Department History


The Department of American Studies has faced and surpassed a number of challenges in the years since its last program review in 2003. While a host of changes, initiatives and developments have visited the Department in the ensuing years, American Studies’ history over recent years is best appreciated when placed in the context of three discernable moments that have set the course of change and development for the Department. This report takes up the following three moments: 1) American Studies in the Wake of the 2003 Program Review, 2) American Studies: A Third Decade as a Department and 3) Working at a New Scale: American Studies at UNM as a Mid-Size Department.

American Studies last underwent an Academic Program Review (APR) in 2003. American Studies faculty found the 2003 review to be the most complete and thorough evaluation of programs in the history of the Department, albeit that the review was limited to the Graduate Program. The Department was delighted by the positive outcomes cited in executive summary of the External Review Report and in the finely tuned assessment that can be found throughout the whole of the 2003 report. The Department was pleased to have independent confirmation that the hard work of the faculty, students, alumni of the Department had paid high dividends at this point in its history. The report documented verifiable and noteworthy accomplishments in several categories of scholarly and professional endeavor in American Studies. Faculty, students and the university community were gratified to know that the Department had become “a national leader in graduate education in American Studies;” that it was a highly esteemed program on the UNM campus; that it occupied a central position in “promoting interdisciplinary thinking at UNM” and that American Studies at UNM was in step with national and international developments in the discipline.

The Department took the report as a call to move forward and following the review American Studies faculty engaged in extended discussions regarding how best to build on recommendations in the final report of the external review committee. The external review committee urged College officers to invest in American Studies, concluding, “We believe that wise investment in the Department of American Studies will pay off handsomely for the university as a whole, and truly enhance this unit’s capacity to be a campus leader in interdisciplinarity and diversity, as well as the enrichment of the overall intellectual environment on campus” (External Review Report, 6). Looking to emerge in the top 10 American Studies programs over the next few years the Department worked to garner support and resources to meet the following objectives:

  • maintain the core faculty in American Studies and to whenever possible to increase the core faculty in American Studies beyond 8.0 FTE over the next five years,
  • seek support from the College Office to initiate an American Studies Scholars Lecture Series,
  • see resources to employ a technical support person (at least .50 FTE in American Studies) to aid in computer technology and web-based curriculum design and development
  • work with the Office of Graduate Studies (OGS) to increase the number of graduate fellowships for students admitted into American Studies and to streamline the process of receiving them
  • seek new resources to allow the Department to offer multi-year financial packages to incoming graduate students,
  • work with the Provost and the central administration to increase institutional commitment to interdisciplinary studies by recognizing the central role of American Studies in this work and, which in the view of the review team “places it within several critical areas of the strategic plan, we believe that the Department of American Studies should receive special consideration for university support” (External Review Report, 6).

Despite its efforts American Studies continued to face challenges especially in the area of retaining and recruiting faculty and graduate students. Personnel changes in academic year 2003 – 2004 were especially disquieting as they included the departure of one faculty member due to a negative mid-probationary review and the departure of senior scholar Beth Bailey who accepted a position in History at Temple University. Equally disappointing was deferred arrival of Jake Kosek, a specialist in environmental studies who was hired in a national search the year before. These gaps left a faculty reduced in strength to cover an enormous range of needs in the department. Undeterred the faculty continued implementing a number of recommendations from the review. Professors Amanda Cobb and Rebecca Schreiber joined efforts to create a greater sense of community among undergraduate majors in the department and the American Studies colloquium series was reinvigorated and began to offer a program of well-received talks by American Studies faculty, graduate students and nationally prominent scholars. Assistant Professor Alex Lubin took up the recommendation from the 2003 review to redesign the departmental web page.

