The seventh Phyllis Franklin Award for Public Advocacy of the Humanities will be presented to Toi Derricotte and Cornelius Eady, cofounders of Cave Canem, at the MLA Annual Convention in Seattle. MLA President Simon Gikandi will present the award during the MLA Awards Ceremony on 11 January 2020 in recognition of Cave Canem, a national poetry organization that supports the artistic and professional growth of African American poets. The award was established to honor Phyllis Franklin, who served as the MLA’s director of English programs before serving as executive director from 1985 until 2002.
You are invited to submit essay proposals for a new nonseries volume in development, The Global English Department, edited by Ashley Squires and Myles Chilton. This volume will explore the structure and role of English departments outside the Anglosphere and will address issues such as identity, disciplinarity, curricula, and pedagogy. Proposals must be submitted to the editors by 15 September 2019.
You are invited to submit essay proposals for a new nonseries volume in development on “lost and found” texts in composition and rhetoric, to be edited by Deborah H. Holdstein. Essays will identify valuable works of scholarship that have been ignored, elided, or forgotten and will discuss the value of making these texts present and visible again. Proposals must be submitted to the editor by 1 September 2019.
You are also invited to submit essay proposals for a new volume in development in the Options for Teaching series, Teaching the Mexican Revolution, edited by Ignacio M. Sánchez Prado. Proposals must be submitted to the editor by 1 October 2019.
The volume Approaches to Teaching Pessoa’s The Book of Disquiet, edited by Paulo de Medeiros and Jerónimo Pizarro, is now in development in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Instructors who have taught this work 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 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 (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
The volume Teaching Games and Games Studies in the Literature Classroom, edited by Tison Pugh and Lynn Ramey, is now in development in the MLA Options for Teaching series. To learn more about the volume and how to propose an essay, please visit the MLA Web site. Abstracts and CVs are due to the editors by 1 September 2019.