Candidate Statement for 2020 MLA Forum Elections

I’m honored to stand for election to the Executive Committee of the MLA’s Victorian and Early 20th-Century English Forum. A role on that Committee demands real attention to a host of responsibilities, chief among them the responsibility to ensure that all of the Forum’s convention panels, roundtables, and workshops reflect the full scope of our membership and its interests. In practice, this means that all convention programming should be accessible, should speak to the field’s current directions and intellectual emphases in clear ways, and should invite participation from as wide a range of our constituency as possible (and, relatedly, make concrete efforts at facilitating that participation, particularly from members who lack institutional support). It also means that we must create lineups of presenters that include graduate students, early career scholars, contingent faculty, and those working broadly in and across multiple career paths inside and outside of academia as well as tenured researchers; BIPOC, queer, trans, and disabled scholars; and members from community colleges and smaller teaching institutions as well as larger research universities. I am committed to fostering and maintaining this culture within the Forum, and pledge to develop panels and other convention programming that focuses on the very issues of representation, labor, interdisciplinarity, and critical responses to our present moment that characterize our most important scholarship. Our field is uniquely poised to tackle the most pressing issues of our time, and I would be honored to serve on the Executive Committee of the Forum to make sure that our commitments—intellectual and political, to our individual members and to the mission of a humanities education more broadly—are front and center in everything we do.

Thank you for your consideration, and please feel free to get in touch (levamatt_at_isu_dot_edu) if you have any questions about my candidacy or positions. Voting closes on Dec. 10.

Graduate Studies in English at Idaho State University

I currently serve as the Director of Graduate Studies in English at Idaho State University, in which capacity I supervise our MA in English, PhD in English and the Teaching of English, and TESOL Certificate programs. Ours is a small, student-centered graduate program that emphasizes pedagogy, and our PhD has been recognized by the MLA as an innovative doctoral program for its emphasis on training graduates for careers at community colleges and teaching-intensive institutions (see MLA report below).

For more information about our program, please see our website

Report of the MLA Task Force on Doctoral Study in Modern Language and Literature (May 2014)

If you or your students are interested in pursuing graduate work in English at ISU, please get in touch!

Idaho Humanities Council

Since November 2020, I have served as a member of the Board of the Idaho Humanities Council, Idaho’s non-profit partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The IHC is “dedicated to serving Idaho citizens by promoting greater public awareness, appreciation, and understanding of the humanities.” In my capacity as an academic representative for Southeast Idaho, I aim to support the IHC’s efforts at establishing humanities programming throughout the region, for the benefit of all.