112th Annual Conference - Riverside Convention Center, California
Friday, October 31 - Sunday, November 2, 2014

This page is about the 2014 conference. For 2015 conference info, go to PAMLA 2015.

Keynotes and Special Events

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Cheryl D. Edelson, PAMLA 2013-2014 President and Associate Professor of English, Chaminade University of Honolulu 
Presidential Address: “A Coterie of Spiritualists and Free Thinkers”: Spectral Riverside

Friday, October 31 - 12:20-1:45 pm (Riverside Convention Center Exhibit Hall C)
(Reservations needed for luncheon; please use the registration system)

PAMLA President Cheryl D. Edelson discusses how, with its 2014 conference, PAMLA has joined Riverside’s longstanding tradition of hosting what Elmer Wallace Holmes has dubbed “a coterie of spiritualists and free thinkers.” From “potent medium” Eliza Tibbets to hauntological luminary Jacques Derrida, Riverside stirs the “familiar spirits” of heterodoxy and preternatural exploration.

Cheryl D. Edelson is current PAMLA President and Associate Professor of English and English Discipline Coordinator at Chaminade University of Honolulu. Cheryl holds a B.S. in Anthropology from the University of California, Riverside, an M.A. in English from the University of California, Irvine, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Riverside. Her research and teaching interests include American Literature, the Literary Gothic, Film and Television Studies, and Popular Culture. Cheryl’s recent publications include “'Talking ‘Bout Some Heisenberg': Experimenting with the Mad Scientist in Breaking Bad” (forthcoming), and “Reclaiming Plots: Albert Wendt’s ‘Prospecting’ and Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl’s Ola Na Iwi as Postcolonial Gothic” in Neo-Victorian Gothic: Horror, Violence, and Degeneration in the Re-imagined Nineteenth Century (Rodopi Press, 2012). Since 2007, Cheryl has served as the co-organizer for the Oceanic Popular Culture Association Conference—a meeting that convenes annually in Honolulu and one that attracts scholars from around the world. Cheryl received a 2010 President’s Award for contributions to the field of popular culture studies from the national Popular Culture/American Culture Associations. Born in Los Angeles, Cheryl spent most of her life in California’s Inland Empire before relocating to Hawai’i in 2004.


Creative Artist Spotlight Address: Vital Signs with Juan Delgado and Thomas McGovern

Friday, October 31 5:15-6:40 pm (RCC Exhibit Hall C)

In the powerful Vital Signs (2013, Heyday) poet Juan Delgado and photographer Thomas McGovern (both professors from California State University, San Bernardino) created a beautiful and moving collaborative photography/poetry book about the Inland Empire region of Southern California, starting with the city of San Bernardino. The Before Columbus Foundation has selected Vital Signs as one of the recipients of the 2014 American Book Awards. 

Thomas McGovern’s photographs of signage began in 2006. McGovern and Delgado continue to find these local signs beautiful and emblematic of the rich cultural heritage of their community and region. Juan Delgado’s poetry evolved through extensive discussions while the two artists were driving, walking and celebrating their city of San Bernardino.

Delgado and McGovern will discuss how they attempted to combine images and words so as to suggest the expansive nature of art making where seemingly unrelated things, memories, impressions and relationships coalesce through the shared sensibility of the artists and viewers.

The fusion of cultures is apparent in Delgado and McGovern’s book, which is a tribute to the region. In their address, the artists will discuss their relationship to San Bernardino, a place that not only tolerates but celebrates diversity, ingenuity, and entrepreneurship. They will also discuss the process of gentrification, and how as neighborhoods develop and prosper, these signs and the vitality they represent, and our shared cultural heritage, are sadly painted over, homogenizing what was unique.

Poet Juan Delgado and photographer Thomas McGovern will discuss their collaboration and how each affected the other. Collaboration is always a challenge and especially when combining disparate mediums. Delgado and McGovern will read poetry and discuss individual photographs, exploring how they expand upon the shared sensibilities of the artists while representing their community.

