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 2017-2018 Executive Committee is constituted as follows:

President Bridget M. Chesterton, Associate Professor of History, State University of New York at Buffalo State.  A specialist in the history of Paraguay, Bridget is 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).


Vice-President Kathleen Cunniffe Peña, Lecturer in Spanish, Wilson College. A full-time lecturer of Spanish in the Department of Global Studies and Citizenship, Kathy’s area of expertise is contemporary Latin American narrative. In particular, she is 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.


Secretary Mirna Trauger (2018), Lecturer in Spanish, Muhlenberg College.  A full-time lecturer of Spanish in the department of Languages, Literatures, and Cultures where she has been teaching all levels of Spanish for 13 years, Mirna's area of expertise is 20th century Hispanic Caribbean Literature. 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.


Treasurer Brian Turner, Professor of Political Science, Randolph-Macon College.  A specialist in 20th century Paraguayan and Latin American politics, Brian is author of Community Politics and Peasant-State Relations in Paraguay (1993) and a variety of articles on the politics and culture of Paraguay and Mexico.  Twice the recipient of the MACLAS Davis Prize (in 2003 and 2011), and President of MACLAS in 2005-2006, he has served as Treasurer since his presidency, and is universally considered the principal repository of MACLAS institutional memory.


Past President Michael J. Schroeder, Associate Professor of History, Lebanon Valley College.  A specialist in 20th century Nicaraguan history, especially the period of US military intervention in the 1920s & 30s, Mike teaches world history since 1500, focusing on the Atlantic world since the Age of Revolution.  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).


Member Luis Roniger (2018), Wake Forest University.  The Reynolds Professor of Latin American Studies at Wake Forest, Luis has lived around the world and taught at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Chicago, Carleton University in Ottawa, the Catholic University of El Salvador, the National Universities of La Plata and Cordoba in Argentina, and the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  A comparative political sociologist, Dr. Roniger’s work focuses on the interface between politics, society and public culture.  On the international editorial board of several academic journals, he has published numerous journal articles and books on a wide range of topics including human rights, transitional politics, exile and democracy in Latin America.  In 2014, Luis was awarded both the MACLAS Whitaker Prize and the MACLAS Davis Prize.


Member Gerardo T. Cummings (2018), Assistant Professor of Spanish, SUNY Onondaga Community College.  Gerardo's diverse interests range from Hispanic culture and magical literature to historical figures such as Emiliano Zapata to Mexican horror and Hispanic films.  Drawn to the cultural production of all Spanish-speaking countries, he has particular interests in Mexico.  Author of a book on a small rural community in Mexico (Recuento historiográfico del Comisariado de Bienes Comunales y Consejo de Vigilancia de Huitzilac, Morelos: Trienio 2007-2010 (Cuernavaca, Mexico: Ediciones Zetina & Comisariado de Bienes Comunales de Huitzilac, 2010), his ongoing projects include studies of Luis Buñuel, Guillermo del Toro, and Mexican horror films.  An avid creative writer and a poet, he hopes to soon publish his book of poetry.


Member Silvia M. Peart (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.


Member James F. Siekmeier (2019), Associate Professor of History, West Virginia University.  A specialist in US diplomatic history and US-Latin American relations, Jim 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.


Member Ana Moraña (2020) is Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages at Shippensburg University where she 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 rvista 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.


Member Carlos Mamani (2020) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Foreign Languages and Cultures at Gannon University.  He 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.  Carlos 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.