MLA Members Receive 2019 NEH Grants

Congratulations to the nine MLA members who are among the winners of National Endowment for the Humanities grants announced in August 2019. Their projects include a scholarly edition of Charles W. Chesnutt’s stories; a five-day institute for using digital methods to research digital culture; and a symposium on James Baldwin and Beauford Delaney.

Scholarly Editions and Translations

Stephanie Browner (project codirector), New School

Project title: The Complete Short Stories of American Author Charles W. Chesnutt (1858–1932)

Project description: Preparation of a scholarly edition (in printed volumes) of the short stories of the American writer Charles W. Chesnutt (1858–1932).

Deborah Gussman (project codirector), California State University, Dominguez Hills

Project title: The Letters of American Novelist Catharine Maria Sedgwick (1789–1867): An Online Edition

Project description: Preparation of a digital edition of the complete letters of the early American writer Catherine Maria Sedgwick (1789–1867).

Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities

Lisa Rhody, CUNY Research Foundation, Graduate School and University Center

Project title: Digital Humanities Research Institutes: Further Expanding Communities of Practice

Project description: A ten-day residential institute and follow-up activities for fifteen participants to develop core humanities computational research and project development skills, hosted at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Anastasia Salter, University of Central Florida, Orlando

Project title: Understanding Digital Culture: Humanist Lenses for Internet Research

Project description: A five-day institute for twenty-five participants, organized by and hosted at the University of Central Florida, for using digital methods to research digital culture.

Collaborative Research

Naomi Brenner (codirector), University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

Project title: Below the Line: The Feuilleton, the Public Sphere, and Modern Jewish Cultures

Project description: Two international conferences, a Web site, and digital resources on Jewish culture and the feuilleton, a newspaper insert popular throughout Europe from the nineteenth to the early twentieth centuries.

Maya Vinokour, New York University

Project title: The Post-Soviet Public Sphere: Multimedia Sourcebook of the 1990s

Project description: Preparation of a digital collection of bilingual scholarly essays and an open access Web site with 500 Russian-language multimedia artifacts created just before and after the collapse of the Soviet Union, between 1986 and 2000.

Public Scholar Program

Elizabeth Samet, United States Military Academy

Project title: The Nine Lives of Alexander the Great

Project description: Research and writing leading to publication of a book on Alexander the Great (356–323 BCE) as he has been interpreted in history and literature from antiquity to the present.

Collaborative Research

Amy Elias, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Project title: In a Speculative Light: The Arts of Writer James Baldwin (1924–1987) and Painter Beauford Delaney (1901–1979)

Project description: A symposium and collection of essays on the American author James Baldwin (1924–1987) and the American visual artist Beauford Delaney (1901–1979).

Institutes for School Teachers

Sean Connors, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Project title: Remaking Monsters and Heroines: Adapting Classic Literature for Contemporary Audiences

Project description: A two-week institute for thirty K–12 educators on Frankenstein, Cinderella, and adaptations of these classic texts.

MLA Members Win MacArthur Fellowships

We are pleased to announce that three MLA members are among the 2019 Fellows honored by the MacArthur Foundation. Congratulations to the following:

Saidiya Hartman, literary scholar and cultural historian
Department of English and Comparative Literature, Columbia University

Jeffrey Alan Miller, literary scholar
Department of English, Montclair State University

Emily Wilson, classicist and translator
Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan

MLA Teaching Institutes on Reading and Writing at Access-Oriented Institutions

The first two MLA Teaching Institutes—aimed at strengthening the teaching of English at access-oriented institutions—were offered this summer in Seattle and Amherst. The institutes are funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

This year’s thirty-two participants, a mix of faculty members at access-oriented institutions and advanced doctoral students at regional universities, received $2,500 stipends to support their attendance at the five-day institutes. Pedagogical research projects developed by participants during the institute will be conducted during the fall of 2019 and presented at the MLA Annual Convention in January 2020. Participants’ convention travel will be covered by the grant. Completion of the institute, the research project, and the convention presentation will qualify the participants to receive the MLA Certificate in Reading-Writing Pedagogy at Access-Oriented Institutions.

