MINUTES OF THE BUSINESS MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE COUNCIL
de l’Association Internationale de Littérature Comparée / of the International Comparative Literature Association (hereafter the Association)
University of Vienna; 19-20 July 2016.
In attendance: Hans-Joachim Backe, Sandra Bermann, Hans Bertens, Jean Bessière, Lucia Boldrini, CHO Sung-won (on July 20), Manfred Engel, Dorothy Figueira (beginning during the afternoon on July 19), John Burt Foster, Massimo Fusillo, Isabel Capeloa Gil, HASHIMOTO Yorimitsu, HITAISHI Noriko (for the morning on July 19), Peter Hajdu, Ute Heidmann, Achim Hölter, KAMIGAITO Ken’ichi (on July 20), Kathleen Komar, Marc Maufort, Kitty Millet (beginning in the afternoon on July 19), Chandra Mohan, Jean-Marc Moura, Suzanne Nalbantian (beginning during the afternoon on July 19), PARK Sowon, Anders Pettersson, E.V. Ramakrishnan, Haun Saussy, Manfred Schmeling, Monica Schmitz-Emans, Márcio Seligmann-Silva, Karen-Margrethe Simonsen (on July 20), Steven Sondrup, Monica Spiridon, William Spurlin, Anne Tomiche, YANG Huilin, and ZHANG Longxi.
Unable to Attend: Christine Baron, Lisa Block de Behar, Wiebke Denecke, Theo D’haen, Bernard Dieterle, César Domínguez, ŌSHIMA Hitoshi, and ZHOU Xiaoyi.
First Session: July 19, 10:05 am.
The Association’s President, Hans Bertens, opened the session with brief remarks and thanked Achim Hölter and the University of Vienna for hosting the Association’s annual business meeting as well as its twenty-first Congress. Achim Hölter then made several announcements about the timing of three special events, including afternoon visits to both the Leopold Museum and the Austrian National Library, along with a banquet that evening at the Palais Ferstel.
The minutes of the Council’s two-day business meeting in Lisbon, at the Catholic University of Portugal, in June 2015, were approved unanimously. The agenda for this year’s meeting was also approved, with several rearrangements in the order due to the late arrivals of several colleagues as a result of their academic schedules.
President Hans Bertens then gave his report. After thanking the Association’s other officers for their assistance over the past year, he mentioned the revisions of the Statutes that would be voted upon in the election during the Vienna Congress. He went on to discuss his efforts to finalize plans for holding our 2019 Congress in China. After continuing to explore the possibilities of meeting at Beijing Normal University, he had learned that use of that venue had run into difficulties. Very recently, however, with the assistance of colleagues in the Chinese Comparative Literature Association, he had received an offer from Shenzhen University in southern China, located between Guangzhou and Hong Kong. A representative from the CCLA would make an initial presentation at the next day’s session of the business meeting. President Bertens was also pleased to announce that he had found a senior scholar, Professor Mohamed-Salah Omri of Oxford University, who had agreed to set up a committee to start work on a comparative literary history of the Islamic world. The President’s report was accepted by acclamation.
John Foster reported on his activities as the Association’s senior secretary. He had had to prepare the minutes of the 2015 business meeting on the basis of notes furnished by the French secretary Miceala Symington, who had become incapacitated and was eventually forced to resign. Anne Tomiche had generously translated the minutes into French, and Foster hoped that next year the Association could return to its usual practice of having the composition of the official French text come before its translation into English. In the months before the 2016 business meeting, he worked with the President to prepare the agenda, and he gathered, amalgamated, and distributed all the reports for that meeting.
The upcoming elections were a major issue. In addition to preparing a qualifications booklet based on information about the candidates furnished by the Nominations Committee, he investigated the issues posed by an electronic election. At a meeting with the President at the American CL Association conference in March, the two of them reached the decision that the Association had to continue with the traditional on-site election, using paper ballots cast by members at the Congress and valid proxies from members unable to attend. In addition to the high cost of an electronic election, another significant concern had been major difficulties in establishing reliable membership lists for use in such an election.
