Saturday, March 11, 2017
March 11-12, 2017: NeMLA 2017 Preview
[I’ve written a good bit already about the upcoming 48th annual NeMLA Convention (March 23-26 in Baltimore! Join us!). But since I last wrote about it, we’ve added one very important event, which I wanted to make sure to highlight—because whether you can be there or not, it’s something we all should be thinking and talking about!]
The actions and events I’m writing about in this post are entirely collective, organized and driven by NeMLA Executive Director Carine Mardorossian, current President Hilda Chacón, and our entire Executive Board. So I want to start by quoting the two main sections from our recent NeMLA Statement on Executive Orders on Immigration:
"In consideration of those affected by the travel ban, NeMLA is taking the following steps:
1. Implementing a provisional policy for allowing those affected by the ban to present their papers in absentia. For reasons central to the discussion and exchange that are the hallmark of a lively NeMLA session, our policy is to not allow papers read in absentia. We will make an exception for those presenters impacted.
2. NeMLA Executive Board officers will introduce an open forum in which attendees can discuss, respond to, contextualize, and strategize about the recent Executive Orders on immigration. This special Roundtable Discussion, titled ‘NeMLA Forum on the Executive Orders on Immigration,’ will take place on Saturday, March 25, at 4:45 PM in Grand Ballroom VI.
We welcome your thoughts and contributions on these issues as we prepare for our 2017 Convention.”
Indeed we do. It’s hard to say with any certainty or clarity what an organization like NeMLA—or any academic, scholarly, or educational organization for that matter—can do in response to the broad issues in play here. Of course we can and should offer policy shifts such as the one detailed in item 1; but while I value the support and solidarity reflected in that change, I know that it will have (nor is it intended to have) any effect on the sweeping communal and national and international issues surrounding the travel ban. Again, I don’t know for sure what effect NeMLA could have at all—but I know that we must think and talk and work actively to consider that question, and so I’m very glad that we’re holding the open forum and that I’ll be there and be a part of it. I know I speak for all of us when I say that we’re open to any and all other ideas about things NeMLA can do or offer (feel free to mention them in comments or email me with them!). But whatever else it is or can be, this forum is a tangible reflection of our collective commitment to the truest sense of public scholarship, of engaging with these communal issues that affect us all.
Next series starts Monday,
PS. Thoughts on this event and conversation? If you share them here I can bring them to the convention!