Within the Modern Language Association, forums are the basic organizational unit to focus scholarly discussion around certain periods and topics in literary history. After a 2014 reorganization of the MLA’s structure, forums in Ming-Qing Chinese Literature and Modern and Contemporary Chinese Literature were successfully established; however, a third forum, in “Pre-14th Century Chinese Literature” failed to get the requisite number of endorsements, and has since languished in the status of a “prospective forum”.
Several scholars working in this field have decided to try to remedy this situation. Ancient and medieval Chinese literature is an important part of the world’s literary heritage which has extensively influenced the literary civilization of East Asia since earliest times, and which has had important worldwide influence since the advent of modernity. This field deserves full representation within the Modern Language Association.
All current MLA members who agree are asked to join us in endorsing the establishment of this forum, by posting their support by May 15 on the prospective forum homepage, here: https://mla.hcommons.org/groups/prospective-forum-llc-pre-14th-century-chinese/forum/topic/petition-22/. Endorsements from scholars working in this field are especially sought, but any MLA member who believes that this forum should be created is encouraged to voice their support. If the MLA judges that sufficient numbers of endorsements have been posted to this page by the May 15 deadline, it will start the process of formal organization of the forum.
Please forward this call for support to all sympathetic colleagues, and post on social media. Thank you!
Daniel Fried, Associate Professor
Department of East Asian Studies, University of Alberta