MLA Members Receive 2021 NEH Grants

Congratulations to the twelve MLA members who are among the winners of the National Endowment for the Humanities grants announced in August 2021. Their projects include a free online resource for teaching Spanish to heritage learners; a digital publication of the notes of Viola Muse, a writer who took part in the Florida Federal Writers Project; a two-week institute on transcendentalism and social reform; and much more.

Wendy Belcher, Princeton University

Project Title: African Humanities Folkloric Project: Written Medieval Stories on Healing and Justice from Egypt, Sudan, Eritrea, and Ethiopia Project

Description: Preparation for digital publication of 180 African Marian stories preserved in parchment manuscripts, which will be cataloged, transcribed, and translated from Ge’ez (classical Ethiopic) into English.

Project Title: Increasing Access to and Developing Digital Tools for Early African Literature

Project Description: The creation of a web-based platform and tools to enable scholars to search and engage with a unique online collection of African literature.

Robin Bernstein, Harvard University

Project Title: The Trials of William Freeman (1824–1847): A Story of Murder, Race, and America’s First Industrial Prison Project

Description: A history of incarceration in Auburn, New York, through the story of William Freeman, who was convicted of a quadruple murder in 1846.

Margaret Boyle, Bates College

Project Title: Identity and Multilingualism through Picture Books

Project Description: A two-week, hybrid institute for twenty-nine elementary school teachers to develop equitable teaching strategies using picture books.

Janine Fitzgerald, Fort Lewis College

Project Title: Yo Soy Porque Tú Eres: recursos para el aprendizaje de Español en contexto (Resources for Teaching Spanish in Context)

Project Description: Development of a free online OER (open educational resource) for teaching Spanish language using humanities collections to heritage learners.

Lauren Goodlad, Rutgers University, New Brunswick

Project Title: Unboxing Artificial Intelligence: An International Collaboration Bringing Humanities Perspectives to AI

Project Description: Planning of an international collaboration on the topic of bringing humanities perspectives to the creation of artificial intelligence.

Laura Heffernan, University of North Florida

Project Title: Documenting Black Jacksonville: The Viola Muse Digital Edition

Project Description: Preparation for digital publication of the interview notes of Viola Muse (1891–1981), a writer who took part in the Florida Federal Writers Project from 1936 to 1940.

Casey Kayser University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Project Title: Pandemics in History, Literature, and Today

Project Description: A two-week, residential institute for thirty-six middle and high school educators that would provide comparative perspectives on the 1918 and 2020 global pandemics.

Lauren Klein, Emory University

Project Title: Data by Design: An Interactive History of Data Visualization

Project Description: The creation of a born-digital publication documenting and analyzing the history of data visualization from the eighteenth century to the present.

Sandra Petrulionis, Thoreau Society, Inc.

Project Title: Transcendentalism and Social Reform: Activism and Community Engagement in the Age of Thoreau

Project Description: A two-week, residential institute for twenty-five college and university faculty members on transcendentalism and social reform.

Lynn Ramey, Vanderbilt University

Project Title: Immersive Global Middle Ages Institute for Advanced Topics

Project Description: A 28-month initiative for fourteen participants to learn about the use of immersive digital technologies for teaching and learning about the global Middle Ages through in-person and virtual workshops hosted by the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs, and Vanderbilt University.

Charles Stivale, Purdue University

Project Title: Translation of the Seminars of French Philosopher Gilles Deleuze

Project Description: Preparation for online publication of English translations of seminar lectures delivered by French philosopher Gilles Deleuze (1925–95).

Miriam Udel, Emory University

Project Title: Children’s Literature and Modern Jewish Culture

Project Description: Writing a book examining Jewish identity as constructed in Yiddish-language children’s literature.

