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Minutes for Board Meeting - December 2003

Minutes for the ACLA Board Meeting
8-10 AM 28 December 2003

Horton Grand Hotel, "Boardroom"

Attending: Higonnet, Komar, Damrosch, Richmond-Garza, Eckhardt, Finney, Kristal, Lionnet, Moebius, Saussy, Trumpener, Siebers
Regrets: Palencia-Roth, Prins, Zamora
Absent: Carr, Theuerwachter

1. Minutes from the 4/4/03 San Marcos board meeting. (Elizabeth Richmond-Garza) Corrected and approved.

2. Financial/Membership Report. (Elizabeth Richmond-Garza) Discussion of reports for 2002 and 2003.

  • Requested Treasurer provide a detailed 2003 report, with a break-down of membership dues by category for 2002 and 2003, separating membership payments for 2003 from those for 2004.
  • Request Treasurer provide calendar year report for 2002 integrating and clarifying partial report from previous Secretariat.
  • Noted and approved decision to use $3,000 for student travel grants in 2003
  • Noted success of 2003 conference at San Marcos and proceeds of $14,218. Reaffirmed policy that proceeds of annual conferences after settlement of all past due accounts be returned to ACLA. These funds provide ongoing endowment for prizes and support of the field.
  • Discussed the generosity of services volunteered by conference organizers. Noted that assistant professors, who can receive no remuneration, are taxed by organizing a conference. Charged the president to write a second set of letters thanking the conference hosts.
  • Unanimous vote that $3,000 of the San Marcos proceeds be applied to student travel fund for 2004 and acknowledged.
  • Unanimous vote that $10,000 of the San Marcos proceeds be transferred to the Bernheimer fund and acknowledged.

3. Other financial matters. (Elizabeth Richmond-Garza) :

  • General discussion of future funding for ACLA prizes: Aldridge prize annually funded by Penn State, Frenz prize by Indiana fund directed by Dr. Eugene Eoyang, and Bernheimer prize by ACLA $25,000 endowment, generating low income. Noted that the prestigious Wellek/Levin prize has no prize money attached to the award.
  • Approved motion to send a letter to the membership, soliciting contributions to Bernheimer fund or to a travel fund. To address wider funding questions, Komar and Moebius volunteered to form a fundraising Committee, which was unanimously approved.
  • Discussion of growing institutional memberships linked to eligibility for making Bernheimer nominations. These funds partially pay for $3,000 annual contribution to the ADPCL

4. Investment Committee Report (Haun Saussy)

  • The history of the ACLAís investments has to date been conservative
  • Review of current statement shows no losses, despite market forces
  • Charged ACLA officers and investment committee members in NYC to discuss with Ellen Sandler reworking the investments at a meeting in early April.

5. Report of the President (Margaret Higonnet)

  • Report on meeting of David Damrosch and Higonnet with Ellen Sandler in NYC regarding investments
  • Report on Higonnet contacts with MLA (Rosemary Feal and Mary Louise Pratt) concerning common interest in interdisciplinarity and the structure of the divisions.
  • Report on progress toward CL section of the MLA directory as discussed with Phyllis Franklin (Damrosch), and David Laurence (Higonnet). Noted problem that comparatists and Comparative Literature Programs have highly diverse modes of self-identification. Noted added costs of print and postage for the MLA directory. Secretary replied that approximately 120 entities on the ACLAís in-house list of departments and programs would add only two pages of text.
  • Charged Higonnet to pursue effort to publish the CL section. Charged Secretary to provide MLA an updated list coordinated with ADPCL list.
  • Report on meeting by Damrosch and Higonnet with David Nicholls (MLA) about developing truly comparative books for the MLAís ìApproachesî Series. Call for proposals was printed in Fall 2003 MLA Newsletter p. 14
  • Noted absence of the graduate student representatives. Proposed selecting in the next election cycle alternate graduate student representatives to fill in when one of two representatives cannot attend.

