A year ago, I did a short interview with Rosemary Feal, then the Executive Director of the Modern Language Association, ahead of the group’s annual conference in Philadelphia.
The interview was due to run in the Metro but never did. With a year passed and its hook gone, I run it here for all you grammar geeks because there just might be interest in hearing the thoughts of someone who told me: “I also love the semicolon, but that’s just my personal preference.”
Find what I submitted below.
The 125th annual convention of the Modern Language Association [came] to the Pennsylvania Convention Center from Dec. 27 to 30 . Metro speaks to Rosemary Feal, the executive director of the 30,000-member association for scholars of language and literature.
What can we expect out of an MLA conference?
A lot of professors speaking about literature, psalm, poems, TV shows and all the things that our professors teach in class. We have sessions on the literary history of Philadelphia, sessions on the future of education. We’ll also have film showings and authors reading from their work. You can also expect eight or 9,000 of us invading all the the wonderful restaurants in Philadelphia.
Why have the MLA conference in Philly?
We ask for bids, but we’re a very big convention, so we need a convention center and the hotels that can support us. Philadelphia is one of those cities that can do it. In the past decade, we’ve been there three times. It’s located right on the northeast corridor, by New York and D.C. Plus, people like to bring their families along, and Philadelphia offers great culture. Everybody finds the city easy to get around, exciting, safe, fascinating, and near to enough of our members that people can come from a lot of nearby cities.
What are you most excited about?
I’m most excited about the convention’s focus on translation. Maybe it doesn’t excite you, but it excites me. Think of all the stuff you read from other languages. You can only do that because of the work from bright people everywhere. We’re bringing in experts from around the world to talk about that impact. That’s exciting to me.
Anyone who has done an academic paper knows MLA works cited style. What do you like most about MLA over competitor Chicago style?
MLA style uses parenthetical references, and I love parenthetical references. If I’m quoting the Declaration of Independence, I don’t have to use footnotes. No footnotes. Parentheses are the way to go.