, translingual authors, translation theory, and heritage language studies. Her current project investigates the interrelationship of music and literature, and she is preparing an edited volume of essays on this subject. Her monograph Dostoevsky as a Translator of Balzac is forthcoming from Academic Studies Press. She has presented many papers and organized panels at various international conferences, including MLA, ASEEES, and ACTFL among others and published articles in national peer-reviewed journals. For the last several years she has been active at NeMLA as a panel organizer and a presenter in the Comparative Literature Area of Inquiry. Her panels and presentations have centered on the interdisciplinary study of music and literature and literary translation. She is the editor and annotator of two readers for students of Russian, “The Meek One": A Fantastic Story (on Dostoevsky’s short story) (Yale University Press, 2012), and Poetry Reader for Russian Learners (Yale University Press, 2015), both of which have been nominated for the best contribution to language pedagogy by AATSEEL.
Statement of Purpose
Over the past several years I have been actively involved in NeMLA as a panel organizer and a presenter in the comparative literature division, and my panels have always generated a lot of interest from audiences. I am currently preparing an edited volume of essays originating from several of my panels on music and literature.
Since I was educated both in Europe and the United States, I believe I would bring a unique perspective to the comparative literature field, combining European and American approaches. As a woman, a working mother, and an immigrant I am very sensitive to many challenges in today’s academia and the world, and I will do my best as the Comparative Literature Area Director to ensure that underrepresented members of our society have a voice and the opportunity to present their work in a supportive and nurturing environment. Now, more than ever, we need to provide more opportunities for previously marginalized perspectives to have a strong presence in the profession and focus our efforts on expanding diversity and inclusivity for everyone. We also have to make it a priority to help young scholars find positions in adjacent fields, such as publishing and consulting, since the academic job market continues to shrink.
My academic interests are specifically in Russian and French literature and include an interest in investigating the relationship between literature and music and literature and bilingual authors. I plan to continue my work at NeMLA in these areas, and strengthen the Russian and East European literature segment since I have the expertise and a substantial professional experience in that field. Finally, my intention as the comparative literature director would be to enhance the cultural programming at the NeMLA convention by inviting outstanding performers for after-hours special events.
Christiana Ares-Christian's scholarship works to promote interdisciplinary research on US culture and history, particularly through ethnic American studies. Her forthcoming book manuscript grapples with the intersection of Afrofuturism and Afropessimism—borrowing from black feminist and womanist theorists Audre Lorde, Roxane Gay, and Alice Walker; critical race theorists Kimberlѐ Crenshaw and bell hooks; cultural theorist Slavoj Žižek; queer theorists Roderick Ferguson and Judith Butler; and disability studies theorists Rosemarie Garland Thomson and Lennard J. Davis—in order to understand both theories in a more critical way. Her poetry manuscript, And the Trees Spoke, explores personhood and identity, as well as issues of love, sexuality, and belonging, through the personification of trees; this is set within the backdrop of a young, queer, American woman of color trying to reckon her personal and ancestral history.
Dr. Ares-Christian's scholarship and research interests are in literature, popular culture, and historical imaginations of Asian Americans and Americans from the African diaspora. She is particularly interested in contemporary ethnic studies, queer theory, and black feminist thought. Some of her past work has interrogated TV shows like Glee, movies like Diary of a Mad Black Woman, and graphic novels like American Born Chinese.
Dr. Ares-Christian has taught at state colleges, private colleges, and community colleges, including the University of Connecticut, Capital Community College, Clark University, and Georgia Gwinnett College. She earned her Bachelor's degree in English Arts from Hampton University and her Master's and doctoral degrees are from the University of Connecticut in English, with a focus on ethnic studies.
Statement of Purpose
I have been a part of the NeMLA community since 2016. I have grown as a scholar/professional because of the work that has been presented at the annual conventions and through MAST. I also appreciate NeMLA’s unique mentoring opportunities. For instance, I received valuable feedback on my job documents when NeMLA met in Boston.
My participation at the annual conventions has always fallen under the Cultural Studies and Media Studies (CSMS) area, whether I argued Tyler Perry was a contemporary Black Arts Movement artist, delved into a roundtable discussion about Afrofuturism, or posited womanism in Marvel comics.
As Director of the CSMS Area, I want to continue to promote the goals of NeMLA. In this time of COVID-19, I understand that flexibility and creativity may be required in order for us to share and benefit from each other's scholarship. I will help NeMLA's board as it makes any necessary transitions.
As CSMS Area Director, I would like to better support and give more exposure to marginalized cultural studies, particularly critical ethnic studies. As our current racial climate has illustrated, it is more than time for BIPOC issues and studies to come to the fore. Additionally, I would like to put a greater emphasis on the media studies aspect of this Area.
To reach these goals, I'd like to create a sponsored panel or roundtable for each convention, and/or a sponsored series that could run each day of the convention, in addition to the special events that the area already cohosts.
