2012 ELECTION STATEMENTS (also available as a pdf file here)

For President: Yemisi Jimoh
I have been a member of MELUS since 1998, and I was Program Chair from 2001-2003. In that position I co-organized the MELUS Sixteenth Annual Conference in Seattle, Washington in 2002. For more than a decade, MELUS has provided me with colleagues whose interests in the broad range of the ethnic literatures of the United States have helped inform my own teaching and scholarship. In addition to my service in MELUS, I have held leadership positions at UMass and I also have served as the graduate program director in my department. If elected, I will work in the best interests of the society and promote this organization as the preeminent home of scholars of multiethnic literatures of the United States. I value the intellectual strength of my colleagues in this valuable organization. And it would be an immense pleasure for me to use my organizational and leadership skills to forward the great work of MELUS. I welcome the opportunity to serve as the President of MELUS and would be honored by your vote.

For Program Chair: Lingyan Yang
An Associate Professor of English at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, I have been a MELUS member for over a decade. I teach Asian American literature & feminist criticism, comparative postcolonial & American multiethnic women’s literature, and 20th century critical theory.  If elected, I will organize more panels on gender and sexuality in multiethnic women’s literature, on comparative ethnic narratives, on genre and language, on race, ethnicity, class, and culture, on the institutional challenges and global visions, on multiethnic theories and criticisms, etc.  I will be dedicated, diligent, respectful, inclusive, balanced, and fair to serve our colleagues, our field and organization of MELUS, and our profession.  I am the co-organizer of the 2013 MELUS conference in Pittsburgh on March 14-17, 2013.

For Treasurer: Kim Martin Long
Kim Martin Long, Associate Dean of Arts and Sciences at Shippensburg University and former Professor of English, seeks re-election to the office of Treasurer for MELUS.  In this position, Kim has set up online payments, diversified MELUS’s investments, and has begun MELUS’s life in digital media.  On the MELUS board for several years, Kim understands MELUS’s needs and enjoys her service to the organization.  She attends all board meetings (at both MLA and MELUS) and takes an active role in the life of the Society.  She is co-chairing the MELUS conference in Pittsburgh in 2013 and currently serves as the chair of the MLA Division of Ethnic Studies.

For Membership Chair: Marion Rohrleitner
A 5th-year Assistant Professor of English at the University of Texas at El Paso, I have been a member of MELUS for several years and have been presenting at the annual conference three times. I am very interested in getting more involved in our fabulous organization. My first goal for the position would be to work towards increasing membership in MELUS both nationally and internationally. One possible strategy is to establish our presence at the annual meeting of such key organizations as the American Studies Association and the Latin American Studies Association (perhaps by organizing one booth at book exhibits with recent publications by MELUS members). One advantage of a MELUS membership that could be stressed more consists in it allowing access to the MESEA conference every other year. I also would like to encourage more lifetime and graduate student memberships by creating a listserv dedicated to issues related to the goals of MELUS.

For Membership Chair: Karen Skinazi
As a longtime and devoted member of MELUS, I would like to run for membership chair. I have been a member of MELUS since 2003 and attended several conferences over the last 9 years. I have also published in the journal and been an active part of the specialist reader pool since 2007, reviewing nearly a dozen manuscripts to date. My desire to become membership chair stems from my deep investment in MELUS. As membership chair, one of my goals is to increase MELUS’s use of social media. MELUS currently has a Twitter account, but it is not very active; I would like to energize it so that interested parties would receive daily tweets about relevant events and issues.  I am very organized, hardworking, and adept at keeping track of information. I am versed in Excel, Word, and iWeb. I also possess a dynamic and energetic personality, which will effectively allow me to canvass and draw in new members.

For Secretary: Tracy Floreani
As an active member of MELUS for more than a decade, I have wanted to serve MELUS more actively. In running for the position of Secretary, I will continue the work of facilitating the organization’s mission and the bringing-together of like-minded academics and writers in the study and teaching of multi-ethnic literatures.  Having served in several elected offices locally and nationally, and in the administrative capacity of academic department chair, I bring to the position much professional experience in the areas of organization, scheduling, and communication; leadership and academic diplomacy; and program planning and development. If elected, I will build upon the work of the current Secretary and am confident that I can work collaboratively with the executive committee to continue the Society’s growth and outreach.

