Greetings to all of you! My name is Melissa Ridley Elmes, and I have been nominated for the MLA Celtic Forum’s Executive Committee. I wanted to take just a moment to introduce myself in advance of the Fall elections, since I have not yet had the opportunity to meet many members of this group in person.
My scholarly interest in Celtic studies is articulated in research work I have done with Robert Sempill’s Scottish ballads and with the Welsh Arthurian materials, especially the Mabinogion; as well as far more broadly in my teaching, where I have incorporated Irish, Scottish, and Welsh literature and culture in both stand-alone and survey courses at the high school and university levels.
Beyond these academic pursuits, I have studied Celtic literatures and cultures, particularly the mythologies, for my own private edification and enjoyment since I was a young girl. I thus bring both personal and professional enthusiasm to the subject area.
As a member of the Executive Forum, my primary goal would be to develop MLA conference sessions that are inclusive of all areas of Celtic studies, to permit the broadest possible number and kind of scholars to participate in our sessions and roundtables. I would also strive throughout my tenure as a committee member to promote Celtic studies to the broader MLA community and to recruit people working with Celtic subjects but not currently members of MLA to join and to increase our presence and voice at the conference and in the organization more generally.
I am very open to discussing ideas and receiving suggestions on how to support the Celtic studies community and to increase the visibility of Celtic studies not only in MLA, but in academia more generally. I appreciate the opportunity to serve in this capacity, if elected.
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