Enthusiasm for meeting its long range goals returned to American Studies in AY 2004 – 2005 when the Department saw itself in a position of increasing strength and distinction in marked areas of its graduate program. A. Gabriel Meléndez, Chair reported “it [is] clear that the department was outpacing the prognosis of our external reviewers in 2003” and went on to note “with greater commitment and support, American Studies at the University of New Mexico is within striking distance of emerging in the top ten programs on a national level within the next five to ten years” (External Review Report, 5). Meléndez was confident that if subjected to National Research Council (NRC) rankings, American Studies would be among the top 10 American Studies graduate programs in the nation. He rested his assertion on the Department’s distinctive features such as its faculty-student diversity, its location in Hispanic-serving UNM and the close articulation between its undergraduate and graduate programs. Each of these dimensions had been strengthened by recent developments in the Department. Affirming that American Studies excelled at fostering interdisciplinary research and at building student and intellectual diversity in its programs Meléndez affirmed, “We believe that our graduate programs enjoy distinction at the University of New Mexico.” The positive outlook was the result of American Studies having been successful in filling faculty departures through opportunity hires approved by the Dean of Arts and Sciences. In all, four faculty appointments were made in 2004-2005 and included the addition of two full-time Assistant Professors and two tenured part-time Professors. Beyond increasing the size of the department these appointments were of enormous strategic importance since they increased American Studies’ visibility
as a leader in interdisciplinary graduate education. The additions included the deferred appointment of Jake Kosek (Ph.D. Geography, U.C. Berkeley, 2002) and the appointment of Alyosha Goldstein (Ph.D. American Studies, New York University, 2005) a scholar with research and teaching interests in globalization, social movements and comparative colonialisms. Goldstein joined the faculty full time in the fall of 2005 as a consequence of a spousal hire in our department. Laura E. Gómez (Ph.D. (Sociology)/J.D. Stanford University, 1994) came to UNM from the University of California at Los Angeles were she held a joint appointment in Sociology and the Law School and after spending a year as a resident scholar at the School of American Research (SAR) in Santa Fe. At SAR Professor Gómez had worked on comparative racialization and the American legal system. Gerald Vizenor (Emeritus Professor, American Studies, University of California at Berkeley), among the best-known and most widely published scholars on Native American literature and the author of some 30 books and dozens of scholarly essays on Native America, joined the department as .50 FTE senior-rank member of the faculty in the fall of 2005. Laura Hall who was also left U.C. Berkeley was added as an adjunct faculty to teach in Southwest Studies. Notice of these hires had begun to circulate in American Studies circles and in far-ranging interdisciplinary areas like ethnic studies,  environment/nature studies, southwest studies and critical legal studies. The potential for American Studies to become a national academic power was in sight and at hand. The pressing matter of faculty turnover in the prior three years was further eased during this period by a number of positive faculty evaluations over the next several semesters. First came the successful tenure and promotion in the spring of 2004 of Professor Amanda Cobb, a specialist in Native American Studies and was followed by positive mid-career reviews of Professor Alex Lubin in 2005 and of Professor Rebecca Schreiber in 2006.

Among the most significant developments for the long-range stability of the Department was the successful hire of Sandy Rodrigue as Department Administrator in the early spring of 2005. Within months of her hire, Sandy’s administrative capacities and people skills had put faculty, graduate and undergraduate students at ease and communicated to all that the department was on sure footing. Following her first full year as Department Administrator in 2005-2006, A. Gabriel Meléndez noted that much had been accomplished in short order. Rodrigue had overseen the electronic approval of the undergraduate curriculum revisions, coordinated the department’s implementation of the Banner Student/Academic modules and reviewed the course catalog course descriptions to see that they complied with the implementation of the Banner reporting system as it arrived on campus. She had also become an important liaison between American Studies and other offices across campus including the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office and the Office of Graduate Studies.

2006 marked the anniversary of the American Studies’ 30th year as an academic department at UNM. 1975 to 1978 were momentous and decisive years for American Studies. As the first interdisciplinary field in Arts and Sciences at UNM, American Studies had been offering the PhD in Southwest Studies since 1949, but the vagueness of the term “interdisciplinary field” gave way to a more formal way of recognizing its curriculum and student interest when American Studies added the B.A. and PhD degrees and gained department status in 1975. Three years later the M.A. degree was added to American Studies. While this pattern of development is not common in the academy, thankfully conformity is not a hallmark of American Studies as a discipline. On a return visit to her alma mater, celebrated Laguna writer, Leslie Marmon Silko casually remarked that when she was a graduate student at UNM in the 1970s American Studies had the reputation of being the “coolest” department on campus. Cool, meant daring, innovative, bold, open to new thinking and resourcefulness.

