Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Gaurav Desai, Associate Professor of English, has been elected as Chair of the Delegate Assembly Organizing Committee of the Modern Language Association of America. The MLA, an organization of over 30,000 members in 100 different countries was established in 1883 to represent the interests of teachers of Modern languages and literatures. Among its activities are an annual conference, numerous journal and book publications as well as advocacy for the humanities in the public at large. Desai has been an active member of the MLA serving in various capacities over the years, including terms on the Executive Committees of the Division of English Literatures Other Than British and American, the African Literatures Division, the Division on Anthropological Approaches to Literatures as well as the Discussion Group on Postcolonial Approaches to Literature and Culture. He has served on the Advisory Board of the annual Profession published by the MLA and currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of its flagship journal PMLA. Desai recently published an edited volume on Teaching the African Novel as part of the MLA's prestigious Options for Teaching Series. He expects his tenure as Chair of the Delegate Assembly's Organizing Committee to be dominated by the central concern currently facing the profession – the fate of the humanities in a fiscally challenged environment. At the MLA conference in Philadelphia in 2009, Desai chaired a roundtable entitled "Academic Labor in Hard Times" a theme that has proven so pressing that it is being taken up as a central theme for the MLA conference that is being planned for the next MLA meeting in Los Angeles.
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