The secretary concluded his report by emphasizing that his experience over the past year had shown the crucial importance of having two secretaries who could work together as a team. The secretary’s report was accepted with a unanimous vote.
Two of the three treasurers gave their reports, with KAMAGAITO Ken’ichi’s report being deferred to the next day due to his late arrival from Japan. Hans-Joachim Backe noted the good financial health both of the European/African treasury and of the Balakian Prize account for which he is also responsible. Due to the large subvention granted to Garnier to lower the cost of the proceedings of the 2013 Paris Congress, there was a small decline in the total amount of funds held by this treasury, which nonetheless still amounted to €80,500 ($89,500). Backe also reported progress in devising and making use of an online spreadsheet to gather the information that the Association needs about the members of its national affiliates. Ultimately, this new procedure, which he was able to test with the cooperation of the Société française de littérature générale et comparée, will make it easier to merge our many national lists of members into a general membership list and to keep updating that list. Kathleen Komar, the treasurer for the Americas, was able to report a large increase in the resources of her treasury, which had relatively few expenses to offset a revenue of more than $15,000, resulting in a balance of almost $75,000. To simplify the collection of dues from the Latin American affiliates (meaning for the moment Argentina, Brazil, and Peru), she has arranged for her university to accept credit card transactions, an essential precondition for online payment. The reports of these two treasurers received unanimous approval.
Marc Maufort followed with his report as the new editor of Recherche littéraire / Literary Research (RL/LR), a position that he assumed several months after last year’s business meeting, which had left the question of who would succeed Dorothy Figueira unresolved. Despite the potential danger of this hiatus, Maufort was able to report a great success, for which he thanked both Dorothy Figueira, who had visited Brussels in September to help with the transition, and the expertise of Jenny Webb, who continues to manage the production of RL/LR for an annual remuneration of $6000 and who has been given the title of assistant editor. Volume 32 of the journal had just appeared in an online version with the unprecedented length of 216 pages, consisting of several essay-length discussions of topics central to comparative literary studies, of 27 reviews of comparative work from around the world, of commentary on four comparative literature conferences, and of reports from the Association’s research committees. Maufort laid particular emphasis on his achievement of a greater parity in the Association’s commitment to Franco-English (or Anglo-French) bilingualism, and he was also encouraged by the willingness shown by members of the Executive Council to contribute reviews. Volume 33 was already in progress, with a deadline of February 1, 2017, for the contributors of essays and reviews.
Regarding distribution of the journal, Maufort reported that the current issue had just been posted on the Association’s website, where it was readily available for downloading. Arrangements had been made with Amazon for a print on-demand option, so that members wanting a hard-copy issue of the journal could obtain one at minimal cost. Debate over the merits of online publication brought out its advantages: a readily searchable text, the economies of bypassing ever-increasing postal costs, and the freedom to commission longer reviews. At Marc Maufort’s request, the meeting approved two extra payments: one of $400 so that the authors of reviews in the 2016 issue could receive a hard copy of the journal and another of $500 as compensation for the artist who had designed the cover. The Council also reaffirmed its commitment to support the journal with an annual sum of €5000 per year to be paid to Marc Maufort over the four years of his editorship. His report met with unanimous approval.
Attention turned next to the persistent issue of maintaining the Association’s membership list. Hans Bertens reported that Steven Sondrup had given up responsibility for both the Website and the mailing list. (Incidentally, the Website is housed with Bluehost, a web hosting company.) He pointed out that under current conditions the Association has been regularly running a surplus, so that it should be possible to hire a paid assistant; he recommended that the new president should decide who that person should be. It would be convenient for ZHANG Longxi if the webmaster lived nearby in south China, but the website itself should remain with Bluehost, to avoid the need to reconstruct the webpage. It was estimated that maintenance of the website would average five hours per week. The ensuing discussion recognized that the website and the membership list were linked issues but to some extent should be kept separate. Hans-Joachim Backe pointed out that all direct contact with the national affiliates needed to be done by officers of the Association, not by a paid assistant, who could, however, be asked to do the technical work required to produce a master list using the membership information made available to the treasurers. Anne Tomiche urged that from this perspective there had to be a radical separation between the website and other clerical activities on the one hand and the Association’s direct contacts with the national affiliates.
