MACLAS Executive Committee

The MACLAS Constitution calls for an 11-member Executive Committee consisting of four officers (president, vice president, secretary, and treasurer); the immediately preceding ex-president; and six at-large members.  We are always looking for fresh blood and fresh ideas, so please be in touch if you might be interested in serving.

The 2018-2019 Executive Committee is constituted as follows:

Kathleen Cunniffe Peña, President. A full-time lecturer of Spanish in the Department of Global Studies and Citizenship at Wilson College in Chambersburg, PA, Kathy has particular expertise is contemporary Latin American narrative. She is especially interested in trans-Atlantic connections between Ireland and Latin America, a topic that allows her to explore diasporic narratives, transnational identity, and translation. Her most recent publication is “Ferro’s El otro Joyce: Originals and Copies” (Latin American Literary Review, 2017). She holds a B.A. in Spanish and Latin American Studies from Albright College, a Master’s Degree in Latin American Studies from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in Spanish from Temple University. Kathy has been involved with MACLAS since 2002, when she attended the annual conference as an undergraduate student. As a graduate student, she served on the MACLAS Executive Council from 2013-2016, chairing the Communications and Outreach Committee and helping to organize the 2016 conference at Temple University.


Patricia Rodríguez, Vice President. Next in line for MACAS president (2019), Patricia is Associate Professor of Politics at Ithaca College, NY. Her research interests include ethnic, peasant, and worker mobilizations in Brazil, Chile, and Colombia, the possibilities and challenges of cohesive alliance-building, and the consequences for democracy, social justice, human rights, and the environment. She is working on a book manuscript that explores the quest for “peace in the territories” in Colombia from the perspective of organized civil society, in the context of government negotiations with armed rebel groups. The work explores the ways in which alternative economic, territorial, and socio-political proposals challenge dominant actors and forces in the name of creating space for a more dignified life in the so called post-conflict period. She has recently published an article on the civic strike in Buenaventura, Colombia, “The People Don’t Give up Dammit” (Dollars and Sense, November/December 2017), and a co-authored research paper on indigenous movement-partisan politics in Chile during the 1980s, ‘Partisan Participation and Ethnic Autonomy in Chile,’ (Journal of Latin American Studies, 2015). Patricia served on the MACLAS Executive Committee from 2013 to 2016.


Mirna Trauger, Secretary (2018). A full-time Lecturer in Spanish in the department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures at Muhlenberg College in Allentown, PA, Mirna has been teaching all levels of Spanish for 13 years. Her area of expertise is 20th century Hispanic Caribbean Literature, while her professional work includes scholarly publications as well as presentations at national and international literary and teaching conferences. Her most recent publication is, “El cuerpo y su conceptualización posmoderna en Pájaros de la playa de Severo Sarduy” (Latin American Essays, 2011). Her current research focuses on the representation of illness and disability in contemporary Latin American literature.  In 2012 she was awarded the MACLAS James Street Prize for best article published in Latin American Essays by a MACLAS member.


Michael J. Schroeder, Treasurer. Associate Professor of History at Lebanon Valley College in Annville, PA, Michael specializes in 20th century Nicaraguan history, especially the period of US military intervention in the 1920s & 30s, he teaches a wide range of courses focusing on the Atlantic world since the Age of Revolution.  A member of the Academia de Geografía e Historia de Nicaragua, he is author & administrator of the digital historical archive, co-author of a widely-used textbook on 20th century world history, and author of numerous articles & chapters in his areas of expertise (online vita here).

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Bridget M. Chesterton, Past President. Associate Professor of History at the State University of New York at Buffalo State, Bridget specializes in the history of Paraguay. She is the author of The Grandchildren of Solano López: Frontier and Nation in Paraguay 1904-1936 (2013), co-editor of Transformations of Populism in Europe, the United States and Latin America: Histories Theories and Recent Tendencies (2015), and author of a host of articles and chapters on the Chaco War and Paraguayan politics and culture (online vita here).

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Silvia M. Peart, Member (2019). Associate Professor for Languages & Cultures, United States Naval Academy, Silvia received her Ph.D. in Spanish/Second Language Acquisition from Texas Tech University. Her research interest include learners’ cognitive progression when reading in an L2, as well as gender variables within this process; intercultural competence; and identity construction in the literary production of heritage language learners. She has published eight articles and four book chapters in leading journals and edited volumes in her field, and presented her research at national and international conferences.

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James F. Siekmeier, Member (2019). Associate Professor of History, West Virginia University, Jim has particular expertise in US diplomatic history and US-Latin American relations. He has published widely on a diverse array of topics ranging across the hemisphere, including his 2011 book, The Bolivian Revolution and the United States, 1952 to the Present (University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University Press).  His current research investigates the intersection of globalization and Latin American nationalism.

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Ana Moraña, Member (2020). Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages at Shippensburg University, Ana has taught languages, literature and cultures since 2002, and is also serving her fifth year as Director of the Ethnic Studies Program.  She recently published her book, La fiesta de la modernidad en la Argentina.  La revista Caras y Caretas (1898-1910), Buenos Aires: Editorial Corregidor, highlighted on the "Spotlight on our members" page of this website.  In addition, Dr. Moraña organized a dossier on visual culture and the press in the Southern Cone, Latin America, which includes four articles, one she authored titled "Balconeado la historia: la Primera Guerra Mundial vista a través de las imágenes de la revista Caras y Caretas (Argentina 1914-1918)" in Revista Hispamérica, Dec. 2016.  Dr. Moraña is the author of multiple articles on Latin American literature and cinema and she has presented papers in numerous conferences in her field.

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Carlos Mamani, Member (2020). Associate Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures at Gannon University, Carlos earned his B.A. from Brown University and both his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati, with a degree in Latin American Literature, with concentrations in the colonial period, the 20th and 21st centuries, and Andean culture.  He teaches all levels of Spanish languages courses as well as courses in Latin American literature and culture and Native American literature and film.  His professional interests include the colonial and contemporary periods, globalization and migration, Andean culture, Latino/a culture and literature, and translation.


León Arredondo, Member (2021). Associate Professor of Anthropology at West Chester University, León was born in Colombia, where he completed his secondary education. He obtained a BA degree in anthropology from Montclair State University and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the Graduate Center-CUNY. He has taught anthropology and Latin American Studies in the City University of New York-CUNY system, Colby College, Kean College, Felician College, and the University of Costa Rica, and currently teaches at West Chester University in Pennsylvania. His primary area of research is working-class culture and politics. He conducted research on the social history, culture and politics of dockworkers on the Magdalena River in Colombia during the first half of the twentieth century. His current research projects in Colombia include the history of collective social action in an industrial city and the recent experience with violence and insecurity.

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Carlos Rodríguez McGill, Member (2021). Associate Professor of Latin American Literatures and Cultures at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Carlos also serves as the Coordinator of the Spanish Program. He received his Ph.D. from the Ohio State University with a concentration in colonial and nineteenth century Latin American literature. He has published eight peer reviewed articles in specialized journals in his field, and in 2010 he received the James Street Prize award, for his article published in the 23rd volume of MACLAS Latin American Essays. He has presented his research in national and international conferences, including the Modern Language Association and the Latin American Studies Association, and has been a regular presenter at MACLAS since 2002, when he was an Assistant Professor of Spanish at Mary Washington University.