2006, the mid-point year in the third decade of the Department’s history became the appropriate moment to reflect on its history. The look back revealed an inspiring legacy going back to a time when national concerns like movements for minority civil rights and women’s’ rights and controversy over the country’s involvement in Viet Nam redefined what it meant to be an American and led students to new academic pursuits. In the view of one 2003 external reviewer, American Studies’ role at UNM still was still to “bridg[e] the unnatural gap which separates the campus from the outside world”.

Momentous times but also strong faculty personalities had given shape to American Studies over the years. Some of the names, somewhat distant thirty years later, were enthusiastically revisited in celebration of the lasting and varied accomplishments of a number of pioneering scholars. Especially prized was the work of Joel Jones, Charles Biebel, Marta Weigle, Sam Girgus, Vera Norwood, Gerald Davis and Jane Young. These early faculty members had shaped American Studies, made it “cool” and, most important of all, kept it dead center within UNM’s mission to create informed and prepared undergraduate and graduate students. No mention of the department’s success could go forth without acknowledging the hundreds of students, who armed with the constructive, informative and concerned viewpoints they garnered in their classes, had gone on to contribute to countless areas of social and educational endeavor, as teachers, artists, administrators, curators and authors. The 2005 – 2006 academic year also marked the close of the remarkable career of Regents’ Professor Jane Young. Department Chair, A. Gabriel Meléndez found this an appropriate moment to survey Professor Young’s contributions to American Studies. He noted that Professor Young came to American Studies in 1987 as an Associate Professor after having first been recruited to the Department of Anthropology and the Center for the Study of Folklore and Ethnomusicology at the University of Texas at Austin. With a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania, an institution with a renowned Anthropology department, Professor Young applied her training to a one-of-a-kind graduate curriculum where students could specialize in folklore and folk life studies. Professor Young’s dissertation completed in 1982 was titled, “Images of Power, Images of Beauty: Contemporary Zuni Perceptions of Rock Art” and provided a powerful academic credential to her continuing work in “new regionalism.”

In American Studies at UNM, Professor Young’s research and teaching interests had been equally divided between folklore/folk life and Southwest Studies. After coming to UNM her education continued. Her work on Zuni ethno-poetics, verbal art and astronomical systems placed her in the role of becoming a student once again in her close work with the Pueblo community. To prepare herself to do fieldwork Professor Young learned enough Zuni language to become sufficiently adept enough in Zuni verbal and visual communication reveal the power of Zuni verbal arts as found in anthropological texts collected at the turn of the century. Another facet of Professor Young’s work in American Studies has been her interest in connections between folklore and gender studies. Taking cues from her research at Zuni and her discovery there of the relatively egalitarian nature of gender roles, she incorporated this knowledge into her later examinations of how gender worked cross-culturally and how gender remained a key variable in social action. Her vast experience in fieldwork and ethnography accompanied a more recent research interest: a study of an emerging community of potters in Mata Ortiz, Chihuahua, Mexico.

In the twenty years that Professor Young taught in American Studies she served several terms as undergraduate advisor and as graduate director. She has also served on numerous graduate admissions and faculty search committees. She directed some 30-plus dissertations in American Studies and directed 20-plus MA theses. She has received numerous awards, which included being selected as UNM Regents Lecturer from 1995-1998. In all, Professor Young has supplied American Studies at UNM with those greatest of values: intellectual openness and compassion for her students. She has been a fine colleague and her retirement signals a major loss in American Studies.

Professor Vera Norwood, former American Studies department chair, had been serving as Senior Associate Dean of the College since 1999 and was named Interim Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences in April 2005. Alongside her administrative duties Professor Norwood continued to advise and direct a limited number of graduate students in American Studies and her position of leadership in the College had the additional effect of providing greater visibility for the Department.

Lingering concerns regarding faculty turnover in American Studies subsided with the successful early promotion and tenure bid of Professor Alex Lubin in 2007 and with the successful tenure of Professor Rebecca Schreiber two years later.