Mexican American poet Juan Delgado (b. 1960) first came to the United States with his family when he was a child. He attended California State University, San Bernardino, where he studied accounting before discovering writing and majoring in English. He earned an MFA from the University of California, Irvine, where he was a Regents Fellow. Delgado’s collections of poetry are Green Web (1994), selected by poet Dara Weir for the Contemporary Poetry Prize at the University of Georgia; El Campo (1998); A Rush of Hands (2003); and Vital Signs (2013), which is about his hometown of San Bernardino. His poems have been included in the anthology Touching the Fire: Fifteen Poets of Today’s Latino Renaissance (1998). Delgado’s work often portrays the realities of the immigrant experience, with its attendant poverty, hardships, and love. In El Campo, Delgado’s poems about Mexican farm workers and their families are accompanied by paintings by Simon Silva. Rosa Martha Villarreal, reviewing A Rush of Hands for Tertulia, noted the “muted images of personal sorrow and terrified wonder,” adding that Delgado “takes images from the community of shadows, the undocumented immigrants, and gives substance to their being.” Delgado has been poet-in-residence at the University of Miami. He is a professor of creative writing, Chicano literature, and poetry at California State University, San Bernardino.

Thomas McGovern (b. 1957) is a photographer, writer and educator living in San Bernardino, California. He is the author of Vital Signs (Heyday 2013), Hard Boys + Bad Girls (Schiffer, 2010), Amazing Grace (Parker 2010), and Bearing Witness (to AIDS) (Visual AIDS/A.R.T. Press 1999). His photographs have been in 30 solo and over 50 group exhibitions and are in the collections of The Brooklyn Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; The Baltimore Museum of Art; Museum of the City of New York; and the Griffin Museum of Photography, among others. In 2011 he founded the photography magazine Dotphotozine, and in 2014 he initiated the Dotphotozine Award for Excellence in Photography. He is a professor of art at California State University, San Bernardino.


Halloween Cash Bar (and Candy Feast) Reception

Join us for this fun and family-friendly event. Candy and light snacks, a Halloween-themed film outdoors, and a cash bar. Fun for all!


David J. Skal, Film and Horror Historian
Plenary Address: “Bram Stoker: The Final Curtain”

Saturday, November 1,  12:10 -1:45 pm (Riverside Convention Center Ballroom A/B)
(Reservations needed for luncheon; please use the registration system)

Film Historian David J. Skal delivers an address based on his forthcoming book, Bram Stoker: The Final Curtain (Liveright, 2015), a cultural biography of Bram Stoker that explores the ways in which Dracula, as well as the general Victorian fascination with the supernatural, can be viewed as both conscious and unconscious cultural strategies to preserve the idea of the Christian afterlife against the rise of science and skepticism in the nineteenth century.

David J. Skal is the author of several critically acclaimed books on the horror genre in literature and popular culture, including Hollywood Gothic: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen and The Monster Show: A Cultural History of Horror. With Nina Auerbach, he is co-editor of the Norton Critical Edition of Dracula, and the producer of a dozen DVD and Blu-ray documentaries on classic horror and science fiction films, including a behind-the-scenes chronicle of the Academy Award-winning film Gods and Monsters (Bill Condon, 1998). He has guest lectured at dozens of colleges, universities and cultural institutions, including the Musee du Louvre, and has taught courses based on his books at Trinity College Dublin and the University of Victoria.


General Membership Meeting

Saturday, November 1st, 5:10-5:25 pm (RCC Ballroom A/B)



Saturday November 1st, 5:25 pm (RCC Ballroom A/B)

PAMLA Distinguished Service Award 2014

PAMLA initiated its Distinguished Service Award in 2012, when the inaugural award went to long-time PAMLA member and former PAMLA President (1997-1998) and UCLA Professor of English, Frederick Burwick. In 2013 the award went to long-time PAMLA member, Professor Emerita of German at Scripps College, and current co-editor of PAMLA’s Pacific Coast Philology, Roswitha Burwick.

This year, we are very proud to announce our third worthy recipient of the PAMLA Distinguished Service Award, Professor Steven Gould Axelrod, Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside, and past PAMLA President (2005-2006). Professor Steve Axelrod has been instrumental in helping PAMLA to develop in the areas of American literature and poetry. Like the previous recipients of this award, he has spent thousands of hours working on behalf of PAMLA, encouraging hundreds of scholars to get involved in the organization’s annual conference and prestigious journal. His service to PAMLA and the discipline is truly something to be honored, which will occur at the PAMLA Awards ceremony on Saturday, November 1, at 5:10 pm in the Riverside Convention Center’s Ballroom A/B.