My research is focused on religion in 19th and early 20th-century American literature and culture with an emphasis on matters of economics and class. I also specialize in continental philosophy, classical social theory (Durkheim, Weber, Marx), and media studies.
My current book project is entitled, The Economy of Redemption in American Culture: Literature, Theology, Politics. It is undergoing peer review for inclusion in Bloomsbury's "New Directions in Religion and Literature" series.
I am also Editor-in-Chief of the Media and Cultural Studies journal, Screen Bodies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Experience, Perception, and Display (Berghahn). Beginning with our first issue of 2021, the journal’s new subtitle will be The Journal of Embodiment, Media Arts, and Technology.
My work has appeared in or is forthcoming from journals such as American Literary Realism, Christianity & Literature, JMMLA, Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory, Label Me Latina/o, Literature and Belief, Literature and Theology, Parrhesia, Philosophy and Literature, Religion & Literature, Soundings, and Studies in American Fiction, among others.
Statement of Purpose
One of my first dealings with NeMLA was the 2011 meeting at Rutgers where I organized an immensely successful panel, "Redeeming Modernity: Economy, Religion, and Literature in Modern America." Most recently, I organized what was originally intended to be a single panel at the 2020 NeMLA meeting in Boston, entitled, "Feminist Theologies in American Literature." However, there was such an outpouring of interest by those doing first-rate work that the conference organizers generously expanded our program to three panels, with twelve speakers. I am still in the early stages but plan to edit a volume in collaboration with many of those who participated in these panels. These are just two examples of the way NeMLA has afforded me with space to cultivate collaborations on cutting-edge work in cultural studies that have bore considerable scholarly fruit over the years.
In the area of Media Studies, I will bring knowledge of the concerns and debates currently animating this multidisciplinary field and will work to build a bigger scholarly tent to include those doing research that extends beyond the traditional Humanities to include such disciplines as computer science, engineering, and communications. I will assure that the areas of Cultural Studies and Media Studies at NeMLA will be a place where scholars and creators come together to map new media ecologies with an eye toward the aesthetic, ethical, and political dimensions of emerging technologies. Our areas of focus will be recalibrated to include, but not be limited to: media arts and technology, intermediality, interactivity and virtuality, human-machine interface, intelligent and transactive spaces, smart environments, generative art, biotechnology, virtual bodies, motion capture, AI, UX, IOT, social robots, gaming, and digital humanities.
M.M. Dawley has a PhD in American Studies from Boston University. Her work focuses on the literary and cultural history of satire in the Gilded Age. She currently teaches in the Humanities Division for the Arts & Sciences Honors Program at Lesley University and has previously taught at Boston University, Clark University, Cal State LA, and Pasadena City College. She organizes and participates in panels at the annual and quadrennial conferences of the American Studies Association, the American Literature Association, the American Humor Studies Association, and the Edith Wharton and Mark Twain Societies. M.M. Dawley was recently elected President of the New England American Studies Association after six years of active membership. She also collaborated with Gene Andrew Jarrett on the creation of the African American Studies module for Oxford Bibliographies Online, published by Oxford University Press. Her work appears in American Literary Realism, The Mark Twain Annual, and the Edith Wharton Review. Her book-in-progress highlights the work of satire by and about liminal groups at the turn of the last century. It is forthcoming from Penn State University Press for the series Humor in America.
Statement of Purpose
I would love to be of service as Area Director for Cultural Studies and Media Studies. My doctorate is from Boston University and my specializations are transnational, transhistorical satire and American cultural history. My forthcoming book from Penn State University Press claims that satire is the key to understanding how post-Civil-War writers mocked the exceptionalist myth of American innocence during the first Gilded Age. The work of satirists like Charles W. Chesnutt and Marietta Holley challenged bigoted narratives that dominated the era and circulated progressive ideology to unlikely audiences. In our contemporary era—arguably the second Gilded Age—it seems essential to re-examine the radical antiracist, antisexist, and antinationalist writing of the last one.
As President of the New England American Studies Association, I emphasize how academics can become more engaged in their communities. At Lesley, I sponsor a student group dedicated to youth voter engagement. I have organized conferences and colloquia both locally and nationally and have supervised and presented at panels around the world. Through my work with the American Humor Studies Association, I engage with media studies scholars and discourse regularly. In creating the African American Studies Module for Oxford Bibliographies online, I developed relationships with leading scholars in cultural studies. As a result of my experience, I believe I could be an asset to NeMLA.
