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Sunday, December 31, 2006

MLA Date Change

I have heard, but have not managed to confirm anywhere official (e.g., the MLA website), that the date of the convention has now been changed so that it begins on the first Thursday after Jan 2, presumably occurring from Thursday to Sunday. Was anyone out there at the Delegate Assembly when this was debated and, apparently, agreed? And why is there no announcement on the website, or anywhere else for that matter?

This certainly seems like a good thing since it moves the conference away from the period between Christmas and New Year's, and since everyone everywhere seems to complain about the date of the conference. On the other hand, note that the first Thursday after Jan 2 will mean the conference will occur:
  • in 2008, January 3-6 (perfectly fine)
  • in 2009, January 8-11 (couldn't that be even more stressful than Dec 27-30, since for most academics the spring semester will either start immediately upon our return from the conference or will have already started?)
  • in 2010, January 7-10 (and so on moving back each year until 2013 when it's Jan 3-6 again)
  • in 2014, January 9-12 (the latest it can possibly be)
So, were you at the meeting? Was the fact that the conference might end as late as Jan 12th discussed? And how do you feel about going straight from the convention into your first class of the semester? Personally, I think I prefer going straight from the convention to a New Year's Eve party, but of course the current schedule has its own tremendous difficulties, especially for people who celebrate Christmas (and whatever the conservatives might say, I suspect this is still a majority of academics, though certainly a far smaller percentage than the general US population, right?) And it makes it pretty difficult to take any sort of real vacation and still attend the conference. If the conference were Jan 6-9, e.g., one could take a trip right after the fall semester ends and still get back in time for the conference.

If you were at the meeting, let us know. Can you confirm or deny this report? After all, isn't one of your New Year's resolutions to de-lurk on BtR?

  • At 12/31/2006 12:24:00 PM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    And some schools start even earlier.

    I doubt they'll actually change it. No matter the date, it'll be a bad time of the year.


  • At 12/31/2006 12:28:00 PM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    I'd heard it was a done deal. But, as I say, I've seen no official announcement of the outcome of the debate over it that took place at the Dec 29 meeting.


  • At 12/31/2006 12:54:00 PM, Blogger Greenwit wrote…

    You know your fate is sealed when you see dates for a conference in 2014 and realize that you'll probably be there.


  • At 12/31/2006 01:51:00 PM, Blogger Flavia wrote…

    I was told by someone that the date change was voted on and is definitely happening, but that it won't take effect for 3 years (meaning, I think, 2009).


  • At 12/31/2006 03:09:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote…

    I think this is a horrible decision. The current date is annoying, but not more than that; the new date will make it difficult if not impossible for many scholars to attend, especially in Canada. The "spring" semester here starts very early -- in my case in the first week of January.

    I don't quite understand why MLA can't be later in the year. Art Historians have their big job-market convention in February, so it's not a hiring issue. ABD candidates will be two months closer to finishing, too, which surely must be a good thing.



  • At 12/31/2006 04:58:00 PM, Blogger Mel wrote…

    A colleague of mine who sits on Delegate Assembly said that they voted to make the change, but the Executive Committee has to change the bylaws in order to make it happen because the first year of the January meeting (which won't be for a couple years because hotels have already been reserved) would mean a calendar year (the previous one) without a convention, which is against the bylaws.


  • At 1/01/2007 07:27:00 AM, Blogger dhawhee wrote…

    that's an interesting snag, m. maybe they'll move one to Dec 30-Jan 3! New Year's at MLA!



  • At 1/01/2007 03:20:00 PM, Blogger Inkhorn wrote…

    I would prefer later in January to the current date, but why can't they just obviate the whole issue and have the conference in June or something? Or August, right before most people start up? Why have it in the winter at all?


  • At 1/01/2007 11:10:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote…

    The answer to that is presumably jobmarket-related. Departments (and candidates) need to know fairly early in the year which jobs they can fill, so that they know a) what courses they can offer the following year, and b) how many adjunct/sessional instructors they need to hire. For those reasons, I don't think holding the convention later than early March is feasible.


  • At 1/02/2007 11:02:00 AM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    Inside Higher Ed on the MLA date change.

    It appears I was wrong in my first comment.


  • At 1/02/2007 11:34:00 AM, Blogger Hieronimo wrote…

    Simplicius, you weren't just wrong; you were 100%, certified, Bush-WMD wrong.


  • At 1/02/2007 11:54:00 AM, Blogger Simplicius wrote…

    No, I said "I doubt they'll actually change it," not, "I know for sure that they did not change it."

    Damn reading-impaired hippy--go take a shower.


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