Allen University Students to Present at Largest SAMLA Event

montage of SAMLA participants

Written by: Valencia James ’20, English

Three Allen University students will travel to Atlanta, Ga. to present at the South Atlantic Modern Language Association conference this upcoming November. SAMLA, founded in 1928, is for teachers and students of both undergraduate and graduate programs dedicated to the advancement of literary and linguistic scholarship and teaching in the modern languages.

This conference is the organization’s largest annual event with guest speakers from all across the world. It features multiple panels, and numerous workshops, along with distinguished speakers and other guests.

The students who will attend this conference are junior Jordan N. Wiggins and seniors, Tia Mack and Valencia James. Dr. Catherine Adams, former associate professor of English at Allen University, will accompany the students.  After encouraging the students to apply to present at the conference, Dr. Adams helped each of them with drafting their abstracts for submission. Adams believes that each of these students offers different perspectives that will add value to their panel discussions.

“Jordan, will bring what I want to call ‘activist fire.’ Tia is the voice of those who don’t have one, the voice to say things that need to be said intergenerationally, and Valencia is the one that sat at the feet of the ancestors, the one through which the stories of the past will be passed to the next generation,” Adams said.

Jordan’s presentation, “Platforms for Disruption and the Student Protest at HBCUs,” explores the legacy of protests at HBCUs, the current platforms for student activism and the trends for protests in the future. Mack’s “Don’t Police the Women You Seek to Mold,” will spark discussion around the research and personal experiences that argue against destructive behaviors between generations of black women.

James’ “Preserving Southern (Her/His)stories in African American Literature,” explores the idea of how much history is lost over time when we fail to share with  one another and provides insight into how stories are passed through generations.

While this will be the first time that the students will participate in this conference, but this will be the Wiggins and Mack’s first time ever attending a conference.

Wiggins said that, “By not knowing what to expect I find myself feeling nervous and scared.” Mack, though also apprehensive, looks forward to the discussion her presentation may spark. “I’m a little excited for what is to come and the challenges my ideas might face,” said Mack.