Dennis Looney to Join the MLA in 2014

The MLA is pleased to announce that Dennis Looney, professor in the Department of French and Italian Languages and Literatures at the University of Pittsburgh, will join the MLA staff as the director of programs and ADFL when Nelly Furman retires in January 2014. A scholar of Italian language and literature, Looney brings with him a decade of experience as a department chair. He has also served as assistant dean of humanities and as a member and president of the ADFL executive committee. We look forward to welcoming Dennis Looney, who is certain to build on the outstanding work done by Nelly Furman during her nearly ten years at the association.

Free MLA Job Information List to Launch This Month

The MLA Job Information List database will be available for searching on 13 September. Access to the database is free to all users. To search the list, users can log in with their MLA member credentials or create a nonmember log-in. The JIL database is updated weekly to make job listings available in a timely manner. Please visit the MLA Web site for more information about access to the JIL and for tips on searching.

Division and Discussion Group Conversations Moving to MLA Commons

Beginning 30 August, division and discussion group forums on the MLA Web site will be superseded by forums on MLA Commons, the association’s online network and scholarly communication platform for members. If you haven’t already visited your divisions’ or discussion groups’ areas on the Commons, we encourage you to log in and view your profile to see the groups you are already a member of. Click on Forum to start a conversation, respond to a topic, or post a notice about your convention session. If the group forum has been disabled by the group’s admin, please use the Feedback button on the right side of the group page to let us know.

Propose an Essay for an MLA Volume

Two new volumes in the Approaches series, one on Alison Bechdel’s Fun Home and one on the works of Gertrude Stein, are now in development. You are invited to complete one or both surveys about your teaching needs and practices and to submit essay proposals for these volumes here.

Special Sale on Approaches to Teaching World Literature Volumes

More than one hundred volumes in the Approaches to Teaching World Literature series are now available at a special discount. Through 30 September, all volumes in the series are available at a 25% discount (regularly 20% for MLA members). No code is necessary to receive the discount, which is available to MLA members and nonmembers and will be automatically calculated at checkout.

New MLA Publication Prize

The MLA Committee on Honors and Awards invites authors and editors to compete for the inaugural Modern Language Association Prize in Native American Literatures, Cultures, and Languages. Established in 2012, the prize is awarded to a member of the association for an outstanding scholarly work in the field of Native American literatures, cultures, and languages. Works published in 2012 or 2013 are eligible for the first prize, to be awarded in 2014. Detailed information is available online or can be requested by contacting the office of programs (

Executive Council Statement Opposing State Interference in College Curricula

In response to the recently released e-mail messages of the former Indiana governor Mitchell E. Daniels, the MLA’s Executive Council has approved a statement condemning the interference of state officials in college curricula. The statement affirms the importance of teachers’ ability to choose their own reading assignments and the principle that “free inquiry is the cornerstone of democratic education.”

MLA Receives Planning Grant for Next Phase of MLA Commons

The MLA is pleased to announce that it has been awarded a $40,500 planning grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to begin the second phase of development of the association’s scholarly communication platform, MLA Commons. With support from the Mellon Foundation, the MLA will lead in the creation of Humanities Commons, a federated network of sites that will link the MLA with other humanities organizations to further collaborative interdisciplinary research. During the planning phase, the MLA will meet with other organizations to develop a governance structure and support model and will work with the Commons in a Box team from the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY), and with developers to produce technical specifications for the new network.

PMLA Special Topic: Literature in the World

The PMLA Editorial Board invites essays on literature in a diverse and multilingual world. The special issue will seek to provide a critical reflection on the diversity of both dominant and less-taught languages and of their spheres of use, to engage with the vernacular and the indigenous as critical categories, and to consider conceptual or thematic structures that invite literary studies to move outside the rubrics of nation, state, and national language. The coordinator of the special topic is Simon Gikandi (Princeton Univ.). The deadline for submissions is 3 November 2014. For a complete description of the topic and for submission guidelines, please see the MLA Web site.