Superficial Diversity of MLA

, Malcolm A. Kline, Leave a comment

When you get right down to it, the institutions that cry the loudest for diversity, particularly in academia, aren’t that diverse themselves. “The pro-Israel campus groups Hillel International and the Israel on Campus Coalition (ICC) have been denied the right to present a discussion on Israel at the Jan. 9-12 Modern Language Association (MLA) convention in Chicago,” according to the JNS news service. “MLA’s convention includes a roundtable discussion that will feature supporters but no opponents of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel.”

“The discussion—titled ‘Academic Boycotts: A Conversation about Israel and Palestine’—is seen as a possible precursor to an MLA academic boycott of Israel, which would mirror recent boycotts by the American Studies Association and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association. The MLA convention will consider a resolution that condemns Israel for alleged ‘arbitrary denials of entry to Gaza and the West Bank by U.S. academics who have been invited to teach, confer, or do research at Palestinian universities.’”

Alarming as the MLA’s decision might be, it is not especially surprising. Accuracy in Academia has been covering the MLA confabs for the past three decades and we will be at this one as well. Indeed, the divestment panel may be one of the most mainstream gatherings or events we expect to encounter.

Other MLA panels and presentations we may cover include:

  • Teaching Racist Texts: Pedagogical Challenges;
  • Genealogies of Anticolonialism;
  • Literary Sociologies of Race and Ethnicity;
  • Women’s Education and the Rhetoric of Sexual Reformation;
  • Decolonizing Pocahontas and Jigonsaseh through Xicana Feminist Theoretical Intervention;
  • Labor Relations, Sad Clowns;
  • Class Vulnerabilities in Academia;
  • Fifty Shades of Brecht;
  • Animals and Animality;
  • War, Scar: Representations of US Torture and Imperial Violence since Vietnam;
  • (Post) Racial Vulnerabilities;
  • Literature and Life after Capitalism: Socialism, Barbarism, Communism, or Just More Capitalism?;
  • Red Chicago; and
  • Jewish Monsters.

Thousands of English professors from the U. S. and around the world will converge

upon the Windy City to make it even windier.

The conference stretches for four days and features hundreds of seminars given by

hundreds of professors. We’ll make as many of these as we can because they will be previewing their courses.  What we have found in nearly 30 years of covering these meetings is that if you love great literature, or at least like good stories, the courses offered by English departments, most of which are represented at the MLA, will disappoint.