Wednesday, January 07, 2015

Your New Year's Resolutions for #MLA15?


It's January, which means I (like many other academics) am wending my way toward the MLA (Modern Language Association) Convention. I'm very much looking forward to Vancouver this year. I'll be responding to three great papers in Disability and the Arthurian World (session 402, organized by Alex Mueller) and also taking part in a roundtable (session 687) on "Beyond Monolingualism?" (I'm the only medievalist in this session, organized by Avishek Ganguly with Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak as respondent).

If you're heading to MLA and are in a position to actually experience the event as a conference, why not resolve to make some changes in your conference-attending habits this year? Here are some example resolutions for MLA this year.
  • Make an effort to include a variety of voices when moderating a discussion.
  • Avoid "all superstar" sessions.
  • Explore sessions outside of medieval studies and/or outside my subfield/speciality/academic discipline.
  • Use social media mindfully (this includes attributing speakers and using session hashtags on twitter).
  • When meeting a new person, I will speak to their face, not their (affiliation-bearing) name tag.
  • Rehearse my presentation and keep it under the time limit.

What resolutions are you making this year?


Eileen Joy said...

Wow, Jonathan, your post is so prescient. On the plane to Vancouver this morning, I was putting together my calendar of events and making some similar resolutions --

1. attend at least one session devoted to adjunct faculty

2. attend one political or one sub-/anti-conference event

3. spread out sessions attended between: DH, medieval, queer, eco, poco, and labor issues-focused.

4. Don't look at people's name-tags? I stopped doing that a long time ago.

5. Also, following what you said, simply: meet new people.

6. I also toyed with going to NO medieval sessions, but will be attending 2 [it was a tough choice because I think the medieval sessions this year are some of the best I've ever seen, although they are also stocked perhaps a bit too heavily with those "superstars" you mention -- speaking of which, how will you avoid Spivak at your own session? -- hahahahahaha].

7. Take some time to enjoy the city you are in.

8. Support students on the market: buy them coffee, buy them lunch, buy them drinks, etc. Provide warm glance, smiles, etc. to all nervous-looking people in elevators. Smiles may seem stupid, but in fact they are one of the superpowers in the world. Really look at people. Same as smiles.

9. And yes, HAVE FUN. BABEL Lounging, indeed. Speaking of which, all who read this are invited to the 1927 Lobby Lounge at the Rosewood Hotel from 10:00pm onward on Saturday night to "babel/babble" with us.

Jonathan Hsy said...

Eileen: We're totally on the same wavelength! CREEPY COOL. See you soon!