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2009 ACLS Annual Meeting

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The 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Council of Learned Societies took place at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel in Philadelphia, PA on May 7-9.  In attendance were members of the ACLS Board of Directors, delegates of the constituent societies, members of the Conference of Administrative Officers, presidents of the constituent societies, representatives of Affiliate organizations, representatives of college and university Associate institutions, ACLS Fellowship recipients, committee members, foundation representatives, and other invited participants.

The Board of Directors met on May 7. (Those in attendance are pictured at right.) For current membership, see Board and Committees.]

That evening, there was an informal session moderated by William E. Davis, executive director of the American Anthropological Association, entitled "Open Access and Journals Finance: Results of an Eight Society Study."

The Council met on May 8. At the Council meeting, Nancy J. Vickers, treasurer of the ACLS Board of Directors, and Herb Mann, chair of the Investment Committee, reported on ACLS finances. Voting members (Delegates of the member societies and members of the Board of Directors) approved the ACLS budget for FY10 and the following elections to the Board:

  •  Kwame Anthony Appiah, Laurance S. Rockefeller University Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University, was re-elected to a three-year term as chair.
  •  Jonathan Culler, Class of 1916 Professor of English and Comparative Literature, Cornell University, was re-elected to a four-year term as member.
  •  Teofilo Ruiz, professor of history, University of California, Los Angeles, was elected to a four-year term as member.

In her Report to the Council, President Pauline Yu discussed the challenges presented by the economic meltdown and the progress of ACLS in spite of these impediments.  She called special attention to the difficulties faced by younger scholars seeking to establish their careers at this uncertain moment.

As in recent years, the Council meeting concluded with a presentation by recent ACLS fellows on "Emerging Themes and Methods of Humanities Research." This year's speakers were Daniel Hoffman, ACLS Fellowship Program, 2008, assistant professor of anthropology, University of Washington; Ashley Marshall, Early Career Fellowship Program, 2008, doctoral candidate, English, Pennsylvania State University, University Park; and Samuel Moyn, Frederick Burkhardt Residential Fellowships for Recently Tenured Scholars, 2008, professor of history, Columbia University.

The Delegates, meeting earlier in the day, heard a report from Nicole Stahlmann, director of fellowship programs.  Following the Delegates meeting, a report on the recent activities of the National Humanities Alliance was presented by Jessica Jones Irons, executive director.

Don M. Randel, president of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, spoke at luncheon.

The topic of this year's program session was peer review and other means by which the scholarly community judges its own progress.  The panelists were Michael Brintnall, executive director, American Political Science Association; Charlotte Kuh, member, ACLS Board of Directors, deputy executive director, Policy and Global Affairs Division, and director, NRC Assessment of Research Doctorate Programs, National Research Council; Peter Struck, associate professor and undergraduate chair of classical studies, University of Pennsylvania; and Scott Waugh, executive vice chancellor and provost, University of California, Los Angeles.  The session was moderated by Carol Greenhouse, Princeton University, and chair, Executive Committee of the Delegates and member, ex officio ACLS Board of Directors, and included questions from the floor.

William Labov, John and Margaret Fassitt Professor of Linguistics and director of the Linguistics Laboratory, University of Pennsylvania, delivered the 2009 Charles Homer Haskins Lecture. The Annual Meeting concluded with a buffet supper in Professor Labov’s honor.

The Conference of Administrative Officers held their spring meeting on the following day, May 9 (read more).

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  • ACLS Board of Directors members in attendance

  • 2009 Haskins Lecturer William Labov

  • Pauline Yu with Andrew W. Mellon President Don M. Randel

  • ACLS Fellows Daniel Hoffman, Ashley Marshall, and Samuel Moyn

  • Panel on Scholarly Judgments of Academic Performance

  • at panel session

  • Bruce Berman and Carol L. Martin of the African Sudies Association

  • Delegates William C. Lubenow and Gerard Hauser

  • Delegates Thomas Bender and Jason Lavery with CAO member Bill Davis (center)

  • CAO Executive Committee members John J. Siegfried and Rona Sheramy (new chair)

  • Rosemary Feal and Catherine Porter of the Modern Language Association

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Media & Downloads

A Life of Learning by William Labov. HTML with audio clips. Published exclusively in electronic format.