Dr. Yolanda Doub percolates ideas at annual PAMLA conference

Dr. Yolanda Doub

The College of Arts and Humanities takes pride in supporting the full range of creative and academic endeavors of students and faculty — endeavors made possible through generous gifts made to the Dean’s Council Annual Fund. 

During the 2018-19 academic school year, those funds helped Dr. Yolanda Doub of Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures (MCLL) attend the Pacific Ancient and Modern Language Association (PAMLA) Conference at Western Washington University in Bellingham, Washington. The theme was: “Acting, Roles, Stages” and focused on pedagogy. PAMLA is a regional arm of the Modern Language Association (MLA). 

Dr. Yolanda Doub has been a part of PAMLA for almost ten years. She’s held roles on several committees, such as the executive committee, the Graduate Scholarship Committee, and the Outstanding Essay committee. Participating in these groups, evaluating applications and reading essays, she recalls, “It’s daunting, but it’s also fun.”

One of Doub’s favorite things about the conference is uniting with other great scholars in literature and linguistics and other areas. The supportive people and atmosphere allow for her to present preliminary research and receive constructive feedback.

“It’s a feedback loop,” Doub explains. “It allows me to practice stuff that I’ve been percolating and get new ideas and test them out with colleagues and then use it in the class.”

For example, Doub teaches a graduate seminar on coming-of-age stories, the Spanish American bildungsroman. She brings in her presentations and uses them as examples, showing students what they can do for oral presentations or how their current research can be a seed for a later essay. She equips her students with research methods and strategies, preparing them for symposiums and conferences.

Coming-of-age stories, she says, carry a similar theme across cultures, which give them widespread appeal.

“There’s something universal about this process of trying to find some sort of a balance between the desire of the self what we want as individuals and what society expects of us,” Doub says. Her students have related and taken well to the materials.

Furthermore, Doub founded the panel “Adaptation Studies” for the conference. It started as a special session about adaptation of literature to film or vice versa and has evolved to include more creative interpretations of what adaptations is, such as film to video games.

For Doub, she usually focuses on how a novel and its film adaptation complement each other. 

She notes how the audio-visual component added a different dimension to the story, in which some things are compressed, but the new facet allows for other fascinating things like rearranging the timeline. It’s about “how two stories together, kind of maybe, create something new.”

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The panel has been ongoing since 2013. Her involvement has allowed her to expand her field in Latin American literature and culture. 

Doub recalls one of her presentations on the film “Motorcycle Diaries.” It is a coming-of-age story, but it isn’t from one specific coming-of-age book. She explains how the film took two different travel journals–one from Che Guevara and one by his best friend Alberto Granado–and fused them together to make a lovely narrative. 

“So, it’s a work of fiction based on reality,” Doub says, “and you can do that with film.” 

Film studies and adaptation studies allow Doub to go beyond the classroom and bring back what’s helpful for students and meet their needs. 

At the last conference in Bellingham, she served on the executive committee and was invited to present on a panel about how to survive graduate school while keeping your mental health intact. Doub presented on how to deal with problem students using anecdotes and solutions from her own teaching experiences.

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2021 Graduate of Fresno State's MFA Creative Writing program, focused in Creative Nonfiction. Hmong American writer.

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