Two bountiful hiring years cycles and a string of standard replacement hires would eventually convert American Studies from a small to a mid-size department in American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences. In 2006-2007 American Studies carried out two national searches for joint-appointments—one with Women Studies and the other with the Chicano/Hispano/Mexicano Studies Program. Splitting FTE hires into .50 probationary hires figured as a new terrain for the Department. These interdepartmental collaborations began to open up American Studies to new cross-disciplinary, cross-College expansion. The first of these positions filled a gap in Gender and Sexuality Studies that had existed at UNM for some time.

The search with Women Studies led to the hire of Dr. Amy Brandzel (PhD University of Minnesota, 2006). A second gap in the Southwest Studies field was first identified in 2003 and widened considerably with the retirement of Professor Jane Young in 2005. This circumstance led to a joint search with Chicano/Hispano/Mexicano Studies (CHMS) – then an academic unit in University College—for a faculty member to cover overlapping curricular needs in both programs. This search led to the hire of Dr. Michael T. Trujillo (PhD University of Texas, 2005). Professor Trujillo’s appointment promised to increase our strength in Southwest Studies by helping each unit to rethink its curriculum under the broadly conceived paradigm of a “new regionalism,” and by making Southwest Studies more fully interdisciplinary through the inclusion of questions of trans-nationalism, border studies, and globalization.

These two joint appointments were of strategic and tactical importance and edged American Studies to a middle size department. The roster of faculty tallied 9.50 full-time equivalents, a historic high for the Department a tally that included Professor Amanda Cobb who was on a 2-year leave of absence to work with the Chickasaw nation in Oklahoma. In addition, the core American Studies faculty drew on the support of fourteen Affiliated Faculty in tenure track appointments in Arts and Sciences and in Fine Arts.

There has not been a year in which the faculty has not focused considerable effort to insure the successful completion of graduate degrees. American Studies has long pondered how as a graduate unit it could be expected to attract high caliber graduate students with the meager graduate student aid packages it offered incoming students. In AY 2006 – 2007 American Studies again grappled with the question of  how it could reasonably be asked to rise to distinction in graduate training without being provided with sufficient financial resources that will allow the department to compete with its comparable institutions. The 2003 review had provided a check on how our graduate financial aid packages matched up with those of peer institutions. At that time the Department sought to measure itself against the University of Minnesota’s graduate program in American Culture Studies: “Long-considered a top-tier AS program, we include Minnesota, as something of a “quality mark” the Department would like to reach in the next five to seven years” (Self-Study, 7). The constant struggle for the Department continued to be the recruitment of graduate students with limited financial aid dollars. In the face of this limitation the Department explored all possible options, including working with the College and with the Office of Graduate Studies to find ways to bundle financial offers as attractive and competitive inducements for recruiting graduate students to our program. Even as American Studies reached for national standing and grew in faculty size it continued to make the case that substantial improvement of its graduate programs could only happen through the allocation of new GA and TA lines to our department. The Department continued to avail itself of several shortterm fixes including participating in what was then called the “TA-Export Program” in Arts and Sciences. American Studies also began to pilot several new large-format sections of its introductory courses. These courses, taught by core faculty and American Studies Teaching Assistants were part of another College program called “Initiatives for Success.”

In early 2008 American Studies Chair A. Gabriel Meléndez shared the news that Mellon Foundation Board of Trustees had at its December meeting approved a grant request for $700,000 to fund a proposal from six UNM departments to fund PhD fellowships for Native Americans, Latinos and others committed to advancing the scholarship on the history and culture of the aforementioned groups. In the prior months Professor Meléndez had worked closely with representatives of the five other Arts and Sciences departments to craft a proposal that would meet criteria set by Mellon Program Officer, Lydia English. The Mellon Diversity Dissertation Fellowship Program as outlined in the original proposal sought to

  1. Recruit and retain talented Latino and Native American graduate students to a set of College of Arts and Sciences doctoral programs at UNM that include a humanistic social sciences perspective. Students selected for this program would include those whose interests center on qualitative, linguistic, documentary, ethnographic, or material culture study of local communities their cultures, histories and languages- using the rich resources of UNM;
  2. Emphasize critical social issues involving multidisciplinary collaborations on topics such as historical preservation, cultural heritage, land and water rights, identification and restoration of local plant and agricultural resources, environmental change, language preservation and retention, health disparities, and strengthening local traditions in the face of rapid, globalizing change;
  3. Provide competitive, multi-year graduate fellowships to students completing their doctoral degrees in Anthropology, American Studies, Communications and Journalism, History, Linguistics, and Sociology;
  4. Identify appropriate models that lead to successful completion of doctoral education for individuals from traditionally underrepresented or disadvantaged groups;
  5. Increase the numbers of doctorates from these groups, including those who are Hispanic or Native American, in the social sciences and related humanities at UNM; and
  6. Place these individuals as they complete their studies as faculty at American universities and colleges.