Felipe Gómez holds a PhD in Spanish Language and Literatures (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA) and is currently Teaching Professor of Hispanic Studies (HS) in the Modern Languages Department at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh. Gómez’s area of expertise is 20th-21st century Latin American cultural studies, focusing on the analysis of countercultural expressions within literature, film, popular music, and comics and graphic novels. He has co-edited critical volumes examining the literary production of Colombian writers Andrés Caicedo and Evelio Rosero, and has authored dozens of articles and chapters on recent and contemporary Latin American literature, films, and comics. His current research project examines manifestations of resilience and endurance in Spanish-language apocalyptic comics, analyzing community responses and survival strategies employed by their protagonists. Gómez is a 2020 recipient of a Teaching Innovation Award at Carnegie Mellon. His Latin American Comics Archive (LACA), which originated from a 2016 Dietrich/Mellon seed grant, was nominated for a Dean's Educational Innovation Fellowship Award at CMU, and was recently awarded a Provost's Inclusive Teaching Fellowship for 2020-2021 and "Best Formative Initiative Developed in 2018" by the Hispanic Digital Humanities international organization.
Statement of Purpose
Gómez has been a member of NeMLA since 2018, participating in annual conventions as presenter, panel organizer, and co-chair. In the past, he served as Area Panel Organizer and Chair of Latin American Popular Cultures for the Midwest Popular Culture Association 2013-2017, was one of the two Coordinators of Carnegie Mellon University’s Center for the Arts in Society's Narrative Initiative 2017-2020, and was a guest editor for a special issue of Revista de Estudios Colombianos on Popular Cultures in Colombia (Dec. 2016). Aside from the professional associations mentioned above, he has been a longstanding member of MLA, LASA, and others, giving numerous national and international presentations in the fields of Latin American literatures, film, visual cultures, and media studies.
As Cultural Studies and Media Studies Area Director, Gómez's primary goals are to lead new and existing members towards a critical awareness and appreciation of the diverse body of cultural products which characterizes the field, and to use literatures, film, and popular cultures to think critically about the cultural and historical constructions of our own and others' understandings. He would like to bring in faculty, independent researchers, and graduate and undergraduate students at all levels to present and publish their research, leading the way toward the understanding of a discipline and a world that are currently undergoing radical transformations. Following the course of his professional trajectory, Gomez would like the area to be part of a broader effort at innovating the humanities by offering platforms through which instructors and students can use analogic and digital tools such as blogs, radio and audio podcasts, and visuals to improve their command of cultural and linguistic skills and communicate with audiences beyond the classroom.
Anna Iacovella, Ed.D, is the Language Program Director of Italian Language and Literature at Yale University. She graduated in English Language and Literature from the Universita' Suor Orsola Benincasa in Naples, Italy. She specialized in Italian at Southern Connecticut State University. She obtained her doctoral degree in the Educational Leadership at Southern Connecticut State University. Her research and writings and presentations include Italian film, TV, history and diaspora, post feminism, linguistics, and pedagogy.
Statement of Purpose
My experience and involvement with NeMLA started in 2009 with my first presentation at the annual conference in Boston with: "Video Clips' per la conoscenza pratica e l'ampliamento della lingua italiana contemporanea" or "Video Clips for the Practice and Expansion of Contemporary Italian Language." This first presentation represented the springboard for me as a language educator who favors the use of video clips, films, and television. My latest presentation was at the 2020 NeMLA Conference in Boston with "Manetti Bros: The Underdog of Thriller with a Deep Cultural Tone."
During the last ten years I regularly participated to the NeMLA conferences by presenting on the use of television productions and films. Particularly, I use media in my language teaching practices in order to reflect and discuss cultural topics such as history, art, people & women, beliefs & food.
I am extremely involved with Television Studies since I am a Contributing Editor for The Year's Work in Modern Language Studies.
In the future, I would like to bring to NeMLA my experience in Television Studies included within the areas of Cultural Studies and Media Studies. I believe that in our everchanging world television is becoming a strong means for learning. Specifically, the Internet video on demand services such as Amazon Prime Video and Netflix offer original cultural and linguistic content globally distributed, which expands the cultural awareness.
With the development of new widespread media, the discussion seems to be preordained to enter the future NeMLA conferences; therefore, I trust to be a valuable candidate for the position of Cultural Studies and Media Studies Area Director.
I am Head of Humanities and Social Sciences at Stony Brook University Libraries, where I also chair the library’s Digital Humanities Working Group and coordinate our Center for Digital Humanities. I have leadership responsibilities in collection development in a variety of formats, as well as in promoting the library as an interdisciplinary space for humanities and social science research, teaching, and learning through programming and instruction. Additionally, I teach credit-bearing courses in the Stony Brook University Honors College dedicated to readership studies, the history of the book, and textual epistemologies. I hold a PhD in French from the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters in Library Science from Queens College (CUNY).
My research focuses on the relationship between readers and texts, and the ways in which texts are created, archived, and contextualized, and the implications for the reading experience. I have presented research related to this theme at international, national, and regional conferences in the fields of modern language studies, library science, and archives. I have also been published in peer reviewed journals in the modern languages, humanities, and library science.
