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.

2016 Ratification Vote Now Under Way

At the 2016 convention the Delegate Assembly approved six amendments to the MLA constitution and one resolution. The assembly’s actions are not final, however, since they are subject to ratification by the MLA membership. Members are therefore encouraged to review this year’s ratification ballot and to exercise their right to vote. All members in good standing as of 18 April are eligible to vote. The online ballot is now available (member log-in required); requests for paper ballots must reach the coordinator of governance by Monday, 16 May. The deadline for receipt of ratification ballots is midnight (EDT) on 1 June.

New Handbook Launches

The eighth edition of the MLA Handbook, which debuted at the Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference and Bookfair, has received praise for its more streamlined approach to documentation. Created for a digital era in which publications migrate fluidly among different media, the new MLA style emphasizes the elements common to most works instead of publication format. Now, writers in all fields—from the sciences to the humanities—have the tools to intuitively document sources. As Kathleen Fitzpatrick, the MLA’s associate executive director and director of scholarly communication, told Inside Higher Ed, the new handbook “focuses on principles—not just on how to create a citation that is correct, but on the purposes of citation practice, as well as on strategies for evaluating sources.” It’s an approach that, according to Michael Greer, a lecturer in rhetoric and writing who is quoted in IHE, “is better aligned with instructors’ focus on process and critical thinking when teaching students the basics of writing with sources.” The change seeks to better support the fundamental goals of citation, as Fitzpatrick writes in the Los Angeles Review of Books: “to enable disparate pieces of scholarly writing to be connected with one another, and to communicate those connections reliably, simply, and clearly.”

 

Publication Prizes with 1 May Deadline

The MLA Committee on Honors and Awards invites authors and editors to compete for the association’s 2016 publication awards with a 1 May deadline. There are eleven competitions this year with a 1 May deadline, including for prizes that honor outstanding work in languages, literatures, interdisciplinary studies, and specific genres (e.g., translation, bibliography, scholarly edition). Information on the individual prizes, their deadlines, and the submission process is available online. You may also request detailed information on any MLA prize by contacting the office of programs (awards@mla.org).

Preliminary Program for the 2016 MLA International Symposium Available

The preliminary program is now available for Other Europes: Migrations, Translations, Transformations, the first in a series of MLA international symposia. Organized in collaboration with Heinrich Heine University, the conference will be held in Düsseldorf, Germany, from 23 to 25 June 2016.

Composed of nearly seventy sessions, featuring keynote talks, roundtables, traditional panel sessions, and workshops from a wide range of disciplines, the program includes panels in English, French, and German. Among those presenting are the MLA president, Kwame Anthony Appiah; the philosopher Susan Neiman; the artist and filmmaker Isaac Julien; and the writers Eva Hoffman and Yoko Tawada.

With hundreds of participants from across North and South America, Europe, and Asia, the symposium promises to be a stimulating and truly international event. To learn more or to register, please visit the symposium Web site.

Apply for an MLA Bibliography Fellowship by 1 April

The MLA International Bibliography is accepting applications for three-year field-bibliography fellowships. MLA field bibliographers examine scholarly materials and submit citations and indexing information for inclusion in the bibliography. Open to scholars of any level of seniority who are MLA members, the 2016 fellowships will run from 1 July 2016 to 30 June 2019. The MLA provides materials and training and waives registration fees for fellows attending training sessions at the MLA convention. On completion of the fellowship, fellows receive a $500 stipend and a certificate at the convention awards ceremony. Field bibliographers perform a valuable service for the profession and receive institutional recognition while deepening their knowledge of the field as well as their research skills.

For more information and to submit an application, visit the MLA Bibliography Fellowships Web page. Applications are due 1 April.

Comment on a Delegate Assembly Resolution

At its meeting on 9 January 2016 in Austin, the Delegate Assembly approved a resolution that the Executive Council has forwarded to the membership for a ratification vote. Before the vote is conducted, 2016 MLA members are invited to comment on the resolution on the MLA Web site (log-in required) until 5:00 p.m. (EDT) on 18 April.

Submit a Session for the 2017 Convention

If you’re planning a session for the 2017 MLA Annual Convention in Philadelphia, to be held 5–8 January, please visit the MLA Web site to access forms for submitting program copy and for proposing sessions. The deadline for all forms is 1 April. Special-session proposals and nonguaranteed-session proposals will be reviewed by the Program Committee at its meeting in May, and organizers will be informed of the committee’s decision by early June. Please note that all session participants must be MLA members by 7 April or have received a waiver of membership (applications for which are included with the program-copy forms). For more information about organizing or participating in a session, please visit “Planning a Convention Session” or write to convention@mla.org.

Contribute to a New MLA Volume

The volume Approaches to Teaching the Works of Karen Tei Yamashita, edited by Ruth Y. Hsu and Pamela Thoma, is now in development in the MLA Approaches to Teaching series. Instructors who have taught Karen Tei Yamashita’s works 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. Also in development, in the MLA Options for Teaching series, is the volume Teaching Beat Generation Literature, edited by Nancy M. Grace. To learn more about the volume and how to propose an essay, please visit the MLA Web site.

Stephen Greenblatt, Former President of the MLA, Receives Holberg Prize

The MLA congratulates Stephen Greenblatt, past president of the association and John Cogan University Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University, on being awarded the 2016 Holberg Prize—the largest international prize awarded annually to an outstanding researcher in the arts and humanities, social science, law, and theology. In awarding the prize to Greenblatt, Pratap Bhanu Mehta, chair of the Holberg Academic Committee, said, “Greenblatt’s work has brilliantly opened up new ways to think about the Renaissance and Shakespeare. In doing so he has also provided us a vocabulary through which we can approach the task of understanding our times and its history.” Greenblatt will receive the prize during a ceremony at the University of Bergen, Norway, on 6 June and says that he accepts the Holberg with gratitude as recognition of the critical importance of the humanities in our everyday existence. Previous winners of the Holberg Prize include Julia Kristeva, Jürgen Habermas, Manuel Castells, Bruno Latour, and Marina Warner. To learn more, please visit www.holbergprisen.no/en.