That’s Not My Department: Multidisciplinary Conversations at MLA

I attended MLA for the first time last year, and that after much internal debate over whether it even made sense for me to attend a literature conference, working as I do primarily in digital narratives and games. But after spending most of my time in the digital humanities conference within a conference, I’m back, and I’m very interested in discussing the role of interdisciplinary and fully multidisciplinary convergence in transforming traditional conference spaces.

The leaking of the MLA Job List reflected some of this tension: the list is held beyond a paywall accessible to professors and graduate students affiliated with “member departments”, a status that highly interdisciplinary departments (including my own) are unlikely to ever hold. The leaking of the jobs list is a question in part of open access to opportunities  but it is also a reminder that the resources of this organization are of value to many beyond traditional affiliates.

The inherently collaborative world of DH is still only one fraction of MLA’s discourse, and a co-located THATCamp is an interesting opportunity to probe the conference’s identity. I’d be interested in talking to other out-of-discipline participants at MLA: why are you here? Do you identify strongly with any one discipline’s association? How are these organizations and conferences being transformed by the reconstruction of disciplinary models within institutions and in individual scholarly careers–not to mention alt-ac?

Categories: Jobs, Session Proposals, Teaching, Tenure and Promotion |

About Anastasia Salter

Anastasia Salter is an assistant professor at the University of Baltimore, where she directs the graduate programs in interaction design and information architecture. She has two books forthcoming in 2014: What is Your Quest? From Adventure Games to Interactive Books from the University of Iowa Press and, co-authored with John Murray, Flash: Building the Interactive Web from MIT Press. She writes for Profhacker, a blog on technology and pedagogy hosted by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

4 Responses to That’s Not My Department: Multidisciplinary Conversations at MLA

  1. Trip Kirkpatrick says:

    This sounds like a session I can really get behind.

  2. rybakc says:

    This is my first MLA, as I usually go to AWP instead (creative writing is largely the teaching focus of my job, and it’s my area of publishing–I see you have an MFA). In short, this does sound interesting to me for a number of reasons.

  3. I’m definitely interested in this session as well – this is my first MLA (I’m a media scholar, typically attending SCMS among others). Alas, I can only be at the afternoon sessions of THATCamp, so if it’s possible to have this session after lunch, I’d be quite appreciative!

  4. Pingback: Transes | THATCamp MLA Boston 2013

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