New MLA Report Documents Trends in Language Study

The results of the MLA’s latest census of language course enrollments in colleges and universities in the United States are now available in a preliminary report on the MLA Web site. According to Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Summer 2016 and Fall 2016: Preliminary Report, aggregated fall enrollments in languages other than English decreased by 9.2% since the MLA’s last census in 2013. Of the fifteen most commonly taught languages, only Korean and Japanese saw growth between 2013 and 2016, showing increases of 13.7% and 3.1%, respectively. Spanish still leads as the most commonly studied language. In 2016 more than half of all language enrollments were in Spanish, and Spanish programs reported more than 710,000 enrollments.

While the report—which assembles responses by a total of 2,547 institutions, including two- and four-year colleges, universities, and seminaries—presents a comprehensive picture of language enrollments, it does not take up the questions of why enrollments are down and to what extent the recent decline is due to program cuts. A longer, in-depth analysis of the findings from the 2016 census will be published this summer. To get detailed information on enrollments, view the MLA’s searchable online database of language enrollment data since 1958.

Apply for an MLA Bibliography Fellowship by 1 April

The MLA International Bibliography is accepting applications for three-year field-bibliography fellowships. MLA field bibliographers examine scholarly materials and submit citations and indexing information for inclusion in the bibliography. Open to scholars of any level of seniority who are MLA members, the 2018 fellowships will run from 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2021.

The MLA provides materials and training and waives registration fees for fellows attending training sessions at the MLA convention. On completion of the fellowship, fellows receive a $500 stipend and a certificate at the convention awards ceremony. Field bibliographers perform a valuable service for the profession and receive institutional recognition while deepening their knowledge of the field as well as their research skills.

For more information and to submit an application, visit the MLA Bibliography Fellowships Web page. Applications are due 1 April 2018.

MLA Bibliography Expands Its Online Course Offerings

In January 2018, the MLA International Bibliography launches four new subject area modules to accompany its online course Understanding the MLA International Bibliography. Each module will focus on searching the bibliography for scholarly publications in one of four disciplines: folklore, linguistics, film (including television, video, and other broadcast media), and rhetoric and composition. Students who complete the new modules can earn badges in each of these four subject areas. Visit the course site to access the main course and new modules.

The online course and its modules are free and available for reuse and modification under a Creative Commons license. The course generally takes ninety minutes to complete; each of the additional modules takes about twenty minutes to complete. For additional information, please contact bibcourse@mla.org.

Contribute to an MLA Approaches Volume on Teaching the Works of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis

The volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of Joaquim Maria Machado de Assis, edited by Pedro Meira Monteiro and Hélio de Seixas Guimarães, is now in development in the MLA series Approaches to Teaching World Literature. Instructors who have taught these works 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.

 

Competing for 2018 Publication Prizes

The MLA Committee on Honors and Awards invites authors and editors to compete for the association’s 2018 publication awards. In addition to the James Russell Lowell Prize and the MLA Prize for a First Book, which have a 1 March deadline, eleven annual and fourteen biennial MLA prizes honor outstanding work in languages, literatures, interdisciplinary studies, and specific genres (e.g., translation, bibliography, scholarly edition). Information on the individual prizes, their deadlines, and the submission process is available online. You may also request detailed information on any MLA prize by contacting the office of programs (awards@mla.org).

Nominations for Prize Committees

Would you like to help choose the winner of an MLA publication prize? The Committee on Honors and Awards makes appointments to the prize selection committees every spring. Members who would like to suggest themselves or other members for appointment to particular prize committees may do so by 28 February by sending a message to awards@mla.org. The following information should be included: name of the committee, name of the member suggested, affiliation, department, rank, field(s) of specialization, a short listing of professional activities and of books and major articles published, and a brief statement of the person’s qualifications. Members should consult the list of publication prize committees to determine expected vacancies. Please note that suggestions for appointments are not carried forward from year to year; they are compiled anew for each appointment cycle.

Contribute to a New MLA Volume

You are invited to submit essay proposals for a new nonseries volume in development, Reframing Nineteenth-Century American Rhetorics, edited by Patricia Bizzell and Lisa Zimmerelli. The essays in this volume will reflect recent scholarship on the rhetorics of nineteenth-century America that has challenged and reconceptualized previous assumptions and analyses, extending rhetorical analysis into new venues and new media. Proposals must be submitted to the editors by 1 March 2018.

MLA Members Receive 2017 NEH Awards

Congratulations to the twenty-two MLA members among the winners of National Endowment for the Humanities awards announced in December 2017. The projects recognized include a study of collaborative authorship in early African American and Native American literature, the revitalization of a database on eighteenth-century theater and popular culture in London, an oral history program for high school students, and many others. (more…)

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.

 

 

Honoring MLA Bibliography Fellows

The MLA International Bibliography congratulates the 2017 Fellowship Award recipients:

  • Joshua E. Finnell, head of research and instruction, associate professor, Colgate​ University
  • Marla Harris, independent scholar
  • Michael F. Winter, humanities librarian, University of California, Davis

The fellows, who have contributed to the bibliography from 2014 to 2017, will be awarded a certificate of accomplishment and a check for $500 during the 2018 MLA Awards Ceremony, which takes place at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, 6 January, in the New York Hilton (West Ballroom, third floor). We offer our sincere thanks and appreciation for their service to the MLA International Bibliography!