Institute Teachers

The institute teachers were Stacey Donohue, professor of English at Central Oregon Community College, member of the MLA Committee on K–16 Alliance, and former president of the Association of Departments of English; Howard Tinberg, professor of English at Bristol Community College, former chair of the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and coeditor of Deep Reading: Teaching Reading in the Writing Classroom; and Nicole Wallack, director of the Undergraduate Writing Program at Columbia University, senior associate at the Institute for Writing and Thinking at Bard College, and author of Crafting Presence: The American Essay and the Future of Writing Studies.

Institute Participants

University of Washington Institute

Andrew Hillen Clark Coll.
Multallip Anwar Highline Coll.
Peggy Baldwin Seattle Central Community Coll.
Marc Barrington Green River Coll.
Curtis Harty Washington State Univ.
Nanya Jhingran Univ. of Washington
Paul Kratwell Univ. of Oregon
Jason Lester Univ. of Oregon
Sara Lovett Univ. of Washington
Bronwyn Malloy Univ. of British Columbia
Christopher Martin Highline Coll.
Leah Rubinsky Univ. of Washington
Jennie Snow Seattle Central Community Coll.
Carrie Walker Central Oregon Community Coll.
Yan Wang Univ. of Washington
Ariel Wetzel Highline Coll.

University of Massachusetts Institute

Kerry Carnahan Univ. of Connecticut
Megan Crotty Boston Coll.
AnnMarie DeMichiel Univ. of Rhode Island
Rebecca Griffin Cape Cod Community Coll.
Rachel Heffner-Burns Norwalk Community Coll.
Ryan Hitchcock Brandeis Univ.
Nicole Lawrence Univ. of Connecticut
Arpita Mandal Univ. of Connecticut
Nell McCabe Berkshire Community Coll.
Sarah Moon Univ. of Connecticut
Kaylee Mootz Univ. of Connecticut
Annika Nerf Univ. at Albany (SUNY)
Jasmine Ortiz Quinsigamond Community Coll.
Lauren Rocha Merrimack Coll.
Alison Ruch Bunker Hill Community Coll.
Enzo Surin Bunker Hill Community Coll.

Proposed Constitutional Amendment

Earlier this year, the Delegate Assembly forwarded a proposal for a constitutional amendment to the Committee on Amendments to the Constitution. The amendment establishes a 1 September deadline for the submission of motions and creates a new category of emergency motions. The next step in the amendment process is for the Delegate Assembly to consider the proposed amendment at its meeting during the January 2020 convention in Seattle. The official notice of the proposed amendment, including the text of the amendment, has now been posted on the Web site.

Nominations for the 2020 Forum Executive Committee Elections

When the executive committees of the MLA’s forums meet during the January 2020 convention in Seattle, they will take up the matter of nominations for the executive committee elections that will be held in fall 2020. 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 2020 forum executive committee elections by filling out a brief suggestion form. Suggestions received by 20 December 2019 will be forwarded to the executive committees in time for their convention meetings.

Comment on a Proposed Delegate Assembly Resolution

A resolution has been proposed for consideration by the 2020 Delegate Assembly. Members are invited to share their thoughts on both the wording and the substance of the resolution with the members of the Delegate Assembly Organizing Committee and the Executive Council. Comments on the resolution will be accepted until 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on 15 October. Signatures in support of the resolution (follow the link on the comment page) will be accepted until 12:00 midnight (EDT) on 1 October. If fewer than one hundred members signal their support by this deadline, comments on the resolution will no longer be accepted.

MLA Members Receive NCTE Leadership Awards

The Modern Language Association congratulates two MLA members who are among the winners of the 2019 National Council of Teachers of English Leadership Awards. The awards recognize outstanding contributions to the advancement of literacy, to the field of education, or to the NCTE.

James R. Squire Award

Kathleen Blake Yancey, Florida State University

This award is given by the executive committee in recognition of outstanding service, not only to the stature and development of the NCTE and the discipline it represents but also to the profession of education as a whole, internationally as well as nationally.

Distinguished Service Award

Earnest Morrell, University of Notre Dame

This award recognizes those who have exhibited valuable professional service to the profession, scholarly or academic distinction, distinctive use of the language, and excellence in teaching.

Contribute to an MLA Approaches Volume on Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl

The volume Approaches to Teaching Harriet Jacobs’s Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, edited by Lynn Domina, 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.

Contribute to an MLA Approaches Volume on Stoker’s Dracula

The volume Approaches to Teaching Stoker’s Dracula, edited by William Thomas McBride, 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.

Founders of Cave Canem Receive Phyllis Franklin Award

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.