'Fake News,' 'Trump Terror' among topics at MLA conference

Neetu Chandak
New York Campus Correspondent

  • Professors from around the country gathered last weekend to discuss social justice hot topics in order to “denaturalize the elements that contribute to states of insecurity.”
  • More than 300 sessions addressed the central theme of "#States of Insecurity," discussing topics such as feminism, xenophobia, "fake news," and, of course, Donald Trump.
  • The conference also hoped to address university insecurities like “lack of job security” for faculty and conducting research in a “political and media climate in which facts don’t matter.”
  • Professors from around the country gathered last weekend to discuss social justice hot topics in order to “denaturalize the elements that contribute to states of insecurity.”

    Nearly 7,000 professors attended the 2018 Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention in New York City from January 4-7, where they discussed “strategies for navigating the crises of our time,” such as “political volatility, fluctuating financial markets, fear-mongering media, and increasingly hateful acts and rhetoric that contribute to a general sense of malaise.”

    "How do we conduct research in a political and media climate in which facts don’t matter?"   

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    The four-day event featured more than 800 sessions dedicated to addressing the theme #States Of Insecurity.

    “What does the pursuit of knowledge mean when students are indebted and faculty members lack job security?” the description asked. “How do we conduct research in a political and media climate in which facts don’t matter?”

    To address those concerns, the MLA held several sessions addressing issues like colonialism, feminism, xenophobia, and more.

    A session called “Feminist Pedagogy in Digital Spaces,” for instance, explored ways of promoting feminism without having to deal with microaggressions and trolls.

    According to the description, “digital spaces are a challenge for feminist discourse” because “platforms like Twitter amplify trolling and harassment, unmoderated online forums can become havens for misogyny, and being visible as a woman online is associated with sexual harassment and microaggressions.”

    [RELATED: Engineers baffled by ‘microaggression’ workshop at conference]

    Another workshop, “Learning through Failure: Feminism on Campus in the Years Ahead,” acknowledged that feminism is “at risk” on campus and posited that future progress for the movement may need to come through non-academic channels.

    More than 300 sessions were specifically related to the Presidential Theme of “#States of Insecurity,” including offerings like “Fake News,” “Trump Terror,” “Dystopia Today,” and “Reimagining Social Justice Concerns: Bringing Fantasy Fiction into the Classroom.”

    The MLA Convention bills itself the largest scholarly meeting for those in the humanities.

    Campus Reform reached out to the MLA for comment, but has not received a response.

    Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @neetu_chandak





    Neetu Chandak

    Neetu Chandak

    New York Campus Correspondent

    Neetu is a New York Campus Correspondent, and reports on liberal bias and abuse on her campus and around the state for Campus Reform. Neetu is a Communications major at Cornell University, where she works with Network for Enlightened Women.

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