Major Changes in the MLA’s Resolution Process

The recent ratification of constitutional amendments affecting the association’s resolution process has brought the following major changes, which are intended to increase the effectiveness of resolutions as tools for public advocacy and to provide additional opportunities for member input: the submission deadline is now 1 September, one hundred supporting signatures from current members are required as an initial show of membership support for the resolution, and emergency resolutions have been eliminated to ensure that all resolutions and the facts on which they are based can be fully vetted. In addition, the Executive Council’s fiduciary review of resolutions will now precede the Delegate Assembly meeting, and resolutions approved by the assembly will be submitted directly to the membership for a ratification vote. These changes are reflected not only in the constitution (see articles 7.B.3, 9.C.10, and 11.C.3–7) but also in the documents at the Web site that describe the resolution process (see Motions and Resolutions, Preparing Resolutions for the Delegate Assembly, and Checklist for Submitting Resolutions). Members who have questions about these changes should write to the coordinator of governance (governance@mla.org).

Important News about the MLA Job List

Changes are coming to MLA Job Information List (soon to be the MLA Job List) this summer. We’re working to make a new, streamlined site that will make it easier for job seekers to find jobs and for employers to post jobs. The new site will also feature a wider range of jobs, to reflect the diversity of professions that humanities PhDs are pursuing. More information about the new site will be available next month. For updates, sign up for the news digest or follow us @MLAnews.

New Report Documents Trends in Language Study

The MLA has just released its full report on language course enrollments in colleges and universities in the United States. Based on a comprehensive census of 2,547 institutions, Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Summer 2016 and Fall 2016: Final Report documents changes in enrollments in the fifteen most-studied languages as well as trends for less commonly studied languages. The report finds that while enrollments in languages other than English declined by 9.2% between fall 2013 and fall 2016, enrollments increased or remained stable in 45.5% of language programs. To understand how some programs remain strong despite local and national challenges, the report highlights programs that have maintained robust enrollments by implementing innovative curricula. As the report’s executive summary concludes, “[c]learly, investments are needed in language education, and this report includes case studies of successful programs on which change can be modeled.”

Results of 2019 Ratification Vote

Voting on the 2019 ratification ballot concluded at midnight (EDT) on 15 May. Members ratified the election of César Aira; Tahar ben Jelloun; Samuel R. Delany, Jr.; Gish Jen; Elias Khoury; Claudia Rankine; and J. K. Rowling to honorary fellowship in the association. Support for the candidates ranged from 84% to 97% of the members who voted in that section of the ballot. All seven candidates will be invited to accept the honor.

Members also ratified the 2019 Delegate Assembly’s approval of three multipart constitutional amendments that, taken together, clarify the scope of and the distinction between motions and resolutions and provide for changes in the association’s resolution process recommended by the Ad Hoc Committee on Advocacy Policies and Procedures. Support for the amendments ranged from 93% to 95% of the members who voted in that section of the ballot. The amendments, which take immediate effect, have been incorporated into the text of the constitution at the Web site. Members should note that the submission deadline for motions and resolutions to be considered by the Delegate Assembly is now 1 September, that resolutions must garner one hundred supporting signatures, and that emergency resolutions have been eliminated.

MLA Members Receive 2019 NEH Grants

Congratulations to the eleven MLA members who are among the winners of National Endowment for the Humanities grants announced in March 2019. Their projects include preservation efforts for Chuquisaca Quechua, an indigenous and endangered language; a project to restructure the Charles Chesnutt Digital Archive; development of an interdisciplinary course on the Middle East and North Africa; and a study on visually impaired filmmakers.

Documenting Endangered Languages – Fellowships

Susan Kalt, Roxbury Community College

Project title: Stories in Chuquisaca Quechua

Project description: The analysis of recordings of Chuquisaca, a dialect of Quechua, an indigenous language spoken in the Andean regions of Bolivia and Peru, as well as linguistic training of local collaborators involved in language revitalization.

Humanities Collections and Reference Resources

Jeanne Britton, University of South Carolina, Columbia

Project title: The Digital Piranesi

Project description: Production of a comprehensive, searchable, and open-access online version of the works of Piranesi. Work would include preservation, scanning, custom page-level metadata creation, translation, digital collections management, Web design, exhibit curation, and public events planning.

Matt Cohen, University of Nebraska, Board of Regents

Project title: Charles Chesnutt: A Digital Archive

Project description: A structural redesign of the Charles Chesnutt Digital Archive, with the addition of more works by Chesnutt. The online reference resource would include all of Chesnutt’s published fiction and nonfiction; a manuscript section with hand-corrected galleys of four major works, including his first and second novels and his biography of Frederick Douglass; and a collection of three-hundred contemporary reviews of six book-length works Chesnutt published between 1899 and 1905.

