2020 Officers & Executive Committee

Adrienne Angelo

Adrienne Angelo, President

Adrienne Angelo is Associate Professor and Undergraduate Advisor of French at Auburn University, where she teaches French language, literature, and film. She received her BA in French and Communication and Media Studies from Goucher College and her PhD in French from Emory University. She has been an active member of SAMLA since 2006 and has served as President and Secretary of the regular Film Studies panels. Currently, Angelo is also serving a three-year term as Regional Representative for the South for Women in French. Angelo has also organized conference panels for sessions at the 20th and 21st-Century French and Francophone Studies International Colloquium, Northeast Modern Language Association, and Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association. Her research focuses on life writing and contemporary French and Francophone women’s literature, and her work has appeared in Australian Journal of French Studies, International Journal of Francophone Studies, Irish Journal of French Studies, Studies in Twentieth and Twenty-first Century Literatures, and Women in French Studies. She has co-edited two anthologiesProtean Selves: First-Person Voices in Twenty-First Century French and Francophone Narratives (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2014) and Cherchez la femme: Women and Values in the Francophone World (Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2011)—and is currently developing a book-length project focusing on women’s autobiography and the fait divers.

Rudyard Alcocer

Rudyard Alcocer, First Vice President

Rudyard Alcocer is the Forrest & Patsy Shumway Chair of Excellence in Romance Languages and Associate Professor of Latin American Literature and Culture in the Department of Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he is the founding director of the Latin American and Caribbean Studies Faculty Seminar. He is the author of Time Travel in the Latin American & Caribbean Imagination: Re-reading History (Palgrave Macmillan 2011), Narrative Mutations: Discourses of Heredity and Caribbean Literature (Routledge 2005), and Celluloid Chains: Slavery in the Americas through Cinema (co-edited; forthcoming from University of Tennessee Press). Alcocer is also the founding faculty advisor for Vernacular: New Connections in Languages, Literatures, and Culturesthe University of Tennessee’s graduate journal in French, German, and Hispanic Studies. He currently serves as president of MIFLC (Mountain Interstate Foreign Language Conference). Alcocer is currently preparing a monograph that explores empirical approaches to literary studies; this project is in many ways premised on the search for methodologies most capable of making the literature classroom engaging to its students. Alcocer teaches all levels of Latin American literature and culture, and has designed and taught advanced courses involving the Hispanic Caribbean and the African Diaspora in Spanish America.

Christina McDonald

Christina McDonald, Second Vice President

Christina Russell McDonald is Professor of English and Institute Director of Writing at the Virginia Military Institute, where she teaches first-year composition, classical and contemporary rhetoric, composition theory and pedagogy, the rhetoric of health and medicine, as well as the senior capstone for English majors. In 2019, she was named the inaugural holder of the Jackson-Hope Distinguished Chair in the Humanities at VMI. She also organizes VMI’s nationally recognized Spilman Symposium on Issues in Teaching Writing. For nine years before her tenure at VMI, Christina taught undergraduate and graduate courses in both literature and writing at James Madison University, where she served as director of composition and founding head of the Writing Program, an independent academic unit in the College of Arts and Letters. Her participation in Cohort VI of the Inter/National Coalition for Research on Electronic Portfolios has resulted in presentations on reflective learning and ePortfolios at meetings of the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), and the Assessment Institute. Her publications include two books, Teaching Writing: Landmarks and Horizons (Southern Illinois University Press) and Teaching Composition in the 1990s: Sites of Contention (HarperCollins). Her current is focused on reflective learning and ePortfolios. A long-time participant in annual SAMLA conferences, Christina also has served as a Member of the Executive Committee (2014-2017), as Chair of the Undergraduate Essay Award Committee, and on the Finance Committee. Currently, she is a member of the Editorial Board for the South Atlantic Review.

Deborah Coxwell-Teague

Deborah Coxwell-Teague, Past President

Deborah Coxwell-Teague currently serves as director of Florida State University’s College Composition Program. In this capacity, she is involved in the training and supervision of close to 150 graduate teaching assistants who teach approximately 400 sections of College Composition annually. She has also served as director of FSU’s Reading/Writing Center and has taught composition at both the high school and community college levels. Her research interests focus on teacher training and composition. Her publications include Finding Our Way: A Writing Teacher’s Sourcebook, coauthored with the late Wendy Bishop; Everything's a Text, a composition textbook coauthored with Dan Melzer; First-Year Composition: From Theory to Practice, coauthored with Ronald Lunsford; and recent editions of both The Longman Writer and The Longman Reader.