Steven Gould Axelrod is Distinguished Professor of English at the University of California, Riverside. He is a former President of PAMLA (2005-2006) and is presently a member of the Advisory Board of Pacific Coast Philology. At UCR he occupied the McCauley Chair in Teaching Excellence and currently serves in the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. He is the author of Robert Lowell: Life and Art (Princeton 1978); Robert Lowell: A Reference Guide (G. K. Hall 1982); and Sylvia Plath: The Wound and the Cure of Words (Johns Hopkins 1990). He is co-editor of the New Anthology of American Poetry, Volumes 1-3 (Rutgers 2002, 2005, 2012). He has also edited Robert Lowell: Essays on the Poetry (Cambridge 1986); Critical Essays on Wallace Stevens (G. K. Hall 1988); Critical Essays on William Carlos Williams (G. K. Hall-Macmillan 1995); and The Critical Response to Robert Lowell (Greenwood 1999). His most recent articles have appeared in The Cambridge Companion to Elizabeth Bishop (Cambridge 2014); Robert Frost in Context (Cambridge 2014), and Primary Stein (Lexington 2014). He is presently writing a new book on Cold War Poetics and is co-editing Robert Lowell’s Memoirs (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, forthcoming).


PAMLA Forum: “The Uncanny Art of Reading” 
Presiding Officer: Heidi Schlipphacke, Germanic Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

November 1, 5:25-6:40 pm (RCC Ballroom A/B)

As Freud reminds us in his 1919 essay “The Uncanny” (“Das Unheimliche”), the uncanny encounter is both a familiar and an unfamiliar one. Perhaps a product of post-sacral modernity, uncanny feelings frequently haunt our encounters with an Other. In the 2014 PAMLA Forum, we are particularly interested in uncanny encounters with texts, as it is precisely the play between the known and the foreign that constitutes the art of interpretation. The act of reading itself can be uncanny, as one encounters familiar signs and narratives shaped into unfamiliar constellations. The 2014 PAMLA Forum will reflect on various aspects of temporal and figural literary hauntings, opening up a discussion about how the act of reading literature rehearses the uncanny encounter with the Other in productive ways.

Heidi Schlipphacke is Associate Professor of Germanic Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She has published widely on the European Enlightenment and on post-WWII German and Austrian literature and film, with a particular focus on issues of family, kinship and nation. Her book, Nostalgia After Nazism: History, Home and Affect in German and Austrian Literature and Film, appeared in 2010 (Bucknell UP). She is currently working on two monographs: one on the cinema of Tom Tykwer and the other on polygamy and the German Enlightenment.

Imke Meyer, Germanic Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago
“Bourgeois Innocence Lost: Uncanny Children in Turn-of-the-Century Vienna”

An encounter with a child can fill the beholder with the joy of recognition of a past self, or with nostalgia for a time of innocence. But encounters with children also always contain an element of the uncanny: in the form of repressed pasts or premonitions of difficult futures inaugurated by the adult generation. In Vienna around 1900, representations of uncanny children abound: Freud's case studies; Hofmannsthal's, Andrian's, and Schnitzler's narratives; and Klimt's and Kokoschka's paintings confront the reader and onlooker with unsettling images of children who seem anything but innocent. Why do these images proliferate in turn-of-the-century Vienna? This presentation posits that shifts in the bourgeoisie's self-perception--from liberal underdog to that of a privileged class, financially empowered and politically wedged between the lower classes and the nobility--prompted a re-evaluation of bourgeois history. In this process, images of children served as a multi-faceted index of a past in which innocence is both present and always already lost; and in which the seeds of the future are as promising as they are foreboding. Representations of uncanny children in Vienna 1900 serve as a mirror of the liberal bourgeoisie's perception of its past and future.

