Louis Kampf, Former President of the MLA, 1929–2020

Louis Kampf at the 1968 MLA Annual Convention

The Modern Language Association mourns the passing of former MLA president Louis Kampf, distinguished professor emeritus of comparative literature and gender and women’s studies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Kampf is the author of On Modernism: The Prospects for Literature and Freedom (1967) and the coeditor, with Paul Lauter, of The Politics of Literature: Dissenting Essays on the Teaching of Literature (1972). His essays appeared in The Nation, Radical Teacher, PMLA, and other scholarly journals. Kampf served on the editorial boards of the Feminist Press, Signs: A Journal of Women and Culture, and Radical Teacher. He also served on the MLA Program Committee and the Committee on Resolutions. Kampf was a political activist and was the director of RESIST, a peace and social justice organization formed in 1967 in support of draft resistance to the Vietnam War. The Louis Kampf Writing Prize in Women’s and Gender Studies, now in its twenty-fifth year, was started at MIT in 1995–96 to honor Kampf and to reward high-quality undergraduate writing in women’s and gender studies. Kampf was elected second vice president of the MLA for 1969, which led to his presidency in 1971.