Researching AUM:  Pamela Long explores Hispanic culture and language

Dr. Pamela Long in her AUM office 

A native of Montgomery, Dr. Pamela Long has been teaching languages and researching Spanish and Mexican literature since 2002 at Auburn University at Montgomery. Her specific interests include Golden Age Spanish Literature and culture, Don Quixote, colonial Mexican literature and culture, and the Mexican Revolution.

“I’m currently working in the area of theological approaches to literature of Spain and Mexico,” said Long, a Professor in the AUM Department of History & World Languages & Cultures. “I've also taken students to Mexico to study abroad several times.”

Long’s scholarly work has appeared in professional journals and book chapters, and she has authored several books. In one, she describes the fictional exploits depicted in Don Quixote, often called ‘the first modern novel,’ and their implications in the theological realm.

“I looked at some theologies of Eucharist, chivalry and identity in Don Quixote, and their context in early 17th century Spain,” she explained.

As a Hispanic Minister for Montgomery area Episcopal churches, Long has both a professional and personal interest in religious issues of Hispanic cultures and is currently on track to be ordained an Episcopal priest later this year. She currently serves a Latino worshiping community, Todos Santos, that shares worship space with an English-speaking parish at All Saints' Episcopal Church on Coliseum Boulevard.

“And I am serving at Good Shepherd Episcopal Church, a historic African American parish with a plurality of immigrants from the Caribbean,” she said. “In both parishes I serve as a bridge between my flock and the wider community, advocating on behalf of poor and migrant families.”

Long has employed her fluency in Spanish and knowledge of Latino culture to become actively involved in immigrant rights.

“I sued the state in 2011 over HB 56, the draconian immigrant legislation that made being in the state of Alabama or aiding anyone without documentation a crime,” she said. “We won! Of the 30 original provisions of the law, 28 were overturned and those who serve immigrants as a function of their religious liberty cannot now be prosecuted for doing those actions.”

Currently, Long is authoring a book on Latino pastoral care for the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama in which she will describe “cross-cultural practices and liberation theology to guide parish clergy in ministering to Latinos in their parishes.”

As a child of an Air Force family constantly relocating to different cities, Long says she developed an early interest in other cultures.

“Living all over the US and England certainly made an impact,” she said. “It caused me to see people in their cultural, historical, and ethnic diversities as a benefit to American culture.”

Nick Thomas teaches at Auburn University at Montgomery (aum.edu) and has written features, columns, and interviews for over 750 newspapers and magazines (getnickt.org).