Imke Meyer is Professor of Germanic Studies and Director of the School of Literatures, Cultural Studies and Linguistics at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her research focuses on narrative theory, on gender, and on aesthetics and politics in late 19th and 20th century German and Austrian literature and culture. She has also published extensively on German and Austrian cinema. Her most recent book, Männlichkeit und Melodram: Arthur Schnitzlers erzählende Schriften, appeared in 2010.

Kate Thomas, English, Bryn Mawr College
"Lesbian Immortal"

This paper considers the late-nineteenth century lesbian craze for séances and hauntings, arguing that at the fin-de-siècle, the literary lesbian experienced her liminality in ways that allowed her to glimpse longevity.  This "Lesbian Immortal" produced characters such as: mummies who do needle-work, dead dogs who write sonnets, corpses with untidy hair. The presentation will discuss the - at times tragic, at times comic - mundanity of these figures, and consider the relationship of that mundanity to the category of the "familiar," which is so important to the uncanny.

Kate Thomas is Associate Professor and Chair of English at Bryn Mawr College.  Her research interests span Victorian literature and culture, materialism, queer studies and food studies.  She is the author of Postal Pleasures: Sex, Scandal and Victorian Letters (Oxford UP, 2012) and is working on a new book project provisionally titled Victorians Fat and Thin. 

Sangita Gopal, English and Cinema Studies, University of Oregon
“Postcolonialism and the Technological Uncanny”

Postcoloniality has been frequently theorized as an uncanny condition where the signs and norms of the colonizer's culture repeat but at a temporal remove. This paper explores the place and function of technology within this uncanny terrain. How does technology that always arrives - at least in the post colony - as a harbinger of the new and unknown interface with the temporal delay that has characterized postcolonialism? How, in turn, is technology rendered uncanny in the course of the encounter with the postcolonial double? Why is technological display so crucial to postcolonial modes of representation, and what secrets do such forms of publicity conceal?

Sangita Gopal is Associate Professor of Cinema Studies at the University of Oregon. She is author of Conjugations: Marriage and Film Form in New Bollywood Cinema (University of Chicago Press, 2012) and co-editor of two collections of essays Global Bollywood: Travels of Hindi Film Music (University of Minnesota Press, 2008) and The Fourth Screen: Intermedia in Asia (Routledge, 2012). She has published essays on feminism and media in journals such as Camera Obscura, Feminist Studies, SAQ, Comparative Literature and Postcolonial Studies. She is currently at work on two projects - one on self-reflexivity in Indian cinema and the other on intermediality and gender in Indian cinema.


PAMLA Conference Reception: Dia de los Muertos

Saturday, November 1, 6:45-8:30pm (Marriott Grand Ballroom)

The annual conference Reception, this year falling on Dia de los Muertos/Day of the Dead, is a terrific opportunity to see old friends and to make some new ones, while enjoying light snacks and beverages.


A Tour of Tio's Tacos: Riverside’s Folk Art Wonderland

Sunday, November 2, 12:30-2:00 pm 

We will be concluding the 2014 PAMLA Conference with a very exciting event: A Tour of Tio’s Tacos: Riverside's Folk Art Wonderland! On Sunday, November 2nd, from 12:30 to 2 pm, we will visit Tio’s Tacos (we will leave the Riverside Convention Center for Tio’s at 12:30—it is about a 9 minute walk from the Riverside Convention Center) so that Martin Sanchez, the owner of Tio’s Tacos, can discuss his art with us. Martin Sanchez uses re-purposed objects—from beer bottles to Barbies, oyster shells to rusty tools—to decorate his family's excellent Mexican restaurant with exuberant, eclectic, eccentric statuary, structures, and mosaics influenced by his childhood in Michoacán. Tio’s Tacos rivals the Watts Towers as a California landmark of found art.

Patricia A. Morton, Associate Professor of architectural history in Art History at UC Riverside, will help to contextualize the kitschy and moving folk art of Tio’s Tacos. Professor Morton has received grants and fellowships from the Getty Research Institute, the Fulbright Program, the University of California Humanities Research Institute, and the National Endowment for the Arts. Her book on the 1931 Colonial Exposition in Paris, Hybrid Modernities, was published in 2000 by MIT Press and in Japan by Brücke in 2002.

No-host lunch to follow.