In response to:
The Fruits of the MLA: I. "Their Wedding Journey" from the September 26, 1968 issue
To the Editors:
Readers of Lewis Mumford’s and Edmund Wilson’s recent remarks in The New York Review of Books concerning the Modern Language Association of America (MLA) may be interested in the following.
A group of people (graduate students, faculty, scholars, and teachers connected with the New University Conference) want to organize a series of activities and discussions around the Modern Language Association meeting, Dec. 27-29, in New York City. Several purposes are involved. The most immediate objective is to make the MLA more responsive to the demands of a society—and a university—in desperate need of radical change. As a long-range goal, some of us would like to consider the creation of a counter-movement within the MLA or outside it, if necessary.
During the three days of the conference we would like to do the following: 1) To stir things up People—especially graduate students—should begin worrying about and discussing what has brought them to the conference. 2) To give a forum to graduate students and young faculty. They are the most exploited and least listened to amongst us; the experience the MLA meeting as a corral and auction block; their grievances should be heard. 3) To discuss and develop curricula. 4) To formulate and introduce a series of resolution dealing with educational, professional, and political matters.
Our program for the meeting includes the following: 1) Thursday, Dec. 26, 7 P.M., Earl Hall Auditorium, Columbia University, 116th and Broadway. There will be a caucus open to all those interested in participating. The purpose of the caucus is to organize events for the three days of the MLA meeting. People are encouraged to discuss and formulate ahead of time proposals they would like to introduce at the caucus. 2) Friday, Dec. 27, evening. A large general meeting. Exact time and place to be announced. 3) Saturday, Dec. 28, 9 P.M., Party. Place to be announced.
We plan to be active at the conference’s business meeting, where we shall introduce a series of resolutions. We also intend to be at the special meeting which the MLA has called to discuss a proposed resolution on boycotting Chicago. Look for the time and place of these meetings in the Official MLA program. Other events will be announced.
Watch for our posters and leaflets!
If you have any questions call 212-MO3-0139, or 617-UN4-6900, ext. 5147, or write to Louis Kampf, 14N-418, M.I.T., Cambridge, Massachusetts.
Yours for peace and a free university,
Noam Chomsky (M.I.T)
Frederick Crews (Berkeley)
Florence Howe (Goucher)
Richard Ohmann (Wesleyan)
Paul Lauter (Antioch-Putney)
Louis Kampf (M.I.T.)
December 19, 1968