Watching the Watchers

No time for a full response, but I just came across one of those inevitable and tired articles on the annual MLA convention, this one in TCS Daily. In “Who’s Afraid of the MLA,” we get the usual complaints about “tenured radicals” and “political correctness” run amok.

To be fair, the author, Nick Gillespie, is a member of the MLA and raises the point that few other academic conventions inspire such concern about what we’re teaching kids today. And Gillespie does point out the number of panels and papers that focus on traditional readings of canonical texts with paper titles that don’t make use of bad puns. I’ll have to postpone my longer response to Gillespie’s article for now (other MLA-related responsibilities are calling), but one thing I think Gillespie will find is that many papers this year, including my own, are concerned with questions of the human, or more narrowly, of human rights, in an age where those questions are of some importance. To ignore the role of literature (and film) in engaging with those questions would, in my opinion, be a mistake.

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