For me, 2011 began in Los Angeles, at the Modern Language Association convention. As has been the case for the last
few years, I attended simply as a spouse — while I am nominally still in German Studies (via affiliated faculty status with the department of foreign languages & literatures), my primary academic home for the last 10 years has been in women’s centers and women’s and gender studies programs. I thus tended to think of the National Women’s Studies Association conference as my “work” conference and the MLA as a vacation (especially when it’s in LA in January).
Over the last year, however, I have both come “home” to German in some ways and also expanded my work on thinking about humanities graduate education and “#alt-ac” careers. Regarding the first, I had an article on German chick lit published and finally finished my book, which was published in November. I also taught an upper-level literature course on German women’s writing after years of teaching only first-year language — all of this has made me feel re-engaged with German as a discipline in a way I haven’t for quite a while.
On the #alt-ac front, 2011 has also been a good year — I started out the year by writing a post on the MLA and “alternate academics,” something I’ve long been interested in given my nontraditional career — and this was the year that two friends and I decided to pitch a workshop on the nonteaching job search to the MLA. It was not only accepted, but given one of the preconvention workshop time slots — and we recently learned that both the session and the waiting list are full. I’ve also been writing and tweeting more on the topic recently and am looking forward to possibly writing something on the topic in 2012.
So I will start 2012 in the same place I started 2011, at the MLA (in Seattle), but this time around, I’ll be there as a full participant, not just a visitor. I’m not just looking forward to Seattle, but already thinking about Boston in 2013 as I plan to stick around for a while this time.
Note: This is my response to the #reverb11 prompt for December 2. #reverb11 is online initiative to reflect on your year and manifest what’s next. Each day has a prompt. The December 2 prompt is: “Where did 2011 begin? How did this year’s accomplishment line up with last year’s goals? What did you accomplish?”