2018 MLA Annual Convention

When: January 4-7, 2018
Where: New York, NY
Facilitators: Prof. Doris Sommer, Vialla Hartfield-Mendez, and Jason Courtmanche
Sessions: Two


Prof. Doris Sommer, Vialla Hartfield-Mendez, and Jason Courtmanche led two sessions of Pre-Texts at the 2018 MLA Annual Convention (January 4-7, 2018) in New York City. They read two texts, Clarice Lispector’s Amor and Michel Foucault’s “Panopticon” chapter.



Jason, Vialla, and I were stumped at the beginning, because we brought two very different texts– Clarice Lispector’s “Love” and Michel Foucault’s chapter on the Panopticon – in order to demonstrate that any kind of text can be raw material for Pre-Texts but the participants were divided about the choice. So, we tackled both. The first day went to Lispector and the following short sessions went to Foucault. Not forcing a decision turned out to be a good decision, because the demonstration of range was felt and not simply affirmed. We were all impressed, I think, that a relatively large group of 18 participants trudged through the snow the first morning, and that they were consistent in attendance.

  • Doris Sommer, Harvard University



This is what I have needed as a professor for years, and known that I needed it, but didn’t know where to find it! Pre-Texts will revolutionize my classroom and help students to see the nuance, power, and range of art-making as a way to engage with literature in memorable, unique, and meaningful ways!

  • Carrie Rohman, Lafayette College


Pre-Texts Folk Songs at the 2018 MLA Annual Convention: