MLA independent scholars: an opportunity

Marla Harris is proposing a roundtable on independent scholars for the Southeast Atlantic Modern Language Association conference in November. It sounds terrific. Here’s the call for papers:

“Second-Class Scholars?: Outside the Ivory Tower, Off the Tenure Track”
Roundtable [SAMLA Nov. 8-10] Abstracts by 4/30
full name / name of organization:
SAMLA 2013 Conference, November 8-10, 2013, Marriott Atlanta Buckhead Hotel
& Conference Center, Atlanta, Georgia 30326
contact email:

Special Session

From MLA’s *Profession* and *The Chronicle of Higher Education* to *Inside
Higher Ed* and #*alt-academy: A Mediacommons Projec*t, the decline of
tenure-track research positions and the rise of alternate academic careers
have been duly noted, but what are the implications for those PhDs seeking
to research and write? A recent issue of *The Chronicle of Higher Education
*(21 Jan. 2013) highlighted the situation of independent scholars, and
mentioned the Ronin Institute for Independent Scholarship as a potentially
viable alternative to a bricks-and-mortar research university. This
roundtable, then, seeks independent scholars and adjunct faculty interested
in sharing their experiences of conducting research, attending conferences,
presenting papers, and publishing on the “margins” of academia. Possible
topics include: do you ever feel like a “second-class scholar”? Do you feel
that you are met with bias in certain academic situations? Is this
liminality productive, and if so, how? Do you work entirely on your own, or
have you found supportive communities near you or online, for instance,
through blogs or networking sites like What kinds of
obstacles, if any, have you encountered in terms of accessing materials,
applying for grants, and travelling to conferences? Have you faced
challenges in getting work published? Are traditional publishing avenues,
such as the refereed journal, important to you? Have you successfully
collaborated on projects with tenured academics or with other independent
scholars or adjuncts? How do you see older notions of scholarship changing,
and do you welcome those changes (or not)? Personal accounts are welcome,
as are thoughtful variations on the topic.

Proposals of 250-300 words, along with a brief CV, are due by April
30,2013, and may be emailed to For more information
about the conference, please visit SAMLA’s website:

Marla Harris, PhD
Independent Scholar

Watch for Amherst College Press

Amherst College is launching a new publishing venture that will issue peer-reviewed scholarly works online, free of charge. It will operate through the library rather than through any academic department or separate press. As far as I can discern, it is still in the planning stages. Keep an eye out.