Statement of Purpose
I first became a member of NeMLA in 2015. Since then, I have been accepted to present at four NeMLA conferences, and to chair panels at two of these. I have also had a panel proposal accepted for the 2021 convention. NeMLA has always been a preferred venue for my research because of its interdisciplinary, open-minded approach to programming, as well as the fact that it is a regional conference which combines the benefits of a small convention with an international reach. I have appreciated the opportunity to network at past conventions, and I have participated in the Women's Caucus mentorship program as a mentee. This was a valuable experience which facilitated the development of my research program as a new tenure-track faculty member.
I am very pleased to be considered for the position of Cultural Studies and Media Studies Area Director. My experience with NeMLA and as a librarian and as a scholar of textual studies has prepared me to advocate meaningfully for new and interdisciplinary approaches to cultural studies and media studies, with an emphasis on the ways in which our work is connected through communities of practice and conditioned by issues of labor, precarity, and collaboration.
I believe that my professional accomplishments and commitment to lifelong learning qualify me for the NeMLA directorship in Cultural Studies and Media Studies.
I attended college in Washington, DC, and from there made a short jump to Maryland to attend St. John’s College’s Great Books Program. I have lived and travelled around the world but have spent most of the last twenty years in the greater DC area.
After completing an MA at St. John's, I made the difficult decision to pause my education – and my dream of a career in academia – for personal reasons. For the next ten years, I worked as a Research Director and Senior Staff Writer for The Gallup Organization. During my time at Gallup, I learned from some of the top minds in social science and cultivated my strengths as a researcher and writer.
In 2006, I left Gallup to stay home with my children. When I was ready to return to the workforce, I pursued my teaching ambition.
Presently, I teach at the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) and at Prince George's Community College (PGCC). I received the Faculty Excellence Award at PGCC in 2019 and the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Award by UMGC in 2020.
I joined NeMLA to stay current with the community of scholars and educators in my field. Since attending the 2017 convention in Baltimore, I have become actively involved, chairing four sessions (a fifth set for 2021) and presenting my own work at the 2020 convention in Boston.
Statement of Purpose
1. In this time of political and social disruption, NeMLA should sponsor panels on social media. In its various forms, social media has arguably become the fundamental pathway through which the world communicates, collects information, and develops beliefs. Specifically, I see great value in exploring the rhetorical blur between facts and beliefs as perpetuated through social media.
2. The world's current state demands that the education system address urgent questions about both cultural awareness and digital learning.
I teach at a global university and interact daily with students around the world. I also teach at a college composed of more than 90% minorities. Their culturally-nuanced thinking confirm the importance of integrating cultural consciousness into modern curricula.
The large-scale shift to online schooling resulting from COVID-19 leads to questions that would be valuable for NeMLA to tackle, concerning accessibility and the responsibilities of teachers/parents/community/government.
3. Streaming services have introduced a global audience to programming offering cultural perspectives previously unavailable in such "digestible" formats. Access to international shows – "Vis-á-Vis" (Spain), "Giri/Haji" (Japan), and "Fauda" (Israel) – offer a form of cultural education through simple consumption that could have a substantial impact on audience interest in the larger world.
Additionally, the booming use of online resources for entertainment purposes has led to fascinating advances – and unexpected shifts – in the way content is produced and consumed. For example, restrictions on theater attendance has led to a surge of "old-fashioned" radio plays highlighting the audio performative aspect of traditional theater.
My first book, Inside the Mouse: Work and Play at Disney World, was an attempt to apply a Birmingham School cultural studies approach to an American phenomenon. Since then, I have attempted to help expand the boundaries of what we define as cultural studies. I edited The Seventies: The Age of Glitter in Popular Culture, one of the first books on the culture of the 1970s as an era with its own cultural logic distinct and separate from the 1960s. My subsequent monographs, on the performative paradigm of "self-invention" as realized in three queer artists—Oscar Wilde, Truman Capote, and David Bowie—established an interdisciplinary approach to my writing that I have followed ever since. This book was followed with one on architectural theory, The Dissolution of Place: Architecture, Identity, and the Body, which looked at the way that temporal tropes have eroded our sense of place to become virtual space, including the attempt to theme identity via architecture such as one sees in Native-American casinos and in the queer domestic compound of Philip Johnson’s Glass House, and one on music, Future Nostalgia: Performing David Bowie, which examines the many ways that Bowie’s artistry is defined as much by visual and literary texts as by aural ones. My new manuscript, The Space of Sex: The Porn Aesthetic in Contemporary Film and Television, likewise looks at the pornification of mainstream culture in the twenty-first century by way of literature, painting, sculpture, and film analysis. In other words, my work now is firmly of a transdisciplinary type, and I no longer recognize the possibility of a book being merely about one type of text or medium.
Statement of Purpose
This past conference in Boston, I was especially pleased to be a part of a round-table discussion on the future of television and film, which not only included a great deal of audience participation but was comprised of a panel of people working not only in academe but the film industry as well. I also volunteered in the CV clinic and the Publishing Mentorship program for graduate students—opportunities that I very much enjoyed.