The arrival of the five-year Mellon program was a boon to American Studies that had long worked to increase the number of doctorates from groups that had been traditionally underrepresented in the academy. The program represented the first time dissertation fellowships at UNM would be earmarked for this purpose.

The Department hosted the national American Studies Association Conference in Albuquerque in the fall of 2008. The work of preparing to host the American Studies Association (ASA) meeting, begun in 2006, was an on-going part of work in the Department. Professor Alex Lubin was appointed by ASA to chair the site committee for 2008 and took the lead in implementing a series of pre-conference workshops and meetings that modeled our curricula and faculty initiatives to American Studies programs in this country and abroad.

Professors A. Gabriel Meléndez, Rebecca Schreiber, and Alex Lubin organized local events for the conference, including a performance by Guillermo Gómez-Peña at the National Hispanic Cultural Center, a film night featuring Native American filmmakers at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, and a tour of local sites that attracted a high number conference participants. In addition, UNM American Studies faculty and graduate students were featured throughout the conference program.

A special highlight of the conference was the UNM American Studies reception, which featured a celebration of recent faculty publications, including books by Professors Vizenor, Schreiber, Gómez’s as well as a special issue of South Atlantic Quarterly edited by Professors Lubin and Goldstein. Hosting ASA in Albuquerque provided a wonderful opportunity to showcase the talent of our faculty and graduate students and bring the strength of our graduate program to the attention of the ASA membership.

In the spring of 2010 the National Research Council (NRC) released long-awaited data on doctoral student rankings. For the first time, American Studies doctoral programs were including in the rankings. Notwithstanding, the NRC rankings and the debate about academic ranking in general, American Studies received the highest ranking, in one measure, of any PhD program at UNM. In one statistical measure we rank fifth in the nation, placing UNM’s program in the top-25% nationally.

In addition to the excellent outcome of the NRC rankings there were other clear outcome tied to the Department’s graduate education mission. Two American Studies PhD students won the prestigious Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Fellowship. Only 40 awards were granted nationally. In addition, American Studies graduate students found placements in a tenure track job at UNM, a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign, and in administrative positions at the University of Florida and Brown University.

While the Department added new faculty in Fall 2011 it was also faced with other departures. Professors Lubin and Gómez embarked on multi-year leaves. Alex Lubin was slated to be in residence at the American University of Beirut while Laura Gómez was headed to the UCLA Law School. Professor Gómez would eventually take a permanent position at UCLA. At the close of the spring semester the Department moved to new office space in the Humanities Building. It was to share the renovated fourth floor with the Women Studies and Religious Studies programs, as well as the International Studies Institute. The Department gained much needed office space, including workstations and offices for graduate TA’s.

In AY 2009 – 2010 the department conducted a national search for a tenure-track faculty member specializing in Native American Studies. This search attracted a very impressive field of candidates and ended with the hire of Dr. Jennifer Denetdale at the rank of Associate Professor. Dr. Denetdale began her appointment in the Fall 2010.

The Department honored the career of Professor Vera Norwood, who retired at the end of Spring 2010. Dr. Norwood built a distinguished career as a scholar, mentor and administrator. She served as Department Chair and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. Professor Norwood also developed an academic concentration around Environment, Science and Technology, which drew interdisciplinary resources from across Colleges in the University. Because of her outstanding contributions to the Department and our University, she was honored by the faculty as a Professor Emeritus of American Studies.

The Department braced itself to weather the decline in state appropriations to higher education while continuing to serve as one of the most diverse academic units on campus, and one of the most diverse American Studies graduate programs in the nation. The entering cohort of graduate students in the fall of 2010 reflects the department’s long-standing commitment to diversity. Chair Alex Lubin reported that “In an incoming class of twelve graduate students, eight self-identity as students of color. By this time the beneficial effect of the Mellon Diversity Doctoral Fellowship Program could be fully appreciated as Native American and Latino graduate students who had opted to attend our Department because of our faculty strengths reached the end of their degree programs. Between 2008 and 2014 six American Studies dissertation candidates would receive Mellon Awards, with five of the six completing their PhD programs in a timely fashion.