Ren Denton

Ren Denton, Executive Committee Member

Ren Denton, MFA, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of English at East Georgia State College. Her teaching and research interests include African American Literature and Southern Literature, particularly twentieth and twenty-first-century cultural productions that filter historical traumas through images, spectacles, and performances of social, racial, gender, regional, and national identities. She is currently working on a manuscript about voodoo aesthetics for McFarland and has published articles and chapters on William Faulkner and African American Literature. She is involved with Digital Yoknapatawpha and is currently working on forming teaching strategies for the digital humanities project. She has been an active participant of SAMLA since graduate school and is currently serving on the SAR Prize Selection Committee.

Jay Lutz

Jay Lutz, Executive Committee Member

Jay Lutz is Professor of French and Frances I. Eeraerts ’76 Professor of Foreign Language at Oglethorpe University in Atlanta, Georgia. He received his PhD in French literature with a minor in Scandinavian from Yale University in 1986. He was awarded the rank of Chevalier de l’Ordre des Palmes Académiques by the government of France in 2005 and completed graduate work in Sweden as a Fulbright Scholar. Professor Lutz prepared the chapter on Verlaine for the Critical Bibliography of French Literature for the 19th century in the series known as the Cabeen bibliography. His interest in Verlaine and poetry of the late 19th century has led to a long-term project on French cabaret political song in the 1880s culminating in a book-length study entitled “Coming Back From the Parade” currently under review by publishers. Lutz has been an active member of SAMLA; he has chaired conference sessions both in French and Scandinavian. He was a member of SAMLA’s Executive Committee from 2008 to 2011.

Bryan Giemza

Bryan Giemza, Executive Committee Member

Bryan Giemza joined the faculty of the Honors College at Texas Tech University as tenured professor of humanities and literature in January 2019. Bryan is author or an editor of six academic books on American literary and cultural history, including Irish Catholic Writers and the Invention of the American South and Images of Depression-Era Louisiana: The FSA Photographs of Ben Shahn, Russell Lee, and Marion Post Wolcott. As principal investigator of grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and National Endowment for the Humanities, among others, he has led a variety of public humanities projects concerning the history and culture of the US South. Most recently he served as Director of the Southern Historical Collection at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he developed practices in community-driven archives.

Leticia Perez Alonso

Leticia Pérez Alonso, Executive Committee Member

Leticia Pérez Alonso is Assistant Professor of Spanish at Jackson State University, where she teaches courses of Spanish language, Peninsular Spanish, and Latin American Literature and Culture as well as surveys of Modern American literature. She holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from the University at Buffalo and a PhD in English from the University of Salamanca. Her research interests concern avant-garde poetry, art, visual culture, and film and gender studies. She has published book chapters and articles in a variety of venues such as the South Atlantic Review, the Cincinnati Romance Review and Women’s Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, to name a few. Leticia has been the recipient of fellowships and scholarships from the Fulbright Commission, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and, most recently, the Northeast Modern Language Association. She is currently working on a collective volume of essays that explores cinematic representations of women in modern celebrity culture. She regularly attends the SAMLA conventions in the capacity of presenter and chair of different sessions. As a member of SAMLA’s Executive Committee, she hopes to effectively assist in the organization of the annual conference and the dissemination of the journal of the association. She is also interested in providing opportunities that expand the career of junior faculty, graduate and undergraduate students. 

Martine Boumtje

Martine Boumtje, Executive Committee Member

Martine Ernestine Boumtje is Professor of French and Literature at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas. Born and raised in Cameroon, she received a BA (License en Lettres) with an emphasis in French Literature and Literary Genres at the Université de Yaoundé, a DIPLEG (Diplôme de Professeur des Lycées de l’Enseignement Général) at the Ecole Normale Supérieure de Yaoundé. A few years later, she came to the US and received an MA and a PhD in French and Francophone Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her dissertation, titled L’Illusion dans le Cinéma de l’Afrique Noire Francophone: Une Lecture de La vie est belle, Le Franc, Saaraba, et Touki-Bouki, was published in 2003 (University Microfilms International; Ann Arbor, Michigan). Boumtje’s teaching and research interests include French and Francophone Literature, Francophone African Cinema and Cultures. She is particularly interested in the co-existence of the past and present in Francophone African Cinema—new ways of filmmaking and production that challenge traditional narratives of storytelling. Boumtje is currently working on a book manuscript titled “Engraving History and Memories on an Empty Screen: The Narrative of Absence and Presence in Raoul Peck’s Lumumba, la mort du Prophète” and a book chapter titled “The Coexistence of the Past and Present in Dami Kouyate’s Keita: The Heritage of the Griot; A Case for an Integrative Curriculum.” An active member of the South Atlantic Modern Language Association since 2007, Boumtje has served throughout the years as session chair and secretary for both the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF) and the French III (20th- and 21st-Century French and Francophone Literature and Film). She also served as a member of the Nominating Committee from 2014 to 2016.

