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MLA Meeting That 'Never Was Nor Will Be'

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The "MLA 2010 Mankini" is one of the creations for the Modern Language Association meeting that "never was nor will be."

The association's December 2009 meeting was the last one to be held between Christmas and New Year's Day. The MLA doesn't reconvene until January 2011 in Los Angeles, leaving 2010 as the year without an MLA meeting. Horrors!

Some unknown scholars have created an MLA 2010 Web page that clearly differentiates it from most of those at the real meetings with these three bullets:

Small Grants, Lots of Goodwill

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U. of South Carolina's top two administrators, from engineering and public health, start program to offer funds to playwrights, musicians, big dreamers.

State of Humanities Departments

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Major study documents reliance on those off the tenure track, the favorable ratios of tenure decisions, the dominance of publications in those decisions, the popularity of minors and majors, and more.

Teaching the Writing Teachers

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Is it time for a new approach to the master's programs that produce the instructors who teach community college composition?

When Writing Class Moves Online

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Composition association finds that colleges are just beginning to consider implications of shifting key part of the curriculum away from face-to-face instruction.

Disrespecting Whom?

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Haki Madhubuti is by all accounts a key player in modern black literature -- a poet, novelist and essayist whose own works are part of the canon of African American studies. As the founder, in 1967, of the Third World Press, he was publishing people like Gwendolyn Brooks, Amiri Baraka and Mari Evans in an era when establishment publishers were rarely open to such voices.

The Lost Tribe

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PHILADELPHIA -- The Modern Language Association is famous for the provocative titles of sessions at its annual meeting. But the provocative title of one session Sunday night -- so surprising to several MLA members that they expressed disbelief when told about it -- contained no sexual wordplay or trendy literary buzzwords. The title: Does the English Department Have a Jewish Problem?

Rockin' in the Ph.D. World

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There are plenty in higher education who devote themselves to interpreting rock and roll as literature. Fewer devote themselves to the interpreting literature as rock and roll.

Where There's a Will...

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WASHINGTON -- Shakespeare famously affirmed that his words would live “[s]o long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,” but he never promised that they’d keep his acolytes employed. At the Shakespeare Association of America’s 37th Annual Conference last week, attendees related the familiar stories of budget cuts and fruitless job searches that now seem to emanate from every corner of academe (and elsewhere).

Tough Love for the Humanities

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WASHINGTON -- While he described himself as “stunned” to be chosen as this year’s Jefferson Lecturer, Leon Kass was hardly apologetic. The University of Chicago professor is best known for the years he spent as chair of President Bush’s Council on Bioethics, and he was invited to give the lecture last fall by the then-chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, Bruce Cole, himself twice appointed by President Bush.

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