2018 MLA Elections

The Nominating Committee has arranged the 2018 elections for second vice president and the Executive Council, and the Elections Committee has arranged thirty-five contests for professional-issues and regional seats in the Delegate Assembly. Full election and candidate information will be available in the fall, with the election ballot.

2018 Ratification Ballot Awaits Members’ Attention

Final adoption of the constitutional amendments and the resolution approved by the Delegate Assembly at its January 2018 meeting depends on the vote of the membership. The online ratification ballot will be available at the MLA Web site only until the end of the month. All members in good standing as of 17 April who were also members on 6 January, the date of the Delegate Assembly meeting, are urged to vote as soon as possible. The deadline for voting is midnight (EDT) on Friday, 1 June.

Contribute to an MLA Approaches Volume on Teaching Homer’s Odyssey

The volume Approaches to Teaching Homer’s Odyssey, edited by Lillian E. Doherty, 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.

MLA Members Named Fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

The Modern Language Association congratulates the five MLA members who were named 2018 fellows of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in recognition of their contributions to literary criticism and literature.

  • Lauren Berlant, University of Chicago
  • Bill Brown, University of Chicago
  • Simon E. Gikandi, Princeton University
  • Viet Thanh Nguyen, University of Southern California
  • Diana Taylor, New York University

MLA Members Receive 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities Grants

The Modern Language Association congratulates the nine MLA members who were awarded National Endowment for the Humanities grants in April 2018. Their various projects include an interdisciplinary undergraduate course on war led by student veterans and a study on the literary cultural connections between the Philippines and Latin America.

Dialogues on the Experience of War

Rosemary Johnsen, co–project director, Governors State University
Project Title: War, Memory, and Commemoration in the Humanities
Project Description: The training of five student veterans to lead discussions for an interdisciplinary undergraduate course on war and its remembrance and four off-campus public discussions in the region.

Humanities Connections Planning Grants

Amy Woodbury Tease, Norwich University
Project Title: Developing an Interdisciplinary Curriculum to Foster Citizen Scholars Project Description: Planning for five interdisciplinary courses on the theme of resilience, taught by faculty members in humanities and nonhumanities fields.

Summer Stipends

Anne Dwyer, Pomona College
Project Title: Literary Theorist Viktor Shklovsky (1893–1984) and the Arts Policies of the Soviet Union
Project Description: Research and writing leading to publication of a book on the Russian literary theorist Victor Shklovsky.

Patrick Erben, State University of West Georgia
Project Title: German Pietism and American Literature of the Late Eighteenth and Nineteenth Centuries
Project Description: Research leading to an article and book on the influence of German Pietism on late-eighteenth- and nineteenth-century American literature.

Sarah Gardner, Mercer University
Project Title: Reading during the American Civil War, 1861–65
Project Description: Research and writing of a book on reading practices and literary interpretation during the American Civil War.

Kathleen Newman, University of Iowa
Project Title: Argentine Early Sound Film, 1933–35
Project Description: Research and writing leading to publication of a book about Argentinian film from 1910 to 1935.

Paula Park, Wesleyan University
Project Title: Latin America in the Philippines: Rethinking Intercoloniality across the Hispanic Pacific (1898–1964)
Project Description: Research and writing of a book-length study on literary and cultural connections between the Philippines and Latin America.

Nathan Suhr-Sytsma, Emory University
Project Title: The Role of Poetry in Contemporary African Literary Communities
Project Description: Research and preparation of an article on the role of poetry in African literary communities.

Elizabeth Wright, University of Georgia
Project Title: Theater and the Slave Trade in Fifteenth- and Sixteenth-Century Spain and Portugal
Project Description: Research for a book-length study of relationships between the Atlantic slave trade and the emergence of professional theater in early modern Spain and Portugal.

MLA Receives Grant to Support Archiving Activities

The MLA has received grant funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources to support an ongoing project, The Hidden History of Modern Language: Revitalizing the Archives of the Modern Language Association. The MLA will engage in a five-month project processing and cataloging the General Chronological Series, dramatically improving the lifespan of, accessibility to, and intellectual control over the materials. The series comprises a diverse and historically rich collection of modern language history, chronicling such topics as the post–World War I ban on speaking and teaching German, the effects of the Vietnam War on academia, and member backlash against the Helms Amendment. Barbara Chen, the director of bibliographic information services and editor of the MLA International Bibliography, will serve as project director; Liza Young, the MLA’s archivist, will serve as grant administrator.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this collection do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

We Want Your Recipes!

Have a delicious recipe with a literary tie-in? We’re seeking literary-themed recipes for the MLA’s first cookbook. Proceeds from the cookbook, which will be sold at the 2019 convention in Chicago, will support the MLA’s advocacy and professional development programs. To submit your recipe, e-mail achang@mla.org by 15 May.

We welcome recipes for appetizers, main and side dishes, desserts, and cocktails. Each submission should include a brief description (maximum 100 words) of the recipe’s connection to an author or a work of literature, an ingredients list, and instructions. If you have a mouthwatering photo of your dish, send it to us as a high-resolution JPEG or TIFF (300 dpi or higher). We’ll notify you about the status of your submission by 1 June. And keep an eye out for the cookbook at MLA PubCentral in Chicago!

MLA Members Receive 2018 Guggenheim Award

Congratulations to the six MLA members among the winners of the Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowships announced in April 2018. The projects recognized include a study of structural ontology, early-nineteenth-century female literary celebrities, the social upheaval and transformation in early-twentieth-century emergent black ghettos, medieval text technologies, and English translations of two Argentine novels.


Esther Allen, Baruch College, City University of New York
Field of Study: Translation

Edward Dimendberg, University of California, Irvine
Field of Study: Architecture, Planning, and Design

Saidiya Hartman, Columbia University
Field of Study: Intellectual and Cultural History

Eleanor Kaufman, University of California, Los Angeles
Field of Study: European and Latin American Literature

Devoney Looser, Arizona State University
Field of Study: English Literature

Michelle R. Warren, Dartmouth College
Field of Study: Medieval and Renaissance Literature

MLA Opposes Cuts to Academic Programs in Wisconsin

The MLA and twenty-two other scholarly associations have issued a joint statement urging the University of Wisconsin, Stevens Point, administration to reconsider proposals to eliminate key humanities and social science majors. These programs are critical to preparing students for the full range of careers they are likely to experience in their working lifetimes. We encourage you to read the full statement on the MLA Web site.

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.