 

MLA Members Awarded ACLS Fellowships

Congratulations to the nine MLA members who have been awarded 2021 American Council of Learned Societies Emerging Voices Fellowships, which support early-career scholars whose voices, perspectives, and broad visions will strengthen institutions of higher education and humanistic disciplines in the years to come. Fellows take up year-long placements with members of ACLS’s Research University Consortium, where they can advance their research and professional development while contributing to the teaching, programming, and administrative work of their host university.

Fellowships

Maira Elizabeth Alvarez, School of International Letters and Cultures, Arizona State University

Tarrell Campbell, College of Liberal Arts, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

Maria A. Dikcis, Pozen Family Center for Human Rights, University of Chicago

Isabel A. Duarte-Gray, Division of Humanities, University of California, Los Angeles

Francesca Gacho, Communication of Science and Technology Program, Vanderbilt University

Michele U. Kenfack, Office of the Vice Provost for Advances in Learning, Harvard University

Jordan Lovejoy, College of Liberal Arts Engagement Hub, University of Minnesota

Laura Muñoz, College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, University of Southern California

Ena Selimovic, Division of Humanities, Yale University

2021 MLA Bibliography Fellows

The Modern Language Association congratulates the 2021 MLA Bibliography fellows who will serve from 2021 to 2024. The MLA International Bibliography staff members work with approximately one hundred field bibliographers, from all parts of the world, who cover subject areas, journals, and languages that cannot be indexed in the New York office. Each spring, five to ten fellowships are awarded to field bibliographers who, on completion of their fellowships, receive a stipend of $500 and a certificate during the awards ceremony at the MLA convention. For more information on bibliography fellowships, please visit the MLA website or contact Chriselle Tidrick at ctidrick@mla.org.

Congratulations to the following:

  • Stacey Amo, senior lecturer, University of Wisconsin, Superior
  • Luciana Cordo Russo, Alexander von Humboldt postdoctoral researcher, University of Marburg
  • Srigowri Kumar, adjunct instructor, Fordham University, Bronx
  • Andrea Malone, librarian, University of Houston
  • Bradley McIlwain, rare books cataloger, Lakehead University
  • Brendan Nieubuurt, librarian for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian studies, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • Sílvia A. Oliveira, associate professor of Portuguese and director, Institute for Portuguese and Lusophone World Studies, Rhode Island College
  • Haniyeh B. Pasandi, assistant professor of French and francophone civilizations, University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • Ana I. Simón Alegre, assistant professor, Adelphi University
  • Paul Videsott, full professor, Free University of Bozen-Bolzano

 

MLA President Barbara Fuchs to Receive Instituto Cervantes’s Ñ Award

Barbara Fuchs, president of the Modern Language Association, will be presented with the inaugural Instituto Cervantes’s Ñ Award by King Felipe VI of Spain on the occasion of the institute’s thirtieth anniversary. The Instituto Cervantes was created in 1991 to further the teaching of Spanish and Spain’s vernacular languages and to enhance the visibility of Spanish and Latin American culture. This honorary distinction was created this year to recognize individuals or legal entities who have promoted the Spanish language around the world.

Fuchs is a professor of Spanish and English at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). Her research interests include early modern Spanish and English literature, Mediterranean and transatlantic studies, literature and empire, transnationalism and literary history, race and religion in the early modern world, and translation and performance. Through her numerous books and articles published on these topics and her founding of the Diversifying the Classics project, an initiative that aims to foster awareness and appreciation of Hispanic classical theater, Barbara Fuchs has dedicated her career to the promotion of Spanish language and literary history internationally. During her term as president of the MLA, Fuchs has written about the centrality of multilingualism in the spring MLA Newsletter and has made multilingualism her presidential theme for the 2022 MLA Annual Convention in Washington, DC.

King Filipe VI will present the Ñ Award to Fuchs at the next annual meeting of the Instituto Cervantes board of trustees in October. Pedro Sánchez, Spain’s prime minister, will deliver the diploma certifying the award on 22 July at UCLA.

