'Fake News,' 'Trump Terror' among topics at MLA conference
- Professors from around the country gathered last weekend to discuss social justice hot topics in order to “denaturalize the elements that contribute to states of insecurity.”
- More than 300 sessions addressed the central theme of "#States of Insecurity," discussing topics such as feminism, xenophobia, "fake news," and, of course, Donald Trump.
- The conference also hoped to address university insecurities like “lack of job security” for faculty and conducting research in a “political and media climate in which facts don’t matter.”
Professors from around the country gathered last weekend to discuss social justice hot topics in order to “denaturalize the elements that contribute to states of insecurity.”
Nearly 7,000 professors attended the 2018 Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention in New York City from January 4-7, where they discussed “strategies for navigating the crises of our time,” such as “political volatility, fluctuating financial markets, fear-mongering media, and increasingly hateful acts and rhetoric that contribute to a general sense of malaise.”
“What does the pursuit of knowledge mean when students are indebted and faculty members lack job security?” the description asked. “How do we conduct research in a political and media climate in which facts don’t matter?”
To address those concerns, the MLA held several sessions addressing issues like colonialism, feminism, xenophobia, and more.
A session called “Feminist Pedagogy in Digital Spaces,” for instance, explored ways of promoting feminism without having to deal with microaggressions and trolls.
According to the description, “digital spaces are a challenge for feminist discourse” because “platforms like Twitter amplify trolling and harassment, unmoderated online forums can become havens for misogyny, and being visible as a woman online is associated with sexual harassment and microaggressions.”
Another workshop, “Learning through Failure: Feminism on Campus in the Years Ahead,” acknowledged that feminism is “at risk” on campus and posited that future progress for the movement may need to come through non-academic channels.
More than 300 sessions were specifically related to the Presidential Theme of “#States of Insecurity,” including offerings like “Fake News,” “Trump Terror,” “Dystopia Today,” and “Reimagining Social Justice Concerns: Bringing Fantasy Fiction into the Classroom.”
The MLA Convention bills itself the largest scholarly meeting for those in the humanities.
Campus Reform reached out to the MLA for comment, but has not received a response.
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