Achim Hölter then gave a preliminary report on the Association’s upcoming Congress. Despite the organizing team’s efforts, they had had problems in following through on a plan to require that everyone wanting to give a paper should become a member of the Association, most notably when the influx of proposals exceeded the organizers’ abilities to reply. The absence of a master list of members was also a problem.
Another thorny issue involved the scope and nature of the published proceedings. The Association’s research committees generally sponsor publications of their own, apart from any Congress volumes. Publishers often have doubts about multilingual publications, such as would necessarily result from a Congress that accepted presentations in English, French, and German. Peer reviews of the papers, though essential, will mean that some submissions will be excluded. All these issues are still in flux, and Achim Hölter plans to submit a more detailed proposal to the new Executive Council next week.
Discussion touched on the possibility (or the unwelcome need) of having the proceedings be monolingually in English. Kathy Komar brought up the advantages of the more selective model of paper acceptances represented by the Paris proceedings, and Anne Tomiche mentioned her experience that many presenters did not seem to consider their papers worth submitting and that after peer review the 500 papers that they did receive were reduced to a final number of 170. The entire editorial process had taken three full years. Looking ahead to Achim Hölter’s report next week, Isabel Gil raised the question of whether it was really necessary to have Proceedings. Discussion ended with the meeting accepting his report in a spirit of unanimity.
Norbert Bachleitner, chair of the Presentation Selection Committee (the Comité de Tri) added to this discussion by reporting that there had been a rejection rate of 10 to 15 per cent when his group evaluated the 2400 paper proposals for the Vienna Congress. He expressed satisfaction with the cooperation he had received from the Executive Council in assisting the work of the local committee. His report was unanimously approved.
Monika Schmitz-Emans reported on the work of the Balakian Prize Committee. They had received one submission in Spanish, which none of the members was competent to evaluate; but she had found two outside readers who were willing to help out. She was disappointed that there had been only five submissions this time, down from ten in 2013, and hoped that more could be done to publicize the prize. Despite this situation, one of the submissions was clearly deserving of the prize. Brodsky Translating Brodsky, by Alexandra Berlina from the University Essen-Duisburg in Germany, had received the committee’s unanimous approval. Hans Bertens reported that Dr. Berlina would be on hand to receive the prize at the second General Assembly. Monika Schmitz-Emans had written a citation for the award, but a prior commitment would keep her from attending that assembly. It was agreed that a substitute would be found, perhaps Eugene Eoyang, who had been a member of the committee. (In the end, the citation was read by Manfred Schmeling, using language that relied to a considerable extent on Eoyang’s report for the Balakian Committee.) The Schmitz-Emans report received unanimous approval.
The next item on the agenda was Haun Saussy’s report on his progress in establishing a Committee for a Comparative History of East Asian Literatures. He is still recruiting members for this project, is grateful for suggestions from the Executive Council over the past year, and will be meeting with some new prospects during the Vienna Congress. He reminded the meeting of the project’s ambitious scope, of its lack of any substantial precedent, and of the demands that it placed upon the contributors’ specialized knowledge, particularly of the pre-modern period before 1850. Chandra Mohan commented on the relevance of the spread of Buddhism, especially with the questions it raised about language differences and its distinctive attitude towards translation, which allowed for very free renditions of sacred texts. Zhang Longxi gave his strong endorsement of the project.
At this point Achim Hölter announced that he had arranged for a 1:00 luncheon at one of the University’s dining facilities, and the morning session was adjourned.
