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.