AUBG Employee Spotlight: Professor Melissa Lingle-Martin

1.         What is your role at AUBG?

I am an Assistant Professor of Writing and Literature in the Arts, Languages, and Literature Department. My primary responsibility is to teach courses in American literature, early American literature in particular, but I also teach courses in general literature and composition.  My duties here at AUBG also involve research and service.

2.         Tell us a little about your background?

I come from a family of teachers, so teaching is in my blood, and I’ve been teaching in various settings for much of my adult life. I was an instructor at the University of New Hampshire, West Chester University of Pennsylvania, and Indiana University of Pennsylvania; and I was an Assistant Professor at Florida Gulf Coast University.  I have also taught at the high school level.  Most recently I was an English Teacher and Drama Director at a small but wonderful private high school in the US.  Of course I’m also a researcher.  I have a Ph.D. in Literature and Criticism, and I focus on the literature and culture of early and nineteenth-century America.  I love spending time in libraries and special collections.  Toward the end of my Ph.D. program I was a Lillian Gary Taylor Research Fellow in American Literature at the University of Virginia’s Harrison Institute for American History, Literature, and Culture.  My time at the Institute fueled my passion for examining the archive of early American culture, and I hope to spend much of my career close to the literary, visual, and material culture of the past in order to help us better understand history and the present, and more critically imagine our future. 

3.         What is the most important project you have worked on recently?

Recent events in the US--the riots in Charlottesville and the debates over Confederate monuments in particular--confirm that my current project is vitally important.  I analyze the connections between the social imaginary and social justice, especially as manifest in the literature, law, and visual culture of nineteenth-century America.  I am interested in how literary texts intervened in the often visual debates about how America imagined itself, especially in the years leading up to, during, and following the Civil War. 

4.         What do you like most about AUBG?

The people!  So far I have found my students and colleagues to be wonderful.  I also really like the city of Blagoevgrad and the mountainous landscape that surrounds it. I’m delighted to be here. 

5.         How does a normal day look like at your workplace?

I usually begin the day by either writing or reviewing my plans for my classes at home, and then I head to campus for office hours. Of course I teach, and review and assess student work. I also try to spend some time each day beyond the morning working on my research: some days that means gathering resources, some days that means reading, and some days that means writing.  And depending on the day, I have department and committee meetings, or other meetings with colleagues and students. 

6.         What is most rewarding about your job; what makes it all worthwhile?

I love having conversations with others about literature, especially when those conversations help us see our world in new ways. Helping students develop their communication skills is also incredibly rewarding. 

7.         What hobbies and interests do you have outside of work?

I’m an avid walker, hiker, and runner.  I love exploring the hills and forests around Blagoevgrad.  I also love listening to and playing music.  Although we (my husband and I) had to leave our instruments behind in America, I’m hoping to be able to make music a more regular part of my life here. 

8.         What's something about you few people know?

I would love to learn to play the banjo and a variety of other instruments. 

9.         Where is the best place you’ve traveled to and why?

To be honest, Blagoevgrad certainly makes the top ten list!  I love that I can walk out of the city into the hills and gain incredible views of the mountains.  I also love Northern California, especially the majestic Redwoods and the dramatic coastal landscape. 

10.   If you could choose another profession, what would it be?

I would probably be a lawyer, a National Public Radio host or reporter, or a drama director.

Interview courtesy of AUBG HR Office

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