I would like to see the Cultural Studies and Media Studies area of NeMLA rethink where Cultural Studies is now as a practice and as a methodology. While long caught between the twin definitions of a specific cultural studies, one that examines the practices of everyday life utilizing the appropriate theoretical lenses for understanding the particular practice under scrutiny, and the notion of cultural studies as a diffuse study of culture in general—in other words, a generic repackaging for other areas of study that normally go by other labels—more recently, cultural studies has been accused of being no longer relevant, having failed and been superseded by other, newer modes of theory. I would like to see cultural studies scholars answer these calls about relevance and assert a new defense of cultural studies that takes into account how it has, in fact, evolved during the last few decades. More specifically, perhaps, how have the new approaches to digital humanities, film and television, and interdisciplinarity in general both come from, and updated, our original notion of Cultural Studies? How has the media revolution of the twenty-first century changed our notion of everyday life?
Katelynn DeLuca is Assistant Professor of English, Composition at SUNY Farmingdale State College located on Long Island, NY, where she teaches composition courses, including first-year writing, technical writing, and multimodal composing. Her research focuses on the intersections of class, identity, and the writing classroom, as well as writing in the disciplines and the role of writing at STEM-focused institutions. She advocates for genuine representation of working-class culture within the academy and the prevention of erasure of working-class identities. Katelynn earned her BA and MA from Stony Brook University and her PhD in English with a concentration in Composition from St. John’s University in Queens, NY. Her most recent publication, "Breaking the Silence and Removing the Garb: Revelations from a Working-Class Academic," was published as part of the edited collection Narratives of Marginalized Identities in Higher Education: Inside and Outside the Academy (Routledge, 2019).
Statement of Purpose
As former president of NeMLA's Contingent, Adjunct, Independent Scholar, and Two-year Faculty (CAITY) Caucus and having served as secretary of the State University of New York Council on Writing (SUNY CoW), I’ve spent significant time focusing on the conditions in which both contingent and full-time faculty are thrust into the composition classroom, as well as the absence of professional development available to many faculty, regardless of their area of expertise. As such, my role as area director of professionalization, composition, and pedagogy is guided by the following questions: How can we best support our composition, modern language, and literature faculty? In what ways is NeMLA providing space for the growth and discussion of pedagogical and scholarly approaches to teaching such courses? How can NeMLA continue to build spaces for the kinds of questions, growth, and collaborative development that its members need?
My primary goal is simple: to foreground the needs and interests of those I serve. As with the CAITY Caucus, nothing I do is done alone. It is the great teamwork of the members of NeMLA that create the space and amazing work that is shared at each conference, in our Modern Language Studies journal, and throughout the year. I commit myself to highlighting this great work throughout my time as area director and look forward to engaging with your work, as well as the opportunity for others to do the same.
Ann Gagné is an Educational Developer with a focus on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) at the University of Toronto-Mississauga. She completed her PhD on tactility in Victorian literature at the University of Western Ontario. She has taught at colleges and universities in Ontario, Canada as an adjunct instructor for more than a decade. In her college-level teaching, the majority of the courses she has taught have been foundational English and composition courses. She has also worked as a curriculum and instructional design consultant for Ontario post-secondary institutions over the past decade, supporting new program and course development for online and face-to-face delivery.
Her areas of research include, inclusive and accessibility pedagogical strategies and the pedagogical application of touch and the senses in constructivist learning using instructional tools and technology. A collection of essays, which she edited, The Canadian Precariat: Part-Time Faculty and the Higher-Education System, is forthcoming in October. Her work has been published in The Hardy Review, Victorians, and the Australasian Journal of Victorian Studies. She has presented at many international conferences on issues of pedagogy and educational technology teaching strategies, and she has designed and facilitated numerous professional development workshops and webinars. She has been active in supporting and advocating for adjunct (sessional) faculty through her role as the Contract-Academic Faculty Representative for the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) from May 2018 to May 2020 and is passionate about pathways to skills and career building.
Statement of Purpose
I have been an active participant at NeMLA since attending my first NeMLA conference in Montréal in 2010, and I have been committed to pedagogy and professionalization issues at the conference. For example, in 2019, I was part of a roundtable on the role of consultancy work and training designation opportunities for the Graduate Student Caucus, and in 2020, I facilitated a workshop on inclusive curriculum and instructional design and also presented on the Ontario college strike. I have been a member of the CAITY Caucus as well as the Women’s and Gender Studies Caucus.
As an educational developer, my main role is to design and facilitate professionalization opportunities for instructors, faculty, and post-doctoral fellows. I will extend my experience and knowledge of professional development and pedagogical strategies as Professionalization, Composition, and Pedagogy Area Director. We are at an important crossroads in how we approach pedagogy and the study of composition using multimodality. As area director, I would promote sessions on skill building, training, and career paths in teaching adjacent fields such as faculty development and instructional design. As an active member of the Universal Design for Learning community, I have the resources to plan area workshops and webinars that focus on accessible and comprehensively inclusive syllabus and course design using multimodal strategies that support writing and translation work. I will also use social media, especially Twitter, to create a strong community of professionals teaching language and literature, throughout the year, where there will be active sharing of instructional resources.
