Aging Studies @ MLA

, Malcolm A. Kline, 1 Comment

English professors, it seems, want to teach anything but English. Hence the plethora of studies explored at the Modern Language Association’s (MLA) annual convention in Chicago this January: gender studies, disability studies and aging studies.

MLA members are putting out a new journal focused on the latter. Really, if they wanted to study the deterioration that comes with advanced age, the 127-year-old MLA might want to do a self-appraisal. Reacting to recent media coverage of aging, E. Ann Kaplan asked the panel, “Was the concern over age a smokescreen for what humans, largely white corporations, are doing to the planet?”

“E. Ann Kaplan is a Distinguished Professor of English and Cultural Analysis and Theory at Stony Brook University, where she also founded and directs The Humanities Institute,” according to her university website page.  “She is Past President of the Society for Cinema and Media Studies. Kaplan has written many books and articles on topics in cultural studies, media, and women’s studies, from diverse theoretical perspectives including psychoanalysis, feminism, postmodernism, and post-colonialism.”

At the MLA, she told the crowd that, “We need alternative cultural lenses to view climate change.”  One wonders if she noticed the below average, and below-freezing, temperatures  on Long Island when she got home.