Prism

An Interview with Dr. Patrick Moneyang

by Rebecca Wilkin

Patrick Moneyang will begin his first year as a tenure stream Assistant Professor of French, after serving one year as a Visiting faculty member. Dr. Moneyang is a charismatic colleague, a kind and rigorous teacher, and a reflective individual who never loses sight of the big picture. I asked him a few questions to give you a sense of his trajectory, intellectual profile, and personality.

Rebecca: Lutes love to talk about discerning their vocation. In what terms do you make sense of your long, rich path from Cameroon to Tacoma?

Patrick: What I think of first, when reflecting on my path, are all the loving, caring, trusted and wise people I have encountered; each one of them giving me a piece of their light, experience, knowledge and wisdom. I am the product of so many influences and voices that I have actively listened to. I am grateful for all these people, and for the ideas and talents they shared with me. Another thing is that choosing to be in the USA and at PLU today meant letting go of other people, schools, towns, cities and countries, no matter how strongly I was connected to them. 

Rebecca: Your 2013 dissertation on representations of the zombie as a figure of the intellectual impoverishment of Africa emphasizes the importance of critical thinking. How do you teach critical thinking to your students?

Patrick:  With students, we analyze representations of zombies across cultures. Focusing on the zombie leads to questioning our human experience (Post-human? Un-human? De-human, re-human, trans-human etc.) 

Rebecca: What would you say has been the most important thing you’ve learned from your PLU students this year?

Patrick: One student discussed the US zombie not primarily in terms of the loss of rationality. Rather, he read the contemporary American zombie as a metaphor for the loss of empathy and ability to connect outside one’s own “tribe”. As a facilitator, my main observation was that many students experience anxiety, and that I need to adapt my pedagogy to help these students still have a great classroom experience.

Rebecca: So, what do you like to do for fun?

Patrick: I am a happy person and I like things that help me stay active and make me laugh. I like having a good laugh at myself…