April 2-6, 2014, marked the 45th annual conference of the Northeast Modern Languages Association, held in Harrisburg, PA. Founded in 1967 and incorporated as part of the national MLA in 1969, NeMLA is a professional organization for English and Languages serving the northeast region of the US. The majority of NeMLA members are professors and graduate students from this region. This year, sixteen URI English department professors, alumni and graduate students participated in the conference as presenters, session organizers and session chairs.
Veteran NeMLA participant and current URI Ph.D. candidate Sara Murphy remarks, “As someone who [has] worked as a NeMLA fellow and has now presented at her third consecutive NeMLA conference, I can’t overemphasize what an important role this organization and conference has [had] in my academic life. Interacting with our current and former colleagues made the experience both professionally beneficial and personally pleasurable!” Murphy went on to highlight the level of involvement URI has had with the conference: “Not only is it a pleasure to present my scholarly research in a rigorous professional forum, but also, it’s a pleasure to have a space to reconnect with so many URI alumni and current graduate students.” Participating in events held by organizations like NeMLA provides graduate students the opportunity to showcase their own research and to network with scholars in their field from other institutions.
NeMLA allows prospective participants to submit work in multiple ways. One can either propose a panel or roundtable that will then solicit submissions through a call for papers, or, alternatively, one can submit his or her individual work to an already-existing panel or roundtable session. This year’s conference featured four sessions proposed and chaired by URI graduate students:
Rebekah Greene and Anna Brecke, “Victorian Saints and Sinners”
Sara Murphy and alumnus Don Rodrigues, “Power, Privilege, and the Politics of Recoherence”
Rebekah Greene and Jessica Grey, “Robert Burns and His Nineteenth-Century Literary Heirs”
Gabriel Romaguera, “Pedagogical Approaches to the Literature of the Caribbean Diaspora.”
Also presenting were current graduate students Michele Meek, Jenny Platz, Brittany Hirth, Gavin Hurley, and alumni Laurie Rodrigues, Laurie Ann Carlson and Eva Jones. This year’s conference featured several sessions on pedagogy, professional development, and writing and rhetoric. The full conference program can be found here.