The MLA is pleased to announce that Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, University Professor of Humanities at Columbia University and a founding member of the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, will receive the eighth MLA Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement. The Executive Council selected Spivak for the award on the recommendation of the Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Review Committee and the Committee on Honors and Awards. Having first attracted acclaim for her translation of and magisterial preface to Jacques Derrida’s Of Grammatology (1976) and her landmark article “Can the Subaltern Speak?” (1983), Spivak has influenced postcolonial studies, international feminism, postructuralist philosophies, critiques of globalization, as well as art and curatorial practices. She is also an activist in feminist and ecological social movements and rural education. In addition to receiving numerous honorary degrees, she has been awarded the Kyoto Prize in Arts and Philosophy and the Padma Bhushan, given by the Indian government. The Award for Lifetime Scholarly Achievement will be presented to Spivak during the MLA Awards Ceremony at the January 2018 convention.
The Executive Council has issued a statement on the use of content warnings as a matter of pedagogical accessibility and professional ethics. The MLA observes that advance warnings about the nature of classroom material should not serve the purpose of avoiding challenging or controversial content. Instead, used at the discretion of the instructor, warnings should enable participants to appropriately structure their own individual strategy for engagement. Far from censoring material, such notifications should aim to cultivate a deeper interaction with texts and media.
The MLA offers $400 grants to help cover expenses for travel to the MLA convention, which will be held in New York from 4 to 7 January 2018. Non-tenure-track and unemployed members, as well as members living abroad who were members during the previous year may apply for financial assistance. Graduate students who join the MLA by 30 November are also eligible but must be members before applying for travel grants. For more information and to apply online, visit the MLA Web site. The deadline for applications is 1 December 2017. If you have questions, please contact Annie Reiser at email@example.com.
Travel grants are supported by contributions to the Professional Education Assistance Fund and the Good Neighbor Fund. Please consider making a donation to help those who need assistance; your contribution is tax-deductible.
Applications are still being accepted for the inaugural Connected Academics Career Development Boot Camp, which will take place 3–7 January 2018 at the MLA Annual Convention in New York City. PhD students who have advanced to candidacy by January 2018 are invited to apply, and twenty boot camp fellows will be selected.
The boot camp will explore the versatility of doctoral training in the humanities, provide tools and strategies for effective career planning, and offer students an opportunity to reflect on their own graduate studies and developing professional identities. Participants will bring back experience and information that can be used to help other students in their departments meet their diverse learning and career-development needs.
Boot camp activities include a site visit to the New York Public Library; a Connected Academics convention track; private discussion and debriefing sessions for boot camp fellows led by Chris Golde, a humanities careers professional; and many opportunities to network with PhDs working outside the academy.
To learn more about the boot camp or to apply, visit the Connected Academics site.
The MLA is pleased to announce that Angela Gibson has been named the new director of scholarly communication. In this role, Gibson will oversee MLA’s periodical and book publications, book acquisitions, and digital initiatives. This includes expanding the array of educational and editorial resources available at The MLA Style Center; enriching the MLA’s open-access resources, including CORE and MLA Commons; and making tools for research and collaboration available to students and teachers at all levels.
Gibson holds a PhD in English from the University of Rochester, where she focused on medieval literature. She has worked at the MLA since 2001, most recently as associate director of scholarly communication and head of book and online publications. Before coming to the MLA, Gibson taught writing and literature in the college classroom. Gibson looks forward to continuing the innovative work done by the previous director of scholarly communication, Kathleen Fitzpatrick, who assumed an academic appointment in August after nearly six years at the MLA.
Motions and regular resolutions that the Delegate Assembly will consider at its next meeting, which will take place during the 2018 MLA Annual Convention in New York, must be submitted by 1 October of this year. The assembly’s Web page provides information about placing an item on the agenda for the meeting as well as links to several resources about motions and resolutions. Questions about submitting a motion or a resolution may be directed to the coordinator of governance (firstname.lastname@example.org).
When the executive committees of the MLA’s forums meet during the January 2018 convention in New York, they will take up the matter of nominations for the executive committee elections that will be held in fall 2018. Though the executive committees are responsible for making nominations, each committee is required to nominate at least one candidate who has been suggested by the wider MLA membership (unless there are too few suggestions). Members are therefore encouraged to submit suggestions for the 2018 forum executive committee elections by filling out a brief suggestion form. Suggestions received by 18 December 2017 will be forwarded to the executive committees in time for their convention meetings.
Representatives of the MLA’s forums in the Delegate Assembly are now elected by the members who have primary affiliations with the forums that have open seats to fill. Fifty-three forums will hold delegate elections in the fall of 2018; the executive committees of these forums will take up the matter of nominations when they meet during the January 2018 convention in New York. Each forum’s executive committee is required to consider for nomination those members who have been suggested by the membership. Please see the overview of forum delegate elections for additional information about these elections, about Delegate Assembly service, and about how to submit a suggestion. The deadline for making suggestions is 18 December 2017.
The volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of Edith Wharton, edited by Ferdâ Asya, is now in development in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Instructors who have taught these 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.
The MLA has received a generous $309,000 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to continue its work on Humanities Commons. With support from the Mellon Foundation, the MLA will engage in a nine-month process of sustainability planning and governance-model development. In the course of the project, the MLA will bring together its existing society partners—the Association for Jewish Studies; the Association for Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Studies; and the College Art Association—with a group of other interested societies to develop a strategic plan that can ensure the future of the interdisciplinary, nonprofit scholarly research network. Kathleen Fitzpatrick will continue to serve as project director of Humanities Commons in her new role at Michigan State University, and Terrence Callaghan, the MLA’s director of administration and finance, will oversee the project as the MLA’s principal investigator. The grant period will run through September 2018.