Skip to Content

Minutes for Board Meeting - December 2004

Minutes for the ACLA Board Meeting
Tuesday, December 8, 2004, 8:00-10:00 AM

Courtyard Philadelphia Downtown, Philadelphia, PA

Attending: Higonnet, Komar, Eckhardt, Finney, Moebius, Prins, Russell, Saussy Thuerwaechter, Trumpener
Regrets: Kristal, Lionnet, Palencia- Roth, Richmond-Garza, Siebers, Zamora

1. Approval of Minutes from Board Meeting in Ann Arbor April 2004

2. Financial Report: Fundraising and Membership (Richmond-Garza, in absentia)

  • a. Regrets expressed on behalf of the Secretary-Treasurer for absence due to family medical emergency.
  • b. Approximately $20,000 net will be passed on from the Ann Arbor conference , which was well-attended: in 2003 the increase in ACLA funds was approx. $52,000; in 2004 approx. $46,000 (not including the approx. $20,000 from Ann Arbor); the increase was in part due to the fact that we received gifts and money from friends of Block ($7,000) and $2,100 in donations to the travel funds and $850 for Bernheimer account from members of the board. Hopes for even greater increase in 2005.
  • c. Future financial reports should note net changes in overall funds from year to year.
  • d. Block funds earmarked for international graduate student travel the annual meeting
    • i. Secretary-Treasurer charged to create a new endowment account and transfer Block funds
    • ii. Suggested size of award should be $500 annually
    • iii. These funds should be advertised on the ACLA webpage
  • e. Secretary-Treasurer charged to make transfers to the endowment from the UT account so as to ensure growth of funds
    • i. Charge to Secretary-Treasurer to inquire whether there are interest-bearing accounts at UT
    • ii. Discussion of growing current and initiating additional memorial endowments
    • iii. Charge to Secretary-Treasurer to transfer $10,000 to the endowment based on 2004 Block and other donations
    • iv. Charge to Secretary-Treasurer to transfer to the endowment: $20,000 from UT account immediately and $20,000 after the Ann Arbor funds are deposited
    • v. Note that the number of institutional memberships has increased and now off-sets the annual contribution to the ADPCL
    • vi. Note that the number individual memberships have dropped, and thus also journal subscriptions, and that ways to retain and increase memberships must be considered in the light of varying conference sites and post-9/11 challenges to foreign participants at the annual conference
  • g. Based on suggestion of the May 2004 ACLS meeting, discussion of whether the ACLA should consider having a financial audit (which it has never had) at an average cost $1,000-3,000
    • i. Internal audit requested from Saussy's financial committee for the March 2005 board
    • ii. The question of an external audit to be taken up thereafter

3. President's Report: Election Results (Higonnet) :

  • a. Discussion of problems with the distribution of the electronic ballot
  • b. Consider using an on-line ballot to increase response with a printable option

4. President's Report (Higonnet): Success of liaisons with MLA, and of possible collaborations with ADE and ADFL (Higonnet) including setting up a listserv about problems facing departments and program heads, with the assistance of David Goldberg at MLA

5. President's Report: Discussion of 2005 MLA sessions (Higonnet)

  • a. Text for topics selected:
    • i. Human Rights as Comparative Discourse. Shaped by exiles, comparative literature has valued linguistic, cultural, and other rights. Are these universal or local? Ancient or modern engagements? Cross-cultural, interdisciplinary approaches. 500 words by 15 Mar.; Margaret Higonnet (
    • ii. The ACLA and the ADPCL invite papers discussing any aspect of the teaching or the institutional context of undergraduate literature curricula. 250-word abstracts to Corinne Scheiner ( by 1 March 2005.
  • b. Support expressed for ADPCL's proposed MLA sessions: Scheiner's roundtable on Comparative Literature and undergraduate education and a panel on human rights
  • c. Report on Annual meetings for 2007, 2008 and 2009
    • i. In absentia report that 2007 is still in planning stages and that the president is to travel to Puebla [Zamora, in absentia]
    • ii. Discussion of the possible need to consider another site for 2007 such as California institutions or Hawaii

6. Vice President's Report (Komar)

  • a. Report on the drafting of code of professional ethics statement, adapting the text of the MLA statement
  • b. Suggestion to add students and student related issues to the process
  • c. Discussion of issues in ethical issues crucial to Comparative Literature: translations as publications, support of international colleagues, ethical behavior for the evaluation of tenure dossiers and manuscripts, norms for the profession, respect for the confidentiality of some materials
  • d. Draft statement to be distributed by email

7. Fundraising Report (Komar and Moebius)

  • a. Need to increase the number of institutional memberships
  • b. Relationship of goals in fundraising to the unique strengths of the ACLA
    • i. Increasing the institutional profile of the ACLA (handout)
    • ii. Liaison of Comparative Literature faculty with smaller institutions that have neither a program nor a department: ìscholars-on-callî
    • iii. Cultivation of a community college presence
    • iv. International emphasis with a fostering of both out-reach and scholarly exchange for students and faculty
    • v. Useful focus on literatures not always included in other rubrics
    • vi. Problem of competing for memberships and need for outreach
    • vii. Need to connect with other universities that are not traditionally associated with Comparative Literature
    • viii. Undergraduate membership

8. Finance Committee Report (Saussy)

  • a. Need to expand the numbers of investment funds
  • b. Need to explore forms of investment that are careful but more profitable

9. Report on 2005 Annual Meeting at Penn State (Eckhardt)

  • a. Large number of submissions (742): largely from Europe and North America with fewer non-Western papers Registration is now online (perhaps membership could also be online)
  • b. Keynote speaker is established and evening events are being planned
  • c. Discussion of how to encourage more submissions of papers from and about topics outside of North America and Europe
  • d. Discussion of the need for more faculty participation
    • i. Necessary for the conference's financial base
    • ii. Need for the conference to be represented more widely with faculty
    • iii. Approval that PSU reach out to a small number of high school teachers to come for a few sessions
    • iv. Financial estimate that, since banquet costs have been kept low to increase attendance (especially among students), there will not be a significant return on the conference for the ACLA
    • v. Sessions are starting to lose membership
    • vi. Program will be available online

10. Report on 2006 Annual Meeting at Princeton (Berman)

  • a. Conference to be held at the university, and the rooms are reserved
  • b. Conference Title: ìThe Human and its Others,î offering a consideration of various forms of the human and (in)human subject
  • c. Discussion of possible plenary speakers
  • d. Discussion of events: a session of writers who are international and interdisciplinary; an event with a band; events centered around theater; a conference exhibition; a film session; a session on funding

11. ADPCL Report (Eckhardt)

  • a. Proposed Constitutional Changes: 1) Replacement of graduate student representative and 2) addition of ADPCL President to the ACLA Advisory Board
  • b. These changes were approved by the board and will be circulated to the membership c. Financial report and summary of activities
    • i. Request that ACLA should report number of institutional memberships
    • ii. Preparation underway of the undergraduate curriculum document to encourage the participation of the undergraduate students

12. Report from Graduate Students: Job Session in Ann Arbor (Thuerwhaechter)

  • a. Useful session, with a questionnaire, whose results should be posted on the website after the 2005 session
  • b. Feedback on the conference included: praise for the job session; praise for the seminar format; concerns with funding, housing and transport
  • c. Job session topics:
    • i. Session on how to develop and design a CV and on how to get published for students and untenured faculty
    • ii. Session on how to revise an essay for journal submission
    • 1. Roundtable on placing papers in journals with participation by journal editors and a consideration of the full range of journals for comparatists