The annual convention of the Modern Language Association, to be held January 9-12, 2020, at the Convention Center and the Sheraton, will be meeting in Seattle for the second time in its 130-year history. The convention is a wonderfully stimulating intellectual experience, bringing together hundreds of scholars and teachers from across the country and around the world. The number of sessions scheduled is 780! Topics range from “American Settler Colonialisms,” “Black Time and Temporality,” and “Habitat: French Ecocritical Perspectives,” to “Migration, Islam, Islamophobia,” “Witness, Testimony, Story: Languaging Race and Racism in the Teaching of Writing,” and “Has Postcritique Run Out of Steam?” Many faculty members and graduate students from the University of Washington are participating. See the MLA website (MLA 2020) for more information—about registration, the presidential theme, and the program.
The purpose of this microseminar is to introduce graduate students to the intellectual feast that is the annual convention (if you have not attended it before), as well as to spark discussion and deliberation on matters important to us all—including basic issues of human rights and the future of the humanities. This is also an opportunity for you to meet graduate students in literary and cultural studies from other departments.
Eligibility: Students from all departments in our modern languages and literatures can enroll; each will each receive a stipend of $100 to help defray the cost of attending MLA (registration), with the exception of students in the English Department itself (English has agreed to underwrite the cost of registration). Note: this independent study is not intended for graduate students who are on the job market. Enrollment is limited to 30.
Meeting Times and Locations:
Attend a meeting before the convention on Monday, Jan 6, 5:00-6:30 in the Simpson Center (Communications 202); short pieces by PMLA editor and literary critic Wai Chee Dimock and an essay by political philosopher Judith Butler, both MLA Seattle 2020 speakers, will be discussed.
Attend at least four sessions at the convention, including:
Thursday, Jan 9, 5:15-7:00 in the Washington State Convention Center (6A): Session #116 on “Human Rights and the Human,” with Wai Chee Dimock and Judith Butler, among others; this plenary session intersects with the presidential theme of “Being Human”
Saturday, Jan 11, 5:15-6:30 in the Washington State Convention Center (4C-4): Session #613 on “The Future of the Humanities,” with national leaders in the humanities, including Joy Connolly, Neal Lester, Robert Newman, and Jon Parrish Peede; this session addresses issues of higher education
Two other sessions of your choosing, with one devoted to your particular intellectual interests. Recommended is the Fri, Jan 10, 3:30 pm session #339 on “Keywords for the Future,” with seven lightning talks on such keywords as aesthetics, queer, indigenous, and gender
Attend a meeting on Monday, Jan 13, 5:00-6:30 at the Simpson Center (Communications 202)
Submit a short response paper (two pages) related to your experience of the convention and intersecting with our discussion, if applicable, due Mon, Jan 19, 2020.
How to Apply: Please send an email to Kathleen Woodward (email@example.com) by Monday, December 2, explaining in a short paragraph your intellectual interests and where you are in your degree program (if more than 30 students wish to sign up, Professor Woodward will select students based on diversity across intellectual interests and departments). Everyone will be notified by Monday, Dec 9.
Stipend: With the exception of those in English, students will receive a stipend of $100 to defray the costs of registering for MLA. Registration fees through December 4 for graduate students are: $65 for MLA members; $90 for nonmembers. After December 4 registration fees for graduate students are: $75 for MLA members; $97 for nonmembers.