Jina Lee holds an MA in English from The College of New Jersey (TCNJ) and PhD in American Studies from Rutgers University. She is an experienced professor who has taught at the community college and four-year levels for the past 15 years. Previously, she has served as the writing instructor for the Doctor of Social Work program and the Graduate English Language Learners program at Rutgers University. Before that, Jina was a visiting professor at TCNJ and a full-time faculty member at Essex County College in Newark, NJ. She teaches a range of courses: first-year writing sequences, American studies, Race and Ethnicity, Women's and Gender Studies, Asian American Studies, and various literature courses from Contemporary American Literature to Korean Literature. Her service record includes work in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, Course/Program assessments, and curriculum development.
She is currently on faculty at SUNY Westchester Community College and an active advisor for Koala (a travel startup company) for which she monitors communications.
Statement of Purpose
I have been a member of NeMLA for a number of years and have participated on and chaired various panels. My interest in serving as the Pedagogy and Professionalism area director is an extension of the work I have done and continue to do.
As a woman of color in academe who’s worked consistently in predominately black and Hispanic serving institutions and has served as the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion coordinator at SUNY-Orange, I am aware of the need to foster awareness about diversity and inclusion efforts. Also, as I have navigated my career, I have found that there are opportunities outside of academia that can utilize our skills and experience—whether it is in consulting, editing, writing, or translation.
I would like to see the Pedagogy and Professionalism area continue a cross disciplinary dialogue about best practices in teaching, syllabus development, and curriculum work. Furthermore, I would like to build membership among scholars who are committed to advocacy and diversification efforts. I believe there is room for mentorship as academics move into fields outside of academia just as we can provide support for scholars within this world who are new to academic writing/publishing and conference presentations. This area can develop those relationships.
William Magrino is an Associate Teaching Professor at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, New Brunswick and served as Director of Business & Technical Writing from 2007 to 2020. He holds a PhD in English Literature and frequently presents his research at international conferences on topics concerning literature, pedagogy, professionalism, and administration. An active scholar, William is a contributor to New Paths to Raymond Carver, published by the University of South Carolina Press, and the recently released Trump Fiction, from Lexington Books.
He is the lead author of two professional writing textbooks, now in their fourth editions. Business and Professional Writing: From Problem to Proposal and Scientific and Technical Writing: From Problem to Proposal serve as the main resources for the two most popular professional writing courses at Rutgers and have since been adopted at colleges and universities around the world.
William co-authored three peer-reviewed articles with Dr. Peter Sorrell examining the pedagogical implications of social media, all derived from previous conference presentations. The most recent article, adapted from a 2019 NeMLA presentation, appears in the spring 2019 issue of Interdisciplinary Humanities. Predictive of the current educational moment, "The Kids Aren't Alright: Teaching the Personal and Professional of Social Media," is a glance back at the past decade of teaching with and about social media, as well as a prescient look forward to the myriad opportunities afforded the composition instructor in these virtual spaces. William's current research examines the promise and pitfalls associated with "remote" teaching in the post-COVID academic world.
Statement of Purpose
As I discussed at a NeMLA roundtable in 2016, there has been an identifiable shift in academia over recent years, particularly in the humanities. There is a "new professorate" emerging, as I define the population, composed of contingent labor being used to fill vacancies left by disappearing tenure-track positions. The current reality of the profession places these fledgling scholars in a unique, and equally uncomfortable, position. On one hand, they see this as a means to enter field for which may of them have worked years to prepare. Concurrently, many believe they are willingly perpetuating a system in which contingent faculty is becoming fodder for a broken institution. As a regional organization that attracts scholars and practitioners from across a swath of academia, I see NeMLA as a crucible for the future of our profession.
As what one would typically consider a "successful" contingent faculty member, building a career for the past fifteen years, with a respectable number of publications and presentations, I have learned that interconnection with the various arms of the university is the means by which flourishing is possible in this twenty-first century reality. As director of Professionalism, Composition, and Pedagogy for NeMLA, I plan to continue the work I have been doing for the past decade, as evidenced by my years of participation in this area as panel and roundtable presenter and chair, while at the same time, foster support and collaboration among tenured, tenure-track, and contingent faculty for the benefit of our profession at large.