In the face of potential cuts American Studies was able to develop some new revenue streams by developing online courses, building its summer offerings, and scheduling more courses at UNM West. The Department also successfully competed for a Fulbright Scholar in Residence Program award. Along with the Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, the Department of American Studies hosted Algerian/Moroccan author, Kebir Mustapha Ammi in the Fall of 2011.

Despite the significantly slowed pace of new faculty hiring, the Department took part in three academic searches and succeeded in filling one full time, and two halftime faculty positions. It was able to fill the Environment, Science, and Technology line made available by Professor Norwood’s retirement. After a long and detailed national search Dr. David Correia was hired at the rank of Assistant Professor. In addition, the Department benefited from searches taking place in two related programs. The Department would also share half of the line of Dr. Irene Vásquez, who joined UNM as the Director of Chicano/Hispano/Mexicano Studies as an Associate Professor. In addition, it would share half of the line of Dr. Kathleen Holscher, who was recruited as the endowed Chair in Catholic Studies housed in the Religious Studies program.

The Department continued to develop international initiatives by hosting Fulbright  scholars in 2010 and again in 2012. In addition, with the help of American Studies affiliated faculty, Peter White, the Department began planning for the formation of an international MA program, which was to serve as a platform for international students to study American Studies at UNM. A pilot summer graduate course was offered by Professor White at the University of Graz in Austria as part of this effort.

American Studies added to its faculty ranks as a result of two hires from a single  national search. The AY 2011-2012 hires were the result of receiving approval from the Dean to hire an Assistant Professor in American Studies’ Popular Culture field. American Studies received a total of 293 applications for the position. At the end of a grueling search, the faculty found that two remaining candidates (Shanté Smalls and Tony Tiongson) merited consideration as concurrent hires. Professor Tiongson’s dossier was sent to the College Diversity Committee, which recommended his hire under the Dean’s initiative to build diversity appointments in Arts and Sciences.

In an era of declining applications to the graduate program the focus of the Graduate Director turned to graduate recruitment. Graduate Director, Rebecca Schreiber organized the New Graduate Student Open House, supported by an OGS grant, in August 2011. She also organized teaching and professionalization workshops for our cadre of graduate students. The open house aimed to recruit prospective graduate students and became an activity that has helped promote the graduate program both within and outside UNM.

Not merely content with the increase in faculty numbers, the Department continued to work to achieve its strategic goals: 1) recruiting faculty and graduate students; 2) increasing the number of its undergraduate majors and minors; 3) ensuring the undergraduate and graduate programs train students in all areas that are important to the department; 4) continuing to build faculty excellence in research and publishing; 5) increasing administrative support; 6) building strength in the area of Environment, Science, and Technology and Southwest Studies; 7) building community within the Department, across campus, and 8) building international connections with scholars and programs.

At the start of AY 2012 – 2013 American Studies had eight full-time faculty appointments and eight joint appointments for a total number of 12 FTE teaching faculty. Retirements and departures from the faculty would reduce the total by 1.50 FTE at the end of the reporting period, but still left in place the highest grouping of instructors in the history of the Department. American Studies, along with six other departments, was invited to be a part of a second major initiative to support graduate students pursuing the doctorate in the Humanities when the Bilinski Educational Foundation established the Russel J. and Dorothy S. Bilinski Fellowship Program in the College of Arts and Sciences. The newly established fellowships in the College of Arts & Sciences provide valuable financial support for top, meritorious doctoral students with demonstrated financial need who are conducting research for, and or completing, their doctoral dissertations. News of the renewal of a second round of the Mellon Diversity Dissertation Fellowship in 2014 signals continuing possibilities for American Studies’ doctoral candidates to fund their research.

