Minutes of the meeting of the Committee of the Section of Literary and Theatrical Studies#

Wednesday 27 June 2018, 17:30 CET, by Skype

Present:

Professor Vladimir Biti (Chair); Professor Lucia Boldrini; Professor César Dominguez; Professor Vivian Liska; Professor Susana Onega.

1. Nominations

The 11 nominations received had been evaluated by the committee members, to reach final average scores. The areas of specialism of the nominees are varied and extend the profile of the Section, but we also noted that more foreign members (4 from China, 1 from Japan, 1 from the US) were nominated this time than ordinary members (1 each from Germany, Ireland, Poland, Sweden and the UK [Scotland]), and that regrettably, all nominees were male. The committee discussed strategies to encourage more female nominations. One obstacle to expand the field of nominees is the cost (some potential nominees, when approached, declined on discovery that there has to be a payment).

2. Activities

The Chair briefly summed up the events organized by the Section:
  • two panels at the AE-ALLEA meeting in Budapest in September 2017: Sacrificial Narratives (chaired by Vladimir Biti and with papers to be published in the peer-reviewed journal Frontiers of Narrative Studies) and Story-telling and Resilience: The Function of Literature in the Overcoming of Trauma (chaired by Susana Onega); each was attended by 6 participants.
  • A conference on The Idea of Europe: The Clash of Projections was organized, under the auspices of the Academia Europaea, by the Chair and two section members (Vivian Liska, Joep Leerssen) in September 2017 and was attended by four further Section members; a selection of papers will be presented in the Brill series European Studies.

Events organized by members of the section, incl. members of the Committee, had not always attracted many members form other sections. Strategies discussed included: Events should be advertised as early as possible and members of other Sections should be contacted in advance of advertising to encourage, or explicitly seek, active participation (rather than just attendance), and we should seek to co-organize events. It was noted that when asked to prepare proposals for the Humanities Class panel in Barcelona, the Chair of the Section of Literary and Theatrical Studies was the only one who did so, and that he did not receive any help from other section chairs in organizing it. Efforts must be mutual for such events to succeed.

Professor Ben Hutchinson had contacted the Chair to encourage the establishment of a special webpage on which the Section members would present their projects and activities to each other. Since the editing of such a page would be a time-consuming task, he will be asked by the Chair to specify his proposal in this regard.

3. Committee Members

The term of office of some members (SO; LB) expired at the end of 2017, but they were happy to continue to serve for another term.

It was decided that 5 committee members is a fair number but views were divided on whether it should be extended to 6. SO reiterated the candidacy of a Section member who had been previously identified in the list of potential new Committee members to be invited, on grounds that we should follow decisions previously agreed, but the majority felt that the Committee should have the freedom to revise decisions when circumstances changed and/or these decisions turned out to be at odds with the rules established by the AE Section Committees Policy. It was observed that the current membership represents a variety of countries and specialisms, but we do not have a theatre specialist, which is part of our remit, or a member from Germany, one of the largest constituencies of the Section (although we have a specialist of German literature / literature in German).

The Chair proposed that the list of the full membership of the Section should be checked, and a name or names identified that could complement the existing range of scientific and linguistic expertise and geographical variation; LB, VL, CD agreed. SO expressed her opinion that this should be the 7th member and that the previously identified candidate should be included.

4. Any Other Business

The next AE conference will be in Barcelona in November, and we should start considering any plans for future activities.

SO suggested that meetings should be planned to coincide with the AE conference; however these are always at the end of November, which is a difficult time for many Committee members as it coincides with teaching. LB suggested that we can meet more than once a year – in November if possible, with some joining by Skype and others being there in person, but that planning of events could include the plan for a committee meeting in person whenever possible, as this would facilitate attendance and help with costs.

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