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Viewing convention Program information from 2009

Session Details

Monday, 28 December

356. The Presidential Address

8:40 p.m., Regency Ballroom A and B, Loews

Program arranged by the MLA Presidential Address

Presiding: Rosemary G. Feal, MLA

 1. Sidonie Ann Smith, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MLA First Vice President, will announce the newly elected honorary fellows.

 2. Sidonie Ann Smith will present the William Riley Parker Prize, the James Russell Lowell Prize, the MLA Prize for a First Book, the Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize, the Mina P. Shaughnessy Prize, the MLA Prize for Independent Scholars, the Katherine Singer Kovacs Prize, the Morton N. Cohen Award for a Distinguished Edition of Letters, the MLA Prize for a Distinguished Scholarly Edition, the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies, the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Studies, the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Studies in Slavic Languages and Literatures, the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for a Translation of a Scholarly Study of Literature, the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Italian Studies, the Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Publication Award for a Manuscript in Italian Literary Studies, the Lois Roth Award, the William Sanders Scarborough Prize, and the MLA Prize in United States Latina and Latino and Chicana and Chicano Literary and Cultural Studies.

 3. Rosemary G. Feal will present the MLA International Bibliography Fellowship Awards.

 4. Rosemary G. Feal will announce the recipients of the seal of approval from the Committee on ­Scholarly Editions.

 5. Report of the Executive Director, Rosemary G. Feal

 6. The Presidential Address, Catherine Porter, State Univ. of New York Coll. at Cortland

Author Comment
Subject: Presidential Address audio
Go to to listen to an audio recording of Catherine Porter’s Presidential Address and then comment here.
Subject: English is not enough
Thanks. I shall be sharing this address with my eight American grandchildren (I am a Professor Emerita). My Haworth Yorkshire great grandfather with no schooling (yes, he knew Charlotte Bronte), became fluent in Russian early, trading wool and cloth worldwide, alpaca (Peru) and angora (Turkey) mixed with English lambs' wool for Gogol's Overcoat, and thus a millionaire and baronet, and endowed the Chair in Russian at Leeds University, having the edge in commerce. I have been able to code switch sufficiently to work in French and Italian libraries with priceless medieval manuscripts and now live in Italy, functioning in Italian as well as English, while caring for the tombs of great English poets and writers, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Frances Trollope, Walter Savage Landor, Arthur Hugh Clough buried here in Florence. I want my American grandchildren to have the same flexibility, the same openness to the world.
Subject: English is not Enough
I really enjoyed and appreciated this talk because of its strong arguments for the benefits of FL learning--and their relation to English--and just forwarded it to all of my colleagues.

There is a "College-of-Liberal-Arts-and-Sciences-Tube" project at my university, which consists of video clips of professors talking about what they do. I've been thinking about what I wanted to say in the minute allotted and was thinking along the lines of German studies and wondering which aspect of that I wanted to talk about. After hearing this address, I think I will focus more generally on the benefits of FL study (while of course still promoting German :-) ).

In German, we are also working on putting together on a "German-TUBE" site on which our former graduates talk about what they are doing with their language skills. To that we were hoping to add a list of benefits of language study, so I am particularly interested in seeing the print version of this address with its bibliography.

Promoting FL study is a never ending battle, but this talk provides great ideas and invaluable hopeful energy.
Subject: Thank you!
Thank you for this grounded, yet inspiring speech. As a faculty member in a new World Literature program, I agree that promoting FL learning is a never-ending battle. But we are doing what we can to encourage it, and also to recognize and support the existing bilingualism of many of our students.

I wonder if the MLA webmaster could provide an easy way for members to post this talk to Facebook, etc. An audio file is much more compelling to click on than a link, and the more people who hear Catherine's message, the better.

Melek Ortabasi
Simon Fraser University
Vancouver, BC