The Department expanded its efforts to build international collaborations in AY  2014 – 2014. Discussions between Fulbright scholar-in-residence, Dr. Judit Kádar and Professor A. Gabriel Meléndez, initiated the process that would result in the creation of a formal exchange agreement between UNM and Esterházty Károly College in Eger, Hungary which was signed by the UNM Provost, the Dean of Arts and Sciences and visiting dignitary, Dr. Agnes Horvath, the Vice Rector for International Affairs at EKC at a signing ceremony in September 2013. The agreement provides for the establishment of a number of future exchange opportunities between UNM and EKC and strengthens the Department’s reach and in the arena of international American Studies, particularly with respect to emerging programs and associations in Europe.

Leadership in American Studies since 2003 has been predictable and stable. Professor A. Gabriel Meléndez who oversaw the 2003 review and implemented its recommendations chaired the Department from 1999 – 2008 when Alex Lubin, then Associate Professor became Chair. Professor Lubin completed a three-year term as Chair before leaving to direct the American Studies Center at American University of Beruit. Professor Meléndez served another two-year term as Interim Chair before electing to step down. When the Department faced a moment of uncertainty in the selection of someone to chair the Department in AY 2013 -2014, Professor Vera Norwood, three years into her retirement, generously agreed to return to campus and become Interim Chair for the year. Professor Norwood’s decision to answer this call has been immensely beneficial to the Department. Her administrative experience made for a seamless transition from one administration to the other and guaranteed continuity for the Department. Her solid judgment in departmental policy, her flare for governance, her fairness and equanimity of purpose moved the Department past the breach of leadership it faced in the summer and fall of 2014. Fortunately, the increased size of the Department has made possible a more predictable rotation of the two other positions of leadership in the Department: that of Director of Graduate Studies and that of Director of Undergraduate Studies. In an era of declining graduate student applicants American Studies continues to admit robust cohorts of new MA and PhD students each fall. In all, the American Studies at UNM rests on a strong and resilient history of achievement that begins with the Department’s point of inception in 1949.

Department of American Studies 2003 Graduate Self-Study Report
Department of American Studies Response to External Review Report, September 2003

“A Prospectus for the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: Graduate Fellowship Program for Under-Represented Groups in Social Sciences and Humanities at the University of New Mexico 2008-2013”

Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2002 to June 30, 2003. A. Gabriel Meléndez, Chair
Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2003 to June 30, 2004. A. Gabriel Meléndez, Chair (Report prepared by Acting Chair, Beth Bailey)
Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2004 to June 30, 2005. A. Gabriel Meléndez, Chair
Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2005 to June 30, 2006. A. Gabriel Meléndez, Chair
Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2006 to June 30, 2007. A. Gabriel Meléndez, Chair
Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2007 to June 30, 2008. A. Gabriel Meléndez, Chair (Report prepared by incoming Chair, Alex Lubin)
Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2008 to June 30, 2009. Alex Lubin, Chair
Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2009 to June 30, 2010. Alex Lubin, Chair
Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2010 to June 30, 2011. Alex Lubin, Chair
Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012. A. Gabriel Meléndez, Interim Chair
Annual Report of the Department of American Studies, College of Arts and Sciences, July 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013. A. Gabriel Meléndez, Interim Chair

American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2003, A. Gabriel Meléndez, (general editor)
American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2004, Beth Bailey, (general editor)
American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2005, A. Gabriel Meléndez, Sandy Rodrigue (staff editor)
American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2006, A. Gabriel Meléndez, (general editor)
American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2007, A. Gabriel Meléndez, (general editor), Dana Herrera (staff editor).
American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2008, A. Gabriel Meléndez, (general editor); Clare Daniel (staff editor)
American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2009, Alex Lubin (general editor) Amanda Singh Bans and Katie Councilor (staff editors)

American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2010, Alex Lubin (general editor) Christina Juhász-Wood (staff editor)
American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2011, Alex Lubin (general editor) Farah Nousheen (staff editor)
American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2012, A. Gabriel Meléndez, (general editor) Farah Nousheen and Eileen Shaughnessy (staff editors)
American Studies Newsletter, Spring, 2013, A. Gabriel Meléndez, A. Gabriel Meléndez, (general editor) Dina Barajas and Miles Cleaver (staff editor)

“Kadar Shares American Studies Through International Lens,” October 12, 2012,
“UNM Collaborates with Hungarian College,” September 23, 2013,