Friday, May 28, 2010

Letter to the MAA

by J J Cohen

I have emailed the following letter and link to the officers and councillors of the Medieval Academy of America. You may find a complete list of the MAA governance structure here.

You may be interested to know that the bylaws of the Academy state that the annual meeting "shall be held at a time and place to be fixed by the Executive Committee of the Council." The Executive Committee currently consists of Peggy Brown, Alice-Mary Talbot, Maryanne Kowaleski, Connie Berman, Peggy McCracken, Brian Patrick McGuire, and Danuta Shanzer.

Thank you, everyone, who assisted with this effort. I know that not everyone agrees with the idea of potentially moving the meeting. The discussion post has had several comments about holding protests while convening in Arizona, and I've received a few emails on that subject as well. I realize that the issue is not without complexity. For me, though, discussing the Middle Ages in the air conditioned comfort of an Arizona hotel, even with a protest, is insupportable. I am a believer in protests, but would prefer to see ours unfold via relocation, and in a situation where it doesn't otherwise appear that we are conducting business as usual.

The letter, of course, does not say this; and I don't know that every signatory would go so far as me. The letter simply urges that the location of the meeting be given serious scrutiny. I have faith in our elected MAA leadership; I trust that this scrutiny will happen.

Dear President Elizabeth A. R. Brown, First Vice-President Alice-Mary Talbot, Second Vice-President Maryanne Kowaleski, and Councillors Constance Berman, Rita Copeland, William Diebold, Robin Fleming, Bruce Holsinger, Peggy McCracken, Brian Patrick McGuire, Mark Meyerson, Danuta Shanzer, Carol Symes, Nancy L. Wicker and Nancy Wu,

I am writing on behalf of the 142 medievalists who have, to date, signed an open letter to the Medieval Academy of America. In light of Arizona's SB 1070, we urge the MAA leadership to consider moving the April 2011 annual meeting from the state, and to make this decision (which many of us consider ethical) without regard to financial loss. Our letter reads:

We the undersigned condemn the immigration bill signed into law by Arizona governor Jan Brewer as racist and inhumane. We urge its immediate repeal. To demonstrate our support to those in Arizona whom the law targets, we request that the Medieval Academy of America seriously consider not holding its planned annual meeting of April 2011 in the state if the law remains in place, even if this means canceling the meeting and incurring a financial loss. We further urge that a theme on "Immigration and Tolerance" be added to the meeting's program no matter where it is held in order to place these recent events in a longer historical perspective.
You may find the complete text and the signatures here:

We thank you for your attention to this issue, which is of great importance to us.

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