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Melissa D. Birkhofer

Melissa Birkhofer

Lecturer, Dr.

College of Arts and Sciences


Contact Information

Phone: 828.227.3272
Office: 408 Coulter Building
Pronouns: she/her/hers


Melissa D. Birkhofer is an instructor in the Department of English Studies and Director of the U.S. Latinx Studies program. She has facilitated the Josefina Niggli Latinx Speaker Series since 2016 bringing many influential speakers to campus to discuss a variety of issues important to Latinx communities in Western North Carolina. She teaches in the Latinx Learning Community and has developed multiple classes for the minor in US Latinx Studies. She edited a special edition of <i>Label Me Latina/o</i> on the life and work of Judith Ortiz Cofer and co-authored with Paul M. Worley the article “Latinas/os in the Attic: (Erasing Latina/o Presence and the) Policing (of) Racial Borders in Faulkner’s <i>Light in August</i>” in <i>The Comparatist</i>. Her article "Toward a Feminist Latina Mode of Literary Analysis in Julia Alvarez’s <i>How the García Girls Lost Their Accents,</i>" has been accepted for publication in <i>Convergences (</i>2022) and she has a book project under contract with the University Press of Kentucky Press in their Appalachian Futures: Black, Queer, and Native Voices series. She is the contingent faculty representative for SECOLAS (Southeastern Council on Latin American Studies) and the former President of SEACS (Southeastern Association of Cultural Studies). She is the 2020 recipient of the Inclusive Excellence Faculty Award as well as the 2020 recipient of the Paul A. Reid Distinguished Service Award for Faculty. She is the faculty advisor to the student organization Mujeres con un propósito and the faculty advisor and academic coach to the first Latina sorority at WCU, Latinas Promoviendo Comunidad/Lambda Pi Chi Sorority.


  • Ph D, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, English and Comparative Literature
  • MA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, English and Comparative Literature
  • BA, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, English

Teaching Interests

Latinx Studies<br>Contemporary Latina narrative<br>Indigenous studies<br>Latinx Learning Community<br><br>

Research Interests

Latinx studies, cultures, and literatures <br>Multiethnic American literatures <br>Border Theory <br>Indigenous studies <br>Hemispheric studies

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