Carmela Bernadetta Scala received her PhD in Comparative Literature from the City University of New York. Her main field of research is Baroque literature, fairytales, folklore and dialect literature. She is also interested in contemporary literature, and has published a book on contemporary cinema, New Trends in Italian Cinema: "New" Neorealism. She has also written and published articles on more contemporary Italian authors. She recently published a book on Basile's Lo cunto de li cunti titled Fairytales: A World Between the Imaginary. Metaphors at Play in Lo cunto de li cunti by Giambattista Basile and an Italian reader Un viaggio fantastico nella lingua e nella cultura italiana! Her last article "Matteo Garrone's The Tale of Tales: Visual Metaphors and Transmedial Storytelling" published in the book entitled The Body of Naples: Corporality and Performativity in Baroque Naples (Lexington Books, 2017). She is currently the Director of the Italian Language Program at Rutgers University and the Director of the Study Abroad program. She is also the founder and chief editor of the Language Teaching and Technology (LTT). She has won an entrepreneurial grant to develop a Professional Development workshop completely online for Italian Teachers as well as many other small grants to develop innovative online language courses. She is the recipient of the Rutgers prestigious Ernest E. McMahon Class of 1930 Award for the academic year 2019-2020.
Statement of Purpose
As the Director of the Language Program at Rutgers, I have had the opportunity and the freedom to expand my horizons and further my knowledge in the field of Language Pedagogy and Second Language Acquisition. My recent research on distance learning and teaching has produced a manuscript entitled Best Practices for Online Teaching and an edited volume on teaching strategies and methodologies to engage and "retain" students in our face to face and online classes.
As far as my involvement with NeMLA, I have contributed only as a presenter or as chair/organizer of several sessions; but at this point of my career I am ready to take my involvement a bit further and become an active member of the NeMLA community.
If given the opportunity to serve as the Professionalization, Composition, and Pedagogy Area Director I would like to foster a culture of inclusion and educational equity, and work to organize lectures and workshops on creating an inclusive, non-bias, safe classroom both in the face to face environment and in the online space. I would also work to continue NeMLA efforts in establishing a successful mentoring program for our new graduates and doctoral students to better prepare them for their academic future. However, because I also believe that it is important to inform them about alternative careers I would work to secure expert speakers and organize lectures and workshops about different, yet appealing, career paths in order to teach them how to use effectively their skills outside of the academia.
Joshua Deckman, PhD, is an assistant professor of Spanish and Latinx Studies at Marywood University. He has written on racial and affective politics, Afro-diasporic religious practices, and anti-imperial/decolonial epistemologies in contemporary Caribbean and Latinx literary and cultural productions. The keywords that organize his publications and courses are: feminism, religious studies, queer studies, decolonization, critical race studies, and transnational studies. His work has appeared in Small Axe Salon, Voces del Caribe, Romance Notes, and Bulletin of Hispanic Studies. He is currently working on a forthcoming edited collection, Oxalá: Afro-Latinx Futures, Imaginings, and Engagements (SUNY Press), as well as a solo manuscript titled Feminist Spiritualities: Conjuring Racial Politics in the Afro-Caribbean and Its Diasporas (SUNY Press). This last project traces, documents, analyzes, and theorizes the links or relationships between Afro-Latinx identities, spiritualities, and futures (understood in the most expansive ways). In short, the text evokes the ways in which processes of colonization, (neo)imperial impulses, and heteropatriarchal violence are disrupted when we center a Black spiritual resistance to imposed systems of (Western) knowledge. This, in turn, allows other modes of being to emerge and calls for a transformation in the ways we think racialized belonging across Caribbean geographies. In his service, he has collaboratively worked on a grant awarded by the AACU to establish a Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation Campus Center at Marywood. This center is aimed at eradicating racism and racial disparity through anti-racist pedagogy and other campus-wide initiatives.
Statement of Purpose
As director of US and Transnational/Diaspora Studies I would seek to promote the fluid and ever-changing dialogues of culture, literature, economics, and politics embodied in an array of intellectual and popular productions across the Américas. Scholarship within the past decade has demanded a more nuanced and interconnected approach to what is deemed American, Latinx, Indigenous, Black, Caribbean, Canadian, etc. Studies as we consider forms of thinking linked to the struggle for depatriarchalization, emancipation, reparation, and decolonization. As such, US and Transnational/Diaspora Studies must respond in new ways to both the intellectual and material questions and needs of this region. To take some steps in this direction I would hope to move this agenda forward by promoting panels that stimulate an in-depth analysis of the structure and dynamics of power and domination (which include communications, both popular and counterpublics, on social media). Likewise, I would seek to promote transdisciplinary debate among US and Transnational/Diaspora Studies scholars, and strive to promote greater participation of indigenous intellectuals and those of African descent (women and men) in all sections.
