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Minutes for Board Meeting - January 2014

Minutes – American Comparative Literature Association Board Meeting
Chicago, IL 9 January 2014
  1. Discussion with Marshall Brown, University of Washington: the board reviewed with Marshall Brown the status of preparations for ACLA 2015 in Seattle.
  2. Presentation on the Humanities Commons project from Katina Rogers, Managing Editor, MLA Commons: Katina Roger of the MLA offered the board a brief presentation on the status of the MLA-lead initiative to expand the MLA commons into a “hub-and-spoke” model, in which other learned societies would create their own commons, using the MLA-developed technology, and then these commons would be linked seamlessly into a larger “Humanities Commons.” The board expressed interest in the idea, and agreed to pursue it further at their next meeting.
  3. Report on Upcoming Conferences (Beecroft): NYU 2014; Seattle 2015; Harvard 2016; Leiden 2017; possibility of UCLA 2018. Progress towards each of these upcoming conferences was reviewed, and found satisfactory. UCLA 2018 remains a possibility, with, however, questions concerning the costs of room rentals there.
  4. Report of the Nominations Committee (Hassan): candidates for Second Vice President, Program Committee Chair, Graduate Student Representative: Waïl Hassan informed the board of his committee’s proposed slate of candidates for our upcoming elections; the board approved that slate unanimously. There was also discussion of the difficulties involved in finding volunteers willing to serve on the ACLA’s prize committees.
  5. Report of the Finance Committee (Berman): draft budget for 2014: Jessica Berman provided an update on the current financial state of the organization, as of the end of the third quarter of 2013. Our finances are in good shape, with a modest surplus anticipated for 2014, subject to some uncertainty concerning the conference budget.
  6. Graduate Student Representatives: (10 mins)
    1. Sessions at next conference
    2. Update on newsletter and twitter feed
  7. Report of the Publications Committee:
    1. Negotiations with journals
    2. Book Subvention Program Update; First Book session at conference
Due to a flight delay, Sophia McClennan was unable to attend the board meeting, and so it was agreed to defer a more detailed discussion of journal proposals until after the conference. The board’s previous agreement to move beyond supporting a single journal was affirmed.

     8. Discussion of the State of the Discipline Report (Hayot): Eric Hayot updated the board on progress on the State of the Discipline Report. After a productive editorial board meeting at ACLx, progress was made on inviting submissions for the various categories of items which will appear on the website. Progress has also been made on the website itself, with Cyberwoven (the same company developing the ACLA’s own new website) in discussions to develop the report website
     9. Managing Growth (Beecroft):  it was noted that over four thousand people had submitted abstracts for this year’s conference, an increase of almost seventy percent over last year’s already record-breaking numbers. While there will be greater than usual attrition, due to the decision not to form seminars out of papers remaining in the general pool after seminar organizers have reviewed the pool, it is still anticipated that there will be over three thousand participants in New York. This increase in scale, if it continues, may have implications for how our organization does business. There was an agreement to look into the possibility of hiring additional staff, possibly a half-time position to work principally on finance. Discussion also began on possible strategies to manage the number of submissions now received, and to maintain and enhance the quality of the conference. Options discussed included the establishment of a divisional structure along the lines of the MLA, or of allowing or requiring a certain number of signed-up participants with a seminar proposal (possibly including a minimum number of faculty), or of eliminating the general pool as a submission option. It was agreed to defer the detailed version of this discussion until our March meeting.
The meeting adjourned at approximately 10:30 PM.
Respectfully submitted,
Alexander Beecroft,