My New Book!

My New Book!
My New Book!

Saturday, March 16, 2024

March 16-17, 2024: NeMLA Reflections: A Special Organization

[This past weekend I attended the one scholarly conference I never miss: the Northeast MLA. It was a great time as it always is, so this week I’ve featured a series of reflections on some of the great work I heard, saw, and shared there! Leading up to these additional reflections on NeMLA as an organization!]

Much of what I’d want to say about NeMLA is summed up in two posts that I’ll ask you to check out if you would and then come on back here:

This one from 2017 when I left the NeMLA Board for the first time (only because my service time was up, as I’d happily and stayed on forever);

And this one from 2018 when, proving my above point, I rejoined the Board.

Welcome back! As of a couple years ago I am once again done with my service on the Board, and while I’ll never say never when it comes to anything and all things NeMLA, I think it’s likely that I will only be a conference attendee and participant from now on. (Or, putting this out into the Universe, maybe one day a keynote speaker?!) But on that note alone, my annual attendance at most if not all of the conference (which has been the case since 2013 and I hope will be in the future as well) is a very telling thing—I’m not so much of a conference person (I enjoy them whenever I get to go, but I just mean I’m not someone who seeks out and attends a ton of them), and as any reader of this blog likely knows it takes a lot to take me away from my sons for any length of time. So this history of annual and thorough NeMLA attendance, and a pledge to do the same moving forward, is high praise indeed.

If I had to sum up why that’s the case, I would use two words that appear in those prior NeMLA posts and other places I’ve written about the organization: community and solidarity. Community is the more obvious one, and the focus of much of what I’ve said previously about this particular community and all that it means to me. So to say a little more about what I mean by solidarity: at worst, academia can feel quite competitive, like others are our rivals for jobs or publishing slots or attention or etc.; and even at best, it can feel quite isolated, like we’re in those things on our own. Of course individual colleagues and friends and loved ones can be company for the journey, as with everything in life. But to find a whole scholarly community that feels very consistently like it’s got your back rather than is either turning its back or stabbing you in yours? That’s a very very rare thing in my experience, and that’s what I feel with and at NeMLA. Makes me want to keep coming back for sure!

Next series starts Monday,


PS. If you were at NeMLA, what would you share? If not or in any case, other organizations you’d highlight?

No comments:

Post a Comment