Nina Namaste

Associate Professor of Spanish in the Department of World Languages and Cultures
Carlton Building 320
2125 Campus Box
Elon, NC 27244 (336) 278-6463

Professional Expertise

food studies, identity issues, contemporary Spanish drama and literature, globalization, pedagogy, and assessment

Brief Biography

Born and raised in Chicago speaking Catalan, English, and Spanish (usually all three languages in one sentence), she venured north to Minnesota to go to St. Olaf College.  She was originally pre-veterinary and took all the required science courses, but her "freebie" courses were in literature and Spanish, which is how she ended up with Spanish and Education majors.  She student-taught in an inner city school in Chicago and stayed afterwards to teach high school Spanish, bilingual biology and bilingual math in the Chicago public school system.  After a few years she decided she needed to figure out how to teach more effectively so she went back to school, this time to Indiana University for a MA.  She had so much fun teaching college students she stayed to get her Ph.D.  When doubting her capabilities to write a dissertation, let alone find a topic, her favorite professor told her, "Pick a topic you love and then figure out how to study it" so she investigated food imagery in contemporary Spanish, Argentine, and Chilean drama (who doesn't like food, right?!).  She was Visiting Prof for a year at the University of Iowa teaching Spanish theatre courses and finishing her dissertation.  Her first tenure-track job was at Grand Valley State University in MI and while the department fit her, the institution didn't so she applied for jobs at small liberal arts institutions that would get her closer to her St. Olaf experience.  They offered her the job at Elon University in 2008 and she, along with her husband, Paul, and (then) infant daughter, Samira, eagerly moved to North Carolina.  A year later she had her son, Kai, and in Spring 2012 she ventured farther south to Costa Rica, with two small children and twenty college students in tow, to lead the Elon Centre in San José program.  In 2013 she happily received tenure at Elon and in 2014 became the Arts & Humanities Director for the Elon College Fellows.  For the next three years she will be co-leading a multi-institutional SoTL research seminar on how to better integrate global learning/study away into the entire collegiate experience. 

Besides spending time trying to plan great courses and classes, improving her teaching, researching and writing articles, and reading anything she can get her hands on, she enjoys playing with her kids, having deep "big picture" conversations with her friends and husband, going on hikes with her dog Nisa, and traveling as much as possibe. 

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