Amy Hodges Hamilton

Amy Hodges Hamilton, Executive Committee Member

Amy Hodges Hamilton (PhD, Florida State University) is a professor of English at Belmont University. Amy’s research and teaching interests center on personal writing, feminist theory, trauma theory, and healing and the arts. She serves as Belmont University Capstone Coordinator and the Sexual Assault Prevention and Awareness Peer Education Faculty Leader. Amy is most at home when writing and collaborating with students, which is evidenced in “First Responders: A Pedagogy for Writing and Reading Trauma” in Critical Trauma Studies (NYU Press, 2016) and many conference presentations which highlight the voices of student and community writers. Amy has served as the Co-Chair for Belmont’s Women’s History Month for the past five years and is committed to helping women on the margins find their voices through writing, most notably through her collaboration with The Next Door, Rest Stop Ministries, Leaving the Cocoon, and the Tennessee Prison for Women. Similarly, she advocates for children on the margins by regularly linking her writing classes with the Ronald McDonald House and Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital. She also serves as an educational consultant on the Maya Angelou Legacy Project as a result of the relationship cultivated during Dr. Angelou’s keynote address for the 2011 Belmont Humanities Symposium she co-organized around the theme of Liberating Voices and recently led a group of students across the Civil Rights Trail as a continuation of this work.

 Barton Palmer

R. Barton Palmer, Editor of South Atlantic Review

Barton Palmer is Calhoun Lemon Professor Emeritus of Literature at Clemson University, where he also directed the Global Cultural Studies and Cinema and World Cultures programs. Palmer holds PhDs from both Yale (Medieval Studies—French, German, and English) and New York University (Cinema Studies). He is the author, editor, or general editor of nearly fifty academic books on various literary and cinematic subjects, as well as nearly a hundred journal articles and book chapters. As a medievalist, Palmer is best known as an editor and translator of the poetry of Chaucer’s French contemporaries, including Guillaume de Machaut, Jean Froissart, Eustache Deschamps, and Alain Chartier. Currently, he co-directs an international research team with musicologist Yolanda Plumley (U of Exeter) whose main focus is the preparation of the first complete edition and English translation of the poetical and musical works of Guillaume de Machaut; this project is supported by the Leverhulme Foundation and by the NEH through the Middle English Text Series at the University of Rochester. His most recent film monographs are (with Robert Bray) Hollywood’s Tennessee: the Williams Films and Postwar America (Texas) and To Kill a Mockingbird: the Relationship between the Text and the Film (Methuen/A.C. Black). His recent edited collections include (with David Boyd) Hitchcock at the Source: The Auteur as Adaptor (SUNY); (with Murray Pomerance) “A Little Solitaire”: John Frankenheimer and Postwar Hollywood (Rutgers); and (with Steven Sanders) The Philosophy of Steven Soderbergh (Kentucky). Palmer is the founding and general editor of book series at Routledge, Edinburgh, Florida, and Georgia. He is the former Executive Director of SAMLA and was active in the relocation of the association at Georgia State University, where he used to teach.

Elizabeth West

Elizabeth J. West, Executive Director

Professor of English at Georgia State University, Elizabeth J. West focuses on early African American and Women's Literature, African Diaspora Literatures of the Americas, and literary representations of spirituality, religion, and gender. She is the author of African Spirituality in Black Women’s Fiction: Threaded Visions of Memory, Community, Nature and Being (Lexington Books, 2011), co-editor of Literary Expressions of African Spirituality (Lexington Books, 2013). Her publications also include essays in critical anthologies and articles in journals such as MELUS, CLAJ, PALARA, JCCH, Womanist, Black Magnolias, and South Central Review. Her 2012 article, “From David Walker to President Obama: Tropes of the Founding Fathers in African American Discourses of Democracy, or the Legacy of Ishmael” was recognized among “Featured Articles” in American Studies Journals: A Directory of Worldwide Resources. Along with receiving internal support for her research and teaching, she is a former AAUW Fellow, and conducted research as a scholar in residence at Dartmouth College (Department of AAAS). The recipient of a DAAD Fellowship, Dr. West spent the fall/winter 2013/14 semester teaching and working on her scholarship at Johannes Gütenberg University (Mainz, Germany). She was among scholars interviewed and consulted in the production of Georgia Public Broadcasting’s award winning documentary on the 75th anniversary of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. She serves on the Executive Committee of the College Language Association and has been the Executive Director of SAMLA since 2015. Her distinguished tenure as Executive Director will end in 2020.