Institutional contexts and the shaping and re-shaping of power

deadline for submissions: 
March 25, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
MLA 2020 (Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession)
contact email: 

In light of renewed attention to hierarchies in the profession, the MLA Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession invites your consideration of whether and how institutions -- one’s university, scholarly field, or organizations like MLA  -- can be mobilized toward meaningful structural change and more equitable futures. With increasing frequency, we see new institutional structures being put in place to help us redress long-standing power imbalances within the university system -- from internal committees to the creation of new positions dedicated to what Sara Ahmed calls “diversity work.” Yet, as Ahmed reminds us, “Even if you are appointed by an institution to transform the institution, it does not mean the institution is willing to be transformed.”

We encourage scholars at all stages, including those who have experience with university administration, to reflect on the challenges and possibilities of transforming institutions from the inside out. This is a guaranteed roundtable. Speakers will share 5-minute papers followed by what we hope will be a robust and inclusive discussion.  Possible topics may include, but are by no means limited to:

  • Relationships between scholarly theorizations of power and their implementation in institutional practices

  • (Im)possibilities of institutionalizing disciplines rooted in activism (women’s studies, Black studies, etc.)

  • Intersectionality in faculty resistance movements (strikes, protests, etc)

  • The impact of humanities/liberal arts program closures on women and minority faculty

Please submit 250-word abstracts to russjsa@emory.edu AND dkoretsk@spelman.edu by March 25, 2019.

The 2020 MLA Annual Convention will be held in Seattle from 9 to 12 January. This session is guaranteed.