The College of Arts and Humanities at Fresno State is the largest college on campus, encompassing nine departments, and the Armenian Studies Program.

Each year, new faculty are brought on to elevate the academic offerings here at Fresno State. These new faculty members bring innovative research, diverse fields of study and technical expertise to our college, inspiring new ways of thinking throughout our many disciplines.

Department of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures

Lima

Inês Lima joins the MCLL department from the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. Her research analyzes Portuguese poet Ana Luísa Amaral’s literary corpus through an ecofeminist and intertextual lens. She has an M.A. in Portuguese Contemporary Literature from the University Paris 3 Sorbonne Nouvelle and a B.A. in Portuguese and English Languages and Literatures from the University of Porto. She has also been an English and Portuguese teacher for the past 13 years. Lima likes to get to know new cultures and she has lived and worked in four countries: Portugal, France, Turkey and the United States. She has also studied Agronomy and used to wish to become a winemaker, so she feels at home at Fresno State.

Q&A

Question: What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State?

Answer: I am looking forward to expanding the courses offered on the language and cultures of the Portuguese-speaking countries, namely courses on the culture and literature of the Azores and on Portuguese for Spanish speakers. The development of a Minor in Portuguese Studies, which we hope to open in the Fall of 2019, will help to meet the great diversity of our student body and will add new opportunities to the students’ academic and professional lives. Our students will be better equipped to turn their language and cultural skills into an asset in the job market and will become more confident and competent intercultural communicators. I am also looking forward to working with Fresno State students and team and to serving our community, in particular, the Portuguese-American community in the region.

Q: Can you tell us how you became involved in your specialty area?

A: I’ve started my undergraduate studies in Agricultural Science. Therefore, it took me a while to arrive at the Humanities field. What I love the most in the study of Literature is its interdisciplinarity and how it expands your understanding of the world. The work of the Portuguese novelist Maria Velho da Costa, in particular, was what drew me to pursue studies in Portuguese Contemporary Literature.

Q: What will your distinctive background do to elevate the MCLL Department offerings here at Fresno State? 

A: My training in Portuguese, Brazilian and African studies and theory allows me to offer a wide range of courses relating to the Portuguese-speaking countries. Having been born and raised in Portugal, I hope to be a good interlocutor between the University and the Portuguese-American community of this region. I will also work towards developing study abroad and service learning opportunities in the Azores and mainland Portugal. Having been an exchange student myself, I know how transformative such an experience can be.

Q: What are you reading?

A: I am reading a collection of poems, essays, short stories and visual media titled Imagine Africa, from contemporary African authors and introduced by Georges Leroy (Island Position Ed., bilingual edition). It includes contributions by the Mozambican authors Paulina Chiziane and Mia Couto, the Cape Verdean Corsino Fortes and the Angolan João Fortes.

Q: What is a book you think everyone should read?

A: The Book of Disquiet, by Fernando Pessoa – a journal of meditations that takes us into the depths of the human mind and of what it means to be alive.

Q: When are your office hours?

A: My office hours are on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2pm to 3pm, on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1pm to 2pm and by appointment.

Rodriguez-Matos

Jaime Rodriguez-Matos joins the MCLL department following the recent publishing of his book Writing of the Formless: José Lezama Lima and the End of Time. Born in Puerto Rico,  Rodriguez-Matos’ family moved to Massachusetts when he was 14. Rodriguez-Matos received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Q&A

Question: What are you most looking forward to here at Fresno State?

Answer: I am looking forward to my involvement with the students here at Fresno State.  I had the good fortune of being mentored and encouraged as I made my way from BA to Ph.D. and beyond.  I have always known that I would pay that forward. I have been doing it my entire professional career so far, but the students here, whom I have gotten to know well over the past two years (prior to becoming an Assistant Professor), have a special place in my heart.

Q: Can you tell us how you became involved in your specialty area?

A: I imagine my specialty area in a very broad sense, beyond any technical name for an academic discipline.  So I’ll answer this one in a roundabout way. I began my undergraduate degree as a music major, but at some point, I discovered that I could apply for a McNair fellowship and spend a summer reading poetry and writing about it while getting paid to do it.  It seemed unreal. I got the fellowship and spent that summer under the great guidance of professor Lester Fisher from the English department at the University of New Hampshire. His patience and dedication made it possible for me to begin to imagine a different life, the life of the mind.  I owe him more than I can explain in words.

Q: What will your distinctive background do to elevate the MCLL Department offerings here at Fresno State?

A: I see a younger version of myself in many of my students.  I can only hope that I open for them the relevance and importance of being able to feel at home in language, to feel like you have a right to say what you want to say however you want to say it.  Literature today, and poetry specifically, seems to be neglected or undervalued–even denigrated in some quarters. But literature, culture, and in a more general way the entire web of symbolic codes that allows us to make sense of our world, is the air we breathe, our habitat.  One level of the general existential alienation we experience today is simply due to our being poor in our ability to navigate that symbolic web. So I hope that I can help my students in the discovery of this perspective: that the limits of your imaginative structures and language contributes divisively to what you accept as possible or impossible for you and your world.

Q: What are you reading?

A: I have just finished reading Brynn Saito‘s books, Power Made Us Soon and The Place of Contemplating Departure.  This is poetry that lies beyond academicism, pretension and careerism.  It is there to help you deal with what it means to exist. Fresno State is lucky to have her as part of the creative writing faculty.

Q: What is a book you think everyone should read?

A: I don’t think there is any one book everyone should read.  But if I had to imagine such a task I would go further and say that everyone should learn Spanish so as to be able to read the work of César Vallejo in the original.

Q: When are your office hours?

A: Monday, Wednesday and Friday 12:30 to 1pm