Humanities Connections Planning Grants

Ali Behdad, University of California, Los Angeles

Project title: New Directions in Middle East Learning

Project description: A one-year project aimed at developing a freshman-level interdisciplinary course sequence on the Middle East and North Africa.

Katharine Trostel, Ursuline College

Project title: Cleveland Divided: Rust Belt Revival

Project description: The development of a core curricular pathway and new course offerings focused on Cleveland and the Rust Belt region.

Summer Stipends

Katherine Gustafson, Indiana University Northwest

Project title: Novel Marketing, Novel Writing, and the Development of the Adolescent, 1740–1815

Project description: Completion of the first book-length study of adolescence as a modern social category in eighteenth-century British novels and its affiliated marketing industry.

Catherine Jaffe, Texas State University, San Marcos

Project title: A History of the Women’s Council of the Royal Madrid Economic Society (1787–1823)

Project description: Research and preparation for a book on the philanthropic contributions of Spanish women in the eighteenth-century Enlightenment.

Eduardo Ledesma, University of Illinois, Urbana

Project title: Blind Cinema: Visually Impaired Filmmakers and Technologies of Sight

Project description: A book-length study and companion Web site about visually impaired filmmakers and their use of various technologies, which illuminate the experience of blindness through film.

Marguerite Rippy, Marymount University

Project title: Orson Welles, Macbeth, and Africa: Collective Genius and the Diaspora

Project description: Research leading to publication of a book about the contributions made by African and African American artists to Orson Welles’s 1936 Federal Theater Project production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth.

Danielle St. Hilaire, Duquesne University

Project title: The Art of Compassion: Aesthetics, Ethics, and Pity in Early Modern English Literature

Project description: Completion of a book on the role of compassion in art and literature from ancient writers (Plato and Aristotle), medieval theologians (Saint Augustine and Saint Thomas Aquinas), and writers of the English Renaissance (Philip Sidney, Edmund Spenser, and Shakespeare).

Akiko Tsuchiya, Washington University in St. Louis

Project title: Spanish Women of Letters in the Nineteenth-Century Antislavery Movement: Transnational Networks and Exchanges

Project description: Research and writing leading to publication of a book about Spanish women writers and the transnational antislavery movement of the nineteenth century.

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

The Modern Language Association congratulates the six MLA members who were named 2019 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of their contributions to literary criticism and literature.

  • Judith Butler, University of California, Berkeley
  • Souleymane Bachir Diagne, Columbia University
  • Harry J. Elam, Jr., Stanford University
  • Jacques Neefs, Johns Hopkins University, MD
  • Mary Louise Pratt, New York University
  • Kenneth W. Warren, University of Chicago

Contribute to New MLA Volumes on Cabeza de Vaca, Shakespeare, and German Literature

The volumes Approaches to Teaching Cabeza de Vaca’s Account and Other Works, edited by Luis Fernando Restrepo and Carlos A. Jáuregui, and Approaches to Teaching Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, second edition, edited by Joseph M. Ortiz, are now in development in the MLA Approaches to Teaching World Lit­erature series. Instructors who have taught these works are encouraged to contribute to the volumes by completing surveys about their experiences. Information about proposing an essay is available at the end of each survey.

You are also invited to submit essay proposals for a new volume in development in the Options for Teaching series, Teaching German Literature of the Twentieth and Twenty-First Centuries, edited by David D. Kim and B. Venkat Mani. Abstracts must be submitted to the editors by 15 June 2019.

MLA Members Receive 2019 Guggenheim Award

Congratulations to the eleven MLA members among the winners of the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships announced in April 2019. The projects recognized include a deep history of cybernetics, an exploration of United States history through the prism of the high school canon, the temporalities of ice in an epoch of climate change, and Japanese culture during the Cold War era, among others.

Fellowships

Rachel Adams, Columbia University
Field of study: literary criticism

Branka Arsić, Columbia University
Field of study: American literature

Hester Blum, Penn State University, University Park
Field of study: geography and environmental studies

Michael K. Bourdaghs, University of Chicago
Field of study: East Asian studies

Michael W. Clune, Case Western Reserve University
Field of study: literary criticism

Alexander R. Galloway, New York University
Field of study: film, video, and new media studies

Marjorie Garber, Harvard University
Field of study: English literature

Elizabeth Carolyn Miller, University of California, Davis
Field of study: English literature

Andrew Newman, Stony Brook University, State University of New York
Field of study: education

Gerard Passannante, University of Maryland, College Park
Field of study: medieval and Renaissance literature

John Durham Peters, Yale University
Field of study: film, video, and new media studies

May and June Deadlines for MLA Publication Prizes

The MLA Committee on Honors and Awards invites authors and editors to compete for the association’s publication awards. There are eleven prizes with a 1 May deadline, and one prize has a 1 June deadline. Information on all the annual and biennial MLA prizes, their deadlines, and the submission process is available online. You may also request detailed information on individual MLA prizes by contacting the office of programs (awards@mla.org).