Michael Holquist, Former President of the MLA, 1935–2016

The MLA mourns the recent passing of Michael Holquist, who was president of the MLA in 2007. An accomplished scholar, translator, and editor, Holquist published on a range of subjects from utopian fiction to Dostoevsky but was perhaps best known for his scholarship on the work of Mikhail Bakhtin.  After tenures in the Slavic departments of Yale University, the University of Texas, and Indiana University, Holquist returned to Yale, where he taught in the comparative literature department from 1986 to 2004. He served on the working group that produced the MLA Report to the Teagle Foundation on the Undergraduate Major in Language and Literature and was a founding member and chair of the MLA Radio Committee, which created programming to bring the work of MLA members to a wider audience. Most recently, as a member of the MLA’s Working Group on K–16 Alliances, he brought his knowledge of texts and his teaching experience to bear on the question of incorporating literature into the Common Core State Standards Initiative.

Contribute to an MLA Approaches Volume on Teaching The Romance of the Rose

The volume Approaches to Teaching The Romance of the Rose, edited by Daisy Delogu and Anne-Hélène Miller, 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 a New MLA Volume

You are invited to submit essay proposals for a new nonseries volume in development, Writing Changes, edited by Pegeen Reichert Powell. This collection will take as a starting point the multimodal turn in composition studies. The essays will address the changing role of writing in the field of composition.

Results of 2016 Ratification Vote

Voting on the 2016 ratification ballot concluded at midnight (EDT) on 1 June. Members ratified the 2016 Delegate Assembly’s approval of six constitutional amendments to article 10, which deals with the composition and election of the assembly. Support for the amendments ranged from 89% to 95% of the members who voted in that section of the ballot. The amendments have been incorporated into the text of the constitution on the MLA Web site.

Resolution 2016-1, which called on the MLA to “support faculty members and students who challenge Islamophobic rhetoric and the increased militarism, xenophobia, and racism associated with the upsurge in Islamophobia,” was not ratified by the membership and therefore does not represent a position taken by the MLA. Resolutions forwarded to the membership must be ratified by a majority vote in which the number of those voting for ratification equals at least 10% of the association’s membership. This year 2,149 votes were required for ratification. There were 1,279 votes in favor of ratification and 410 votes against ratification. The resolution fell short of ratification by 870 votes. [Note: The MLA Statement on Islamophobia, approved by the Executive Council in December 2015, addresses the same subject as the resolution.]


New Digital Pedagogy Essays Available for Open Review

The editors of Digital Pedagogy in the Humanities: Concepts, Models, and Experiments, Rebecca Frost Davis, Matthew K. Gold, Katherine D. Harris, and Jentery Sayers, invite you to participate in the open peer-review process of the anthology’s fourth set of curated keywords by 1 July 2016. Each entry in the collection focuses on a keyword in the practice of digital pegagogy (ranging from “access” to “history” to “mapping”) and includes pedagogical artifacts, such as syllabi, exercises, lesson plans, and student work. New keywords will be added in batches throughout 2016, and fifty keywords will be included in the final project.

Final Program for the 2016 International Symposium Available

The final program for the first MLA International Symposium is now available on the symposium Web site. The program is composed of sixty-eight panels, roundtables, and plenaries organized around the theme Other Europes: Migrations, Translations, Transformations. It features presentations in English, French, German, and Spanish and includes participants from over thirty countries across North and South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

The symposium, to be held at Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf, Germany, will begin on Thursday, 23 June, with discussions on borders and cosmopolitanism with Françoise Lionnet, Roland Greene, and K. Anthony Appiah, and will conclude on Saturday, 25 June, with a plenary on European “Dreams and Nightmares.”

2016 Ratification Ballot Awaits Members’ Attention

Final adoption of the constitutional amendments and the resolution approved by the Delegate Assembly at its January 2016 meeting depends on the vote of the membership. The online ballot is now available on the MLA Web site. Paper ballots can be requested until 16 May. The deadline for voting is midnight (EDT) on Wednesday, 1 June. All members in good standing as of 18 April are strongly encouraged to vote.

Executive Director Search Begun

Following Rosemary G. Feal’s announcement that she plans to step down as executive director of the MLA in summer 2017, the Executive Council has appointed a search committee and retained a search firm to find her successor. The nine-member search committee, representing MLA members’ diverse fields and forms of employment, is working with the search firm Isaacson, Miller to develop a position profile, which will be made available on the MLA Web site. MLA members are invited to submit nominations or applications directly to Isaacson, Miller on the site dedicated to the search. Read the full announcement on the Executive Council blog.