Posts Categorized: Column

Making the Case for Our Disciplines

Originally published in the Summer 2019 MLA Newsletter A big part of what the MLA executive director does is argue and advocate for the value of studying what we study. When I am invited to campuses, I work with faculty members on ways to help their students understand and appreciate the full range of skills, values,… Read more »

Translating Scholarship

Greek urn

Emily Wilson is professor of classical studies and graduate chair of the program in comparative literature and literary theory at the University of Pennsylvania. We asked her about her approach to translating The Odyssey and about her popular @EmilyRCWilson Twitter threads. A condensed version of this interview was published in the Summer 2019 MLA Newsletter.  Paula… Read more »

You Had to Be There

Shawn Christian at MLA convention session

Originally published in the Spring 2019 MLA Newsletter You have a lot of calls on your time and on your travel funding (if, indeed, you have any travel funding). That’s why we’re packing the MLA Annual Convention with things you can’t get anywhere else—to make it worth your while to come, learn, and connect. We’re increasing… Read more »

We Are All Public Humanists

Originally published in the Winter 2017 MLA Newsletter In the earliest days of the Modern Language Association, the focus of the convention and the association’s publications was members’ scholarly research. That remains, of course, at the heart of what we do. Advanced study in language, literature, writing, and cultural studies links our members across disciplinary specialization,… Read more »

Get Engaged at MLA 2018

Originally published in the Fall 2017 MLA Newsletter We’re excited to welcome the convention back to the MLA’s home city, New York, in 2018. And I’m especially pleased that my first convention as executive director will bring thousands of members to my new home, a city with a vibrant history of literature, art, theater, and… Read more »

“¡Miel, éste es el Trópico!”: Survival American

Originally published in the Summer 2017 MLA Newsletter As I stood near the Hotel Inglaterra on the Parque Central in Havana in early March, I was consciously occupying Guillermo Cabrera Infante’s vantage point as represented by the cover image of La Habana para un infante difunto. It shows a photographer reclining against a lamppost with… Read more »

Advocacy in 2017: What We Can Do Together

Originally published in the Spring 2017 MLA Newsletter I write these words ten days after the forty-fifth president of the United States was inaugurated. The landscape for MLA advocacy has already registered the seismic shifts that the new administration set off when it issued executive orders to construct a physical wall between the United States… Read more »

Your MLA, 2020 and Beyond

Originally published in the Winter 2016 MLA Newsletter The Executive Council has put a great deal of thought into the future of the association as we approach a transition to a new executive director. As many of you know, the executive director search committee expects to conclude its work by the end of the academic… Read more »

Your Professional Development: To Be Continued (at the Convention)

Originally published in the Fall 2016 MLA Newsletter As most of you already know, more and more departments are shifting their in-person first-round interviews for academic positions to videoconferencing platforms such as Skype.1 Yet candidates may still envision the MLA convention primarily as a job market, during which they interview, if they are fortunate, and… Read more »

Learning from the Pros in the Connected Academics Proseminar

Originally published in the Summer 2016 MLA Newsletter The more of these amazing people I meet, the more I’m convinced that graduate students with a strong alt-ac plan are exactly the sorts of colleagues you want to hire in your departments. (Always assuming, of course, that a great nonprofit or library hasn’t swooped them up… Read more »