Quoted in a recent New York Times article, the MLA executive director, Rosemary G. Feal, expresses concern about the devaluing of the humanities by legislators. Documenting challenges to humanities funding worldwide, the article also cites Michael Bérubé, a former MLA president, who argues that disputed claims about the decline of humanities enrollments are being used by opponents “to further delegitimize humanities research.”
Planning to attend the 2014 MLA Annual Convention in Chicago? Registration rates for the convention will increase by up to $30 after 3 December. Register now to avoid paying the higher fee for late registration. After you have registered, you can book your hotel reservation, sign up for MLA cultural excursions, and make travel arrangements at discounted prices.
Searching for convention sessions related to a particular topic? A new MLA Commons page features a compilation of lists of sessions and events at the 2014 MLA Annual Convention in Chicago that have been provided by MLA members and committees, as well as the MLA staff. So far, the page includes lists that may be of interest to job seekers, interviewers, and graduate students, as well as sessions on topics related to comics studies, alternative academic careers, and the digital humanities. We welcome additional submissions for inclusion.
When the Executive Council meets in February 2014, it will make appointments to sixteen standing committees of the association. Through 3 February, these committees and the outgoing committee members will be listed on the committee suggestion page. To suggest yourself or another member of the association, respond to the three prompts on the suggestion page and then complete the short information form. Please note that suggestions for appointments are not carried forward from year to year; they are compiled anew for each appointment cycle.
Five essays from the Committee on the Literatures of People of Color in the United States and Canada have been added to Profession, the association’s online open-access journal. This special section addresses the data presented in the MLA report Data on Humanities Doctorate Recipients and Faculty Members by Race and Ethnicity and, in the words of the committee’s former cochairs, attempts to “bring into focus the faces of those composing the report’s data.” Look for additional pieces on the site in December. Profession now accepts submissions on a rolling basis, and, starting in 2014, articles will be published throughout the year.
Less than one month remains for 2013 members to cast their votes on two ballots: the election ballot, which presents the contests for second vice president, the Executive Council, the Delegate Assembly, and the division and discussion group executive committees, and the ratification ballot, which covers the constitutional amendment and the two resolutions that the Delegate Assembly approved at its January 2013 meeting. If you are a 2013 member, you may vote online until midnight (EST) on Tuesday, 10 December. Please don’t delay—vote now.
Have you ever wondered how to become more involved in association activities? Would you like to expand field boundaries by creating programming for the annual convention? Do you have ideas for developing MLA Commons as a tool for scholarly and professional collaboration? If so, please consider serving on a division or discussion group executive committee. During the upcoming convention, the executive committees of the MLA’s divisions and discussion groups will take up the matter of nominations for the executive committee elections that will be held in the fall of 2014. Each executive committee must place at least two names in nomination for the regular committee election; at least one of these names must be selected from a list of suggestions put forward by the membership. To suggest yourself for executive committee service or to recommend a colleague, please fill out a brief online suggestion form by 23 December.
The deadline to add your comments to the draft proposal for a new MLA groups structure is 20 November. Member feedback is invaluable for the working group that created the draft, for the Program Committee, and for the Executive Council. Log in to help shape the revised proposal that will be presented for further debate at the Open Hearing on the Future of the MLA Divisions and Discussion Groups and the meeting of the MLA Delegate Assembly in Chicago.
The MLA Executive Council has issued a response to Senator Jeff Sessions, who, in a recent letter to the National Endowment for the Humanities, challenged the NEH for funding programs that address “indefinite” questions or that “seemingly use Federal funds on behalf of just one religion.” The council statement affirms the association’s “trust in the NEH’s rigorous peer-review process and in the agency’s creative promotion of cultural dialogue.” The programs targeted by Sessions, the statement asserts, promote dialogue and the values of education in a democracy. Read the full statement and learn more about other Executive Council actions on the MLA Web site.
The House Appropriations Committee is about to consider a proposed forty-nine percent cut to the National Endowment for the Humanities. The MLA and the National Humanities Alliance encourage you to contact your elected representatives to express support for the NEH and its important work on behalf of the humanities.