In a new post on the From the President blog, Roland Greene, 2015–16 MLA president, discusses where the MLA is today and where it’s going. If you’re new to the association or want to catch up on some of its recent initiatives, we encourage you to visit the blog to learn more about the MLA’s work and resources. From ongoing advocacy, publishing, and research to new campaigns to find out how the MLA can best serve you, the association is striving to work on behalf of its members and the fields it serves. We hope you’ll make use of the MLA’s many resources and join us in our efforts to advocate on behalf of the profession and the humanities more broadly.
In the past week, more than six hundred faculty members have joined in the MLA Action for Allies. Launched by the MLA Executive Council and the Committee on Contingent Labor in the Profession in conjunction with National Adjunct Walkout Day, the campaign calls on tenure-line faculty members to sign up as allies and to start discussions in their departments, with contingent faculty members participating, about how to improve adjunct working conditions. To join them, visit the site and pledge your support. To read quotes from those who’ve already taken the pledge, view tweets from Rosemary G. Feal on Storify.
It’s not too late to post a call for papers for the 2016 MLA Annual Convention. You can still submit calls for papers for the Austin convention (7–10 January 2016) through 28 February. In anticipation of the new forum structure, due to be implemented for the 2016 convention, divisions and discussion groups appear in the calls for papers as “forums.” (A complete list of forums is available on the Executive Council blog.) A call for papers is not a session proposal but a way to solicit paper submissions for creating a session proposal. Proposal forms for the 2016 convention will be available by early March and must be completed by 1 April; we therefore recommend that you ask people to respond to your call for papers by 15 March or earlier. Please note that, as the session organizer, you are responsible for acknowledging all responses to your call for papers.
You may also search or browse existing calls for papers. Note that all participants in convention sessions must be MLA members by 7 April, and potential participants should review other guidelines for the MLA convention before responding to calls for papers.
The MLA Executive Council and the Committee on Contingent Labor in the Profession have launched a new site, MLA Action for Allies, where you can show your support for adjunct faculty members and find resources for starting discussions in your department about the use of contingent faculty. We call on all faculty members and administrators to participate in the MLA action by signing up as an ally, completing a series of questions to evaluate the use of contingent faculty members in your department, discussing the answers to these questions with your colleagues, and reporting back about this conversation to help others.
The Spring issue of the MLA Newsletter is now available online. Included in this issue are articles on the results of the 2014 elections and the winners of MLA prizes, a president’s column on the MLA as a scholarly association and an advocacy association, and an editor’s column about tracking the career paths of recent PhDs.
The MLA is pleased to announce the creation of the office of information systems. This new office is composed of the former information technology and production departments and will work to strengthen electronic projects now under way and to help develop projects that the association envisions for the future. Joining the MLA to lead the new unit is Micki Kaufman, who is currently completing her PhD in history at the CUNY Graduate Center. Kaufman has been project manager at the CUNY Academic Commons since 2011 and has worked on technical projects for the Gotham Center and the Blinken Institute for European Study in addition to managing technical projects for companies outside higher education.
The results of a comprehensive MLA survey of language course enrollments in United States colleges and universities are now available on the MLA Web site. According to Enrollments in Languages Other Than English in United States Institutions of Higher Education, Fall 2013, while aggregate enrollments in languages other than English have decreased since the MLA’s last survey in 2009, several languages saw increasing enrollments, and particularly growth in enrollments in advanced language classes. View the full report.
Roland Greene, the 2015–16 MLA president, has chosen Literature and Its Publics: Past, Present, and Future as the presidential theme for the MLA Annual Convention in Austin. Who is the public for literature? This question is foundational to the work MLA members do and to the state of our discipline and profession. The theme invites members to consider the public face of all of our objects of attention—not only literature and other kinds of texts but film, digital media, and rhetoric—and to consider our indispensable role in bringing texts and their audiences together. How is our work as teachers, historians, editors, and critics—above all, as interpreters—a public act? Sessions might reflect on the current public status of literature and other kinds of texts in our society; address the nature of public reception according to period, genre, author, or otherwise; or imagine different futures. Read more about Literature and Its Publics in a letter from Roland Greene. To solicit contributions for a convention session that engages with this theme, you may post a call for papers on the MLA Web site by 28 February 2015. Session proposal forms for the 2016 convention will be available online by early March.
The MLA Committee on Honors and Awards invites authors and editors to compete for the association’s publication awards. In addition to the James Russell Lowell Prize, which has a 1 March deadline, there are seven annual and sixteen biennial MLA prizes that honor outstanding work in languages, literatures, and interdisciplinary studies and in specific genres (e.g., translation, bibliography, scholarly edition). Information on the individual prizes, their deadlines, and how to submit an entry is available online. You may also request detailed information on any MLA prize by contacting the office of programs (email@example.com).