Tales from the MLA: profs and job seekers in the trenches

From the annual MLA conference taking place in San Francisco this weekend, bloggers report:

  • Bev, “English professor at a small college in the Midwest,” says the Hilton is a maddening labyrinth, so “I fought my way out this morning at 6 a.m. (because my body thinks it’s still in Ohio) and walked down Market Street to the Embarcadero and back, accompanied only by the snap-crackle-pop of the streetcars, the snoring of homeless people sleeping on the sidewalk, and the occasional frantic flutter of a flock of pigeons. … Store windows sparkle with dresses I can’t imagine wearing…”
  • The mass interview room at the Hilton, where dozens of career make-or-break interviews take place simultaneously, “is undignified and it stinks.” The same post cites another blogger who reported on a candidate “whose bag fell over spilling a veritable pharmacy of drugs across the floor.”
  • Another blogger reports: “I am not loving the MLA, as I never have loved the MLA. I’m insecure about my lame-ass institution; I can’t find anyone I know, nor did I do a remotely good job of setting up fun reunions… I’m likely to be eating most meals alone.”
  • In the Chronicle of Higher Education, Jennifer Howard reports, “This year the unofficial theme is ‘Who’s getting work at all?’ The numbers look terrible. Job listings in language-and-literature fields are down more than 22 percent from last year…”

The conference continues through Tuesday.

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