Dr. Ashmita Khasnabish earned her PhD in English Literature (Modern British Literature and Critical Theory) from Bowling Green State University, USA, and MA (group A) in English Literature and MA in (group B) Literature and Linguistics from Calcutta University, India. She was a Research Scholar in Asiatic Society, Calcutta, India before coming to the USA. Currently a Lecturer at Lasell University, she held many research positions as a Visiting Scholar at MIT, Brandeis University, and Brown University and taught at Lesley University, Emerson College, and Boston University. Dr. Khasnabish authored three monographs: Jouissance as Ananda: Indian Philosophy, Feminist Theory and Literature (2006, 2003), Humanitarian Identity and The Political Sublime: Intervention of a Postcolonial Feminist (2009), and Negotiating Capability and Diaspora: A Philosophical Politics (2016, 2013). She published many articles in refereed journals, contributed book chapters in edited volumes, and lectured widely in Europe, North America, and India. She became a Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society, London in 2018. Recently, she held the position of a Visiting Scholar at Oxford University English faculty 2018 (Trinity Term) and 2019 (Michaelmas Term) with a Packard Grant from Lasell University. Her edited anthology Postcoloniality, Diaspora and Globalization: What’s Next was published in December 2019. Her article "The Theory of Liberated Love and a Global Feminist Discourse" was published in Angelaki: Journal of the Theoretical Humanities, which arose from her lecture at Oxford University. Currently, she is an Associate of the Comparative Literature Department at Harvard University working on her book Virtual Diaspora.
Statement of Purpose
My involvement with NeMLA dates back to 2013, when I first made my debut in Boston with my panel "Re-thinking the Concept of the Postcolonial," as a Visiting Scholar of MIT Women and Gender Studies Program. I had scholars/professors from Université de La Réunion, Ryerson University in Toronto, and Clark University in Boston peaked. It reached its peak with highly intellectual discussion on the term "rethinking the concept of the postcolonial." The panel led me to create an anthology and with that started my journey through NeMLA over the past seven years. This theme of "postcoloniality" morphed into "transnational" and diasporic discourse over the years with the various panels, "Creating Global Cultural Citizenship through Translation," "Postcoloniality, Diaspora and Globalization: What’s Next?," which turned into my anthology Can Global Space Become Local Space?, "Postcolonial Literature, Peace and Transcultural Space," "Virtual Space," "Nomadology and Transcultural Space," and "Humanistic Identity." My theme in all the panels was for a philosophical and ontological space where people who emigrated/immigrated could unite in a common space. The panelists presented papers on authors from Mauritius, Quebec, China, Sri Lanka, India, Africa, and of Afghan-American, Indian-American and South Asian diaspora. As a Board member, my mission will be to take NeMLA to a more philosophical height encouraging sessions to go further to ontological depth and to propose more sessions on Central American and South American authors. I will strive to take sessions beyond canonical authors and also open conversation from a broader philosophical perspective on transnational space.
I am an Assistant Professor of Liberal Studies at Kentucky State University, specializing in African-American and African Diasporic Literatures. I teach literature and writing courses to students in the Whitney Young Honors Collegium. A native New Yorker, I earned my BA in English and the Special Honors Curriculum from Hunter College, where I was a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and my doctorate in African-American Literature from Rutgers University. I have published articles on Philip Roth and Alice Dunbar-Nelson, and most recently guest edited a special issue of the South Atlantic Review on the ninetieth anniversary of Nella Larsen's Passing. Currently, I am drafting my second book on contemporary African-American Literature. My first monograph, Betraying Their Colored Descent: Psychoanalysis and Racial Passing, will be published by the University of Missouri Press in 2021. In it, I explore the psychoanalytic motivations for jumping the color line in American Literature. It is the book I completed as a Woodrow Wilson Career Enhancement Fellow during the 2018-2019 academic year. I have been a NeMLA member since 2011, and served as the first Member-at-Large for Diversity from 2011-2014. As Area Director of American Literature and Transnational/Diaspora Studies, I will continue the work I began as Member-at-Large, by drawing diverse scholars and facilitating dialogues that transcend national borders.
Statement of Purpose
For almost a decade, I have been a member of the Northeast Modern Language Association. I first participated in its convention in 2011, and proudly served as NeMLA's first Member-at-Large for Diversity from 2011-2014. During my time on the Board of Directors, I took a three-pronged approach to promoting diversity: I hosted networking events at each year’s convention, invited guest speakers to present their recently-published works at board-sponsored special events, and chaired sessions on topics related to the African Diaspora. I continue to support NeMLA by attending conventions and chairing or presenting on a range of topics, including racism in the digital age, contemporary representations of enslavement, and diasporic black women writers. For the 2020 convention, I co-chaired a session where I presented on applying to graduate school in literature and mentored graduate students in the Job Clinic. For 2021, I submitted sessions on the prose works of the Obamas and commemorating the late Toni Morrison and Paule Marshall.
Now that American Literature has a transnational/diasporic scope, I will build membership by soliciting scholarship from across the Americas. As Area Director, I will seek out and promote scholarship by and about populations who are under-represented within NeMLA, including Caribbean, Asian American, Native American, and Latinx/Chicano Literatures. I will also ensure that African-American and African Diasporic literatures continue to grow. In short, I will work closely with the board to continue the diversity work from a decade ago, by ensuring that our conventions reflect the porous boundaries between countries throughout the Americas.