Michael Davidson got this year's Modern Language Association convention started with a panel he'd organized for the Poetry Division in collaboration with the Division on Disability Studies. The scholars speaking on the topic of disability poetics at this roundtable included Petra Koopers, Jessica Lewis Luck, Janet Lyon, Heidi Rose and Susan Schweik. I believe this marked the first time I'd heard a discussion of the poetry of C.S. Giscombe at an MLA panel -- Hope to see more of that in the future.
There was a worthwhile pairing of panels later that day from the Division on Black American Literature and Culture on African American Studies in the Postrace Era and the question "Is There a Crisis in Black Research Publishing?" Many of us went to both, and so the discussion we started with the first panelists carried over to the next session, and on through the weekend.Spellman's Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper, who'd made an intriguing presentation from the point of view of HBCU students during that first session, was seen snapping photos, so I hope she'll upload hers somewhere soon.
The Film Division hosted another roundtable, on transmedia activism. Sure wish I could get the new media poetics people and the transmedia people into the same room some time so they could all hear each other.
Sad to say (but glad to hear her) Dana Williams is still the only person doing solid work on novelist Leon Forrest at the MLA. Come to think of it, a Chicago MLA was the scene of my meeting Forrest when Jerry Ward introduced us at lunch as the convention was wrapping up.
We were all feeling a bit surreal meeting at the MLA in January, so it seemed only fitting to go to Jonathan Eburne's session of the Association for the Study of Dada and Surrealism.
My watch melted halfway through.