MLA Announces New Discipline Forums

May 15, 2014
The Modern Language Association announced this week a new way of organizing disciplines and information. Dozens of new "forum" categories replace current divisions and discussion groups, in an attempt to simplify, democratize and update areas of study within the organization, MLA leaders say. Starting in 2016, the forums also represent guaranteed sessions at MLA's annual conference. MLA has published a "Frequently Asked Questions" page to assist members with the change, and is currently recruiting executive committee members for each forum. Some forums have been merged, split or reconfigured from former divisions and discussion groups, and many are new. Examples of new forums include Latina and Latino; African Diasporic; Modern and Contemporary Chinese; Korean; Global Arab and Arab American; and American Sign Language. The discipline review was MLA's first in 40 years. MLA says the new structure was guided by a commitment to languages and their histories; the protection of small fields; an attempt to minimize hierarchies among fields; a desire to lessen the divide between English and foreign languages; and recognition of emergent areas of study.


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