6. Report of the Vice-President (Kathy Komar), on the crisis in publication: decrease in the funding of libraries and in sales of most academic books to 250; significant impact on comparatists.

  • Komar reported Willis Regier at Illinois UP thinks a $5,000 subvention makes a first book possible, $10,000 easy. Proposed ìhumanist start-upî faculty subventions
  • Evidence that rising costs of scholarly journals reflect consolidation and monopolies (for science journals especially). Some presses (e.g. UC) now refuse to pay Elsevierís prices.
  • Summarized alternatives and their difficulties:
    • on-line publishing carries a stigma in the humanities
    • e-journals need to be well refereed
    • e-books need to be refereed and edited
    • the ACLA board could referee articles and manuscripts but the load would be overwhelming.
    • startup subventions will create inequities among institutions. Many universities substitute publishers’ vetting for own tenure decisions.
  • Discussed proposals
    • ACLA could establish an e-book series jointly with a prestige press and big authors to start off
    • ACLA could read and endorse books for e-publishing (esp. young scholars); talk w/MLA about collaborating in this sort of series and subvention for first books being done jointly w/ MLA

7. ACLA 2004 Ann Arbor update (Tobin Siebers)

  • Schedule April 15 (6 PM Reception)--19 (ending at noon)
  • Expected 550 participants, 44 panels (112 still to be reviewed and placed)
  • Subsidy: $12,000 up front from Michigan + $1,500-2,000 for performance
  • Budget: no extra charges by Michigan; all handled with existing staff and resources

8. ACLA 2005 update (Higonnet): Paris and Penn State

  • Site had been set for University of Paris III (no rent but some staffing charges); Paris availability falls so late in 2005, April/early May that many members would be unable to attend
  • December 15 change in Paris cost: rental of 23 rms +amphitheatre $10,800 + $4,000 tech. support. This would be offset by $8,000 (+ staff and resources) subsidy from UConn and French resources. The net profit (no dinner but two receptions): $2,000
  • Alternate site with better timing in late February or early March proposed by Carey Eckhardt: Penn State ($5,000 + resources contributed, slight profit of $1,300 expected, with 275 faculty/275 students and banquet self-funding, $1,500 honorarium for plenary; spring break 11-13 March 2005).
  • Discussed Penn State’s high management fee per person cost. Charged Eckhard to get the management fees waived, or secure larger Penn State subsidy and use graduate students instead of conference coordinators.
  • Unanimously agreed to go to Penn State if cost structure can be sorted out.

9. Discussion of future venues: Sandy Berman has confirmed weekend of March 20, 2006 in Princeton; possibility of Mexico City or Puebla in 2007; noted that Adam Miyashiro has explored the option of 2008 or 2009 in Hawai’i

10. Deferred discussion of ACLS Guidelines from 2003 Charlotte, NC Meeting (Richmond-Garza)

  • Professional conference planners and host subventions
  • Code of Professional Conduct

11. Report on 10-year review of Comparative Literature (Haun Saussy). Drafts of the report are at:

12. Report on ADPCL (Caroline Eckhardt). Noted numbers of institutional members in several categories in transitional year. Presented a list of CL departments and programs. Described June 2004 conference on undergraduate education. Unanimously agreed that ACLA co-sponsor with subvention of $1,000.

13. Postponed Secretariat’s Analysis of Comparative MLA Sessions 1992-2002 (Richmond-Garza)

14. Planned 2004 MLA Sessions and organizers

  • ACLA (allied organization) meetings:
    • “State of the Field of Comparative Literature”/ “Comparative Literature in an Age of Globalization”: follow-up session and launch of Saussy book
    • “Poetry and Interdisciplinarity” (Sandy Berman) open call
  • ADPCL special sessions:
    • “CL as UG Major” (Spivak, Saussy as participants)
    • “Changing Institutional Forms of CL”

15. Report on Book Projects (Damrosch), all coming along on schedule

16. Appointments for ACLA Award Committees (Secretariat to create a list of past individuals who have served and president to set next year's committees by February)

17. Other business (none)