MLA Members Receive 2017 NEH Awards

Congratulations to the twenty-two MLA members among the winners of National Endowment for the Humanities awards announced in December 2017. The projects recognized include a study of collaborative authorship in early African American and Native American literature, the revitalization of a database on eighteenth-century theater and popular culture in London, an oral history program for high school students, and many others. (more…)

2019 Presidential Theme: Textual Transactions

Anne Gere, the 2018–19 president of the MLA, has chosen Textual Transactions as the presidential theme for the 2019 MLA Annual Convention in Chicago.

Textual transactions are the mutually constitutive engagements of human beings, texts, and their contexts. Transactions are more than mere interactions, in which separate entities act on one another without being changed at any essential level. In transactions, all elements are part of an organic whole and are transformed by their encounters with one another.

This theme, then, invites us to move beyond simple dichotomies that can limit the ways we think about texts: those we read and write about, those we teach our students, and those we require our students to write. We might consider the various textual transactions that constitute, or could constitute, our intellectual, artistic, and pedagogical work.

  • In what ways, for example, are reading and writing mutually constitutive?
  • Does engaging with language through textual transactions enhance the learner’s study of a language other than English?
  • How might the concept of textual transactions shape our thinking about translation, projects of literary and cultural studies, transnational cultural studies, new tools of textual analysis, relations between composition and critical analysis, or our relationships with constituencies outside the academy?

To solicit contributions for a convention session that engages with this theme you must post a call on the MLA Web site before 28 February 2018. Session proposal forms for the 2019 convention will be available online by early March.

 

 

Honoring MLA Bibliography Fellows

The MLA International Bibliography congratulates the 2017 Fellowship Award recipients:

  • Joshua E. Finnell, head of research and instruction, associate professor, Colgate​ University
  • Marla Harris, independent scholar
  • Michael F. Winter, humanities librarian, University of California, Davis

The fellows, who have contributed to the bibliography from 2014 to 2017, will be awarded a certificate of accomplishment and a check for $500 during the 2018 MLA Awards Ceremony, which takes place at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, 6 January, in the New York Hilton (West Ballroom, third floor). We offer our sincere thanks and appreciation for their service to the MLA International Bibliography!

 

Help Shape Literary Studies in the Digital Age Anthology

A new draft essay has been selected for open review in Literary Studies in the Digital Age, the MLA’s first born-digital, publicly available anthology. The anthology’s editors invite you to comment on Jojo Karlin’s “Our Digital Literary Legacy: Producing and Preserving Digital Dissertations in English.” They may then ask the author to review the piece in the light of your feedback, for possible inclusion in the anthology. To read and comment on the draft essay, please visit its page in the anthology. Open review of the essay ends 23 February 2018.

Suggesting Members for Committee Appointments

In February 2018 the Executive Council will make appointments to sixteen standing committees of the association. These committees and the outgoing committee members will be listed on the committee suggestion page through 7 February, the deadline for making a suggestion. To suggest yourself or another member of the association for a committee, respond to the three prompts on the suggestion page and then complete the short information form. Please note that suggestions for appointments are not carried forward from year to year; they are compiled anew for each appointment cycle.

Help Feed Students Affected by Hurricane Maria

If you want to help students in Puerto Rico who have been affected by the recent hurricane, Ricia Chansky, an MLA member, encourages you to send food donations to Come Colegial, a group feeding over 1,100 students at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez. Come Colegial welcomes donations of all nonperishable food items, including rice, beans, sauces, condensed milk, instant mashed potatoes, cookies, bottled water, soda, juice, ready-to-eat meals (e.g., macaroni and cheese), and oil, as well as cloth bags. The organization notes that donations sent in US Postal Service flat-rate boxes and via Amazon are getting through to the island. Donations can be sent to

Come Colegial
Office of Graduate Studies
Mayagüez Campus
CALL BOX 9000
Mayagüez, PR 00681-9000

If you have questions about donations, please e-mail Ricia Chansky.

 

Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak Receives Lifetime Scholarly Achievement Award

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.

 

 

 

MLA Issues Statement on Content Warnings

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.

Travel Grants for the 2018 MLA Convention

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 awards@mla.org.

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.

2 October Deadline for Career Development Boot Camp for PhD Students at the Convention

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.