For Secretary: Christopher Gonzalez
I have served as Graduate Student Representative of the MELUS Executive Council for the past three years. In that time I have proven a consistent and reliable member of the EC, attending every required meeting at the MLA Convention and MELUS Conference, while also advocating for the graduate student members of MELUS. It is crucial that the Secretary attend every meeting, and I have already demonstrated my commitment to both the Society and the EC with my active engagement and collaboration as Graduate Student Representative. Also, I have shown my ability to work well with the members of the EC, whose esprit de corps has become one of the hallmarks of the Executive Council. As I make the transition in my career from graduate student at Ohio State University to assistant professor, I would welcome the opportunity to make the transition from Graduate Student Representative to Secretary of the EC.

For Special Projects Chair: Mary Jo Bona
Mary Jo Bona is completing her first term as Project Chair on the MELUS board in 2012. During her tenure, Mary Jo convened an annual roundtable at the MELUS conference, choosing timely topics of both scholarly and curricular concern, including topics on transnationalism, the crisis in the humanities, and the archive.  Should she be chosen for another term, Mary Jo will focus on establishing an annual MELUS prize for the best article published in the journal during the preceding volume year.  Mary Jo Bona is professor of Italian American Studies at Stony Brook University and has co-edited (with Irma Maini) Multiethnic Literature and Canon Debates and guest edited volume 28, number 3 of MELUS on Italian American literature. 

For Special Projects Chair: Jolie A. Sheffer
I am a faculty member in the English department at Bowling Green State University. I am eager to become more involved with MELUS. As Project Chair, I would work to ensure the successful completion of new endeavors that support and extend MELUS’s reach.  I have previous experience in organizing and administering special projects, including two years as a Faculty Associate in the interdisciplinary Institute for the Study of Culture and Society at BGSU, where I was responsible for bringing in national speakers (David Eng, Anne Anlin Cheng, José Muñoz, among others), organizing in-depth seminars for graduate students from a variety of programs and departments, and communicating our activities with the university and local communities.  I would bring these pragmatic skills, with my own vision and energy, to this position.

For Graduate Student Representative: Melissa Dennihy
I am currently a fourth-year doctoral candidate at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.  My interest in serving MELUS stems from my conviction that I will be able to effectively understand and respond to the interests and concerns of the graduate student members. If elected, I plan to address the needs of graduate students by providing opportunities in forums and roundtable discussions at both the annual MELUS conference and other national conferences where MELUS is offering sessions. Also, I will seek to foster more regular communication among the MELUS graduate student community through both the MELUS Facebook page and a separate MELUS graduate student listserv.  Finally, I will reach out to other graduate student organizations and branches to create opportunities for wider scholarly and creative collaboration.

For Graduate Student Representative: Maria Seger
As Assistant Editor of the MELUS Journal beginning this summer, I will be in regular contact with subscribing and contributing MELUS graduate students.  I hope to make use of this connection to begin to assess how MELUS can better serve and recruit graduate students.  Additionally, in my capacity as co-chair of the Professional Development Committee of the University of Connecticut’s English Graduate Student Association this year, I have served as a liaison between graduate students and the department, recruited members for the committee, and supervised the planning and execution of many successful events.  I look forward to the opportunity to employ skills learned from these experiences as MELUS Graduate Student Representative.


1. To clarify the wording of the 2004 version of ARTICLE IV, Section 1,
    so that it reads:

The Executive Committee shall consist of a President, a Program Chair (who assumes the position of Vice President for Programming), a Secretary, a Treasurer, the Editor of the MELUS Journal, a Membership Chair, the Project Chair and the Graduate Student Representative. This Committee is responsible for the operation of the Association, subject to review by the entire membership at the annual meeting.

2. To amend ARTICLE IV, Section 2, so that it reads:

All officers of the Executive Committee (with the exception of the Editor of the Journal and the Treasurer), are elected for a term of three years. They are eligible for re-election once, with the exception of the Treasurer, who has no limitations on renewal of appointment. Should a vacancy occur, the position may be filled temporarily by an appointee of the Executive Committee. The Journal Editor receives five-year appointments from the Executive Committee, with no limitations on renewal of appointment.