Contribute to an MLA Approaches Volume on the Works of Toni Morrison

The volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of Toni Morrison, edited by Piper Kendrix Williams, is now in development in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Instructors who have taught Morrison’s works are encouraged to contribute to the volume by completing a survey about their experiences. Information about proposing an essay is available at the end of the survey.

Contribute to an MLA Approaches Volume on the Works of George Orwell

The volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of George Orwell, edited by Patricia Rae, is now in development in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Instructors who have taught Orwell’s works are encouraged to contribute to the volume by completing a survey about their experiences. Information about proposing an essay is available at the end of the survey.

 

Results of 2021 Ratification Vote

Voting on the 2021 ratification ballot concluded at 11:59 p.m. (EDT) on 30 April. Members ratified the election of Bei Dao and Reina María Rodríguez to honorary fellowship in the association. Support for the candidates averaged 96.5% of the members who voted. Both candidates will be invited to accept the honor.

MLA Members Named Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The Modern Language Association congratulates the five MLA members who were named 2021 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of their contributions to the humanities.

  • Ian Baucom, University of Virginia
  • Eric L. Santner, University of Chicago
  • Hortense J. Spillers, Vanderbilt University
  • Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, Columbia University
  • Deborah F. Tannen, Georgetown University

MLA Endorses Twenty-First-Century Federal Writers’ Project Act

The MLA has strongly endorsed the Twenty-First-Century Federal Writers’ Project Act, proposed by Congressman Ted Lieu and Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernandez, which would establish a grant program in the Department of Labor to assist unemployed and underemployed workers whose careers have been severely disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Like its predecessor, Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Federal Writers’ Project of 1935, which documented the Great Depression, the new project aims to create opportunities for writers and researchers to engage in the crucial work of recording the immeasurable and lasting impact of this historic period on the United States.

Paula Krebs, the executive director of the MLA, whose proposal for a new WPA sparked a collaboration with Congressman Lieu’s office, affirms this bill’s importance and enormous potential, maintaining that

COVID-19 has had profound effects on the employment of writers and researchers in this country, and Congressman Lieu’s bill would serve the double purpose of collecting the stories of the pandemic for use by future generations and also putting back to work many of the nation’s most talented writers and researchers, whose careers have been devastated by the effects of the pandemic. Students and researchers benefit daily from the work made possible by FDR’s Federal Writers’ Project, and, with the passage of this bill, the same will be true for future generations looking to study the impact of COVID-19 on American culture and history.

Introduced on the eighty-sixth anniversary of the founding of the original Federal Writers’ Project, this legislation, as the American Council of Learned Societies’ president, Joy Connolly, asserts, “is urgently needed in helping us understand what we have been through and guiding us through the next steps in moving forward.”

MLA Members Awarded ACLS Fellowships

Congratulations to the five MLA members among those awarded 2021 American Council of Learned Societies fellowships, which support outstanding scholarship in the humanities and humanistic social sciences. The projects recognized include a book about free verse as a racialized construction that created barriers for Black and Indigenous poets and critics and another about renowned authors who were also transformative teachers and educational activists and whose experiences in public universities fundamentally altered the course of American literature.

Fellowships

Georgia Henley, Saint Anselm College
Project title: Memory on the Margins: Reimagining the Past in the Medieval Anglo-Welsh Borderlands

Erin Kappeler, Tulane University
Project title: The Songs of White Folk: Anti-Blackness, Settler Colonialism, and the Invention of Free Verse

Jay David Miller, University of Notre Dame
Project title: Quaker Jeremiad

Danica Savonick, State University of New York, Cortland
Project title: Insurgent Knowledge: The Poetics and Pedagogy of Toni Cade Bambara, June Jordan, Audre Lorde, and Adrienne Rich in the Era of Open Admissions

Erin A. Spampinato, Colby College
Project title: Awful Nearness: A Literary and Cultural History of Rape, 1740–1900