Posts Categorized: Column

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 »

It’s Time to Strengthen Your Programs

Originally published in the Spring 2016 MLA Newsletter Just over five years ago, the world of higher education was shaken by the news of the planned elimination of programs in several languages and in theater at the University at Albany, State University of New York. Stories about other programs at risk followed, as did outcries… Read more »

Where Have You Gone, Paul Simon? A Nation Turns to Languages Once More

Originally published in the Winter 2015 MLA Newsletter This past summer, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS) announced the formation of the Commission on Language Learning, “a national effort to examine the current state of U.S. language education, to project what the nation’s education needs will be in the future, and to offer… Read more »

Fast-Forward Forty Years: Launching the New Convention

Originally published in the Fall 2015 MLA Newsletter “Keep Austin Weird,” countless bumper stickers on cars in the city admonish. As I’m sure some MLA members know, “weird” derives from Old English “wyrd,” which denotes “fate” or “destiny.” So in the spirit of Austin’s unique character and the MLA’s efforts to support the future of… Read more »

#Ferguson2MLA: Had to Be There

Originally published in the Summer 2015 MLA Newsletter If you were at the MLA convention in Vancouver on 9 January, you participated in one of the most transformative uses of energy and space imaginable. I’ve attended annual meetings for nearly four decades, and I’ve never seen anything like it. I’m talking about the Ferguson to… Read more »