What is our relationship to the MLA?
The Subconference is in no way affiliated with or endorsed by the Modern Language Association.
Why are we holding an independent conference? How will this conference be different than a traditional academic conference?
The purposes of the Subconference are not simply to reproduce the format and outcomes of a traditional academic conference. Our aim is to take a recognizable and traditional form and produce a necessarily urgent call for conversation, information sharing, and, ultimately, action. This is a Call for Papers that doesn’t stop at Papers, but only starts there.
We chose to organize around the conference, however, in order pose a direct contrast between the way that an academic, professional institution responds to the problem of precarity and vulnerability and the other forms of response that it can marginalize, obscure, and sometimes dismiss. It is these latter forms that we hope to cultivate and begin to cohere into useful tactics for intervention into our immediate workplaces and the larger structure of higher education.
Without wanting to proscribe outcomes in advance of an inaugural event, it is the organizing committee’s hope that responses like direct and collective action, community organizing, coalition and solidarity building with non-academic workers, etc. will be not only discussed at the event, but also actively coordinated for use in the immediate future.
In short, the conference will attempt to move beyond the discourse of a “crisis” in the humanities and instead pose the question of the necessary end of the university as we know it today in order for there to be a meaningful future for access to and affordability of quality higher education.
If I am not a graduate student, an adjunct, or an otherwise contingent worker, can I still participate?
Yes! We are interested in participation from any and all workers in higher education and beyond. For the purposes of presentations, panels, and workshops we will give preferential treatment to those who are currently in contingent appointments *or* who are currently unemployed or employed outside of academia but have academic backgrounds. This preference is in alignment with our desire to highlight the experiences of those in the most precarious working conditions.
Nonetheless, we want to have a diverse and robust engagement of academics at all levels and we encourage you to attend, participate in workshops and discussions, and to assist in organizing the conference in any way you can. Writing a blog post, circulating the CFP, volunteering some time at the conference, offering your organizing expertise–these forms of contribution are all very appreciated and absolutely necessary.
How is this project being funded?
Any and all funds for the projects will be donated on a voluntary basis. The conference has no official financial support. We are currently in the process of deciding on the most effective way to handle donations, but for now please email us at MLAsubconference@gmail.com to let us know you are interested.