Second Session: June 19, 2:00 pm.
The afternoon session opened with a joint presentation by Chandra Mohan and E.V. Ramakrishnan, which proposed that the time-limited Research Committee on Literary and Cultural Interrelationships between India, its Neighboring Countries, and the World, which had just completed in second three-year term, be reconstituted. That committee would be replaced by a Standing Research Committee on South Asian Literatures and Cultures. Chandra Mohan pointed out that, given the long history and richness of the South Asian material, there was a clear need for a committee that would not be constrained by strict term limits. E.V. Ramakrishnan added that the committee’s long historical perspective would include cultural and literary relationships with the rest of the world that had taken place before colonialism. When Hans Bertens asked about more detailed plans for research, categories like slavery, gender, race, and caste were mentioned along with the larger issue that clarifying the complex Indian situation would bring the nature of European complexity into sharper focus. CHO Sung-won raised the issue of Southeast Asia and its connections with South Asia. Steven Sondrup added that the proposed new committee would be a massive undertaking, and that at least at present the Association’s project on the literatures in European languages has had a sharper focus. Mohan replied by mentioning the funding that the project has received from the Indian government. Because the earlier research committee had now reached its two-term limit, this proposal opened the way for continued work. The Executive Council gave unanimous consent to a reconfiguration of the previous committee into the proposed Standing Research Committee, to be co-chaired by Chandra Mohan and E.V. Ramakrishnan.
Jean-Marc Moura gave his report on the current state of the Association’s efforts to re-register as an organization incorporated in France under the “loi de 1901,” with its “home” in Paris at 17 rue de la Sorbonne. There have been delays in obtaining the new authorizing document, but the situation should be fully resolved by the end of this year. The President intervened at this point to indicate that he had received the official confirmation in question. Jean-Marc Moura has also consulted extensively with the President on some proposed revisions to the Statutes, to be discussed later in this meeting. His report was approved by the Council without any exceptions, and it was agreed that Professor Moura should reimbursed for any payments that he had had to make to register the Association.
The report of the Research Committee, which had received no proposals for establishing new research groups, was accepted without discussion.
John Foster, as the Association’s secretary, discussed the arrangements for the upcoming election. In light of the problems with arranging an electronic election, he had designed paper ballots that first asked voters to ratify three changes to the statutes, most importantly one that offered a clearer classification of the Association’s committees as administrative, standing research, or term-limited research. Members would also ratify the choices for president, the two secretaries, and the three treasurers, as well as voting privileges for the chairs of the four standing research committees (literary theory, translation, coordinating [CHLEL], and gender). There would be contests among the six candidates for vice president, and among the thirty-one candidates for assessor. With fifty separate items to tabulate, he would need a sizeable group of volunteers to count the ballots, and he appealed to the Council for help. Anders Pettersson noted, however, that the many members who were themselves up for election should not get involved in handling the vote.
Given the lack of an authoritative membership list, it was decided that Foster should ask prospective voters what national affiliate they belonged to, and accept their answers as truthful, rather consulting the various lists in his possession. He should allow non-members to join the Association after paying the usual €10 or $10 membership fee. With regard to proxy votes, when he pointed out that an earlier revision of the Statutes had inadvertently removed the language that limited members to no more than two proxies, the President informed him that he could not assume that this rule could still be applied. It would have to be reinstated in some future revision of the Statutes. (Foster had already notified voters of the old rule, and as it turned out no voter presented more than two proxies. As a practical matter, someone undertaking to vote twenty proxies on this ballot would have faced a long and tedious task.)
In Theo D’haen’s absence the Nominations Report, which had already been extensively discussed at the Lisbon meeting, was accepted. Some questions were raised about whether the nominees still needed to be approved by the Executive Council, but the President pointed out that they had already received this approval at the 2015 business meeting. As for any new nominations from the membership, the deadline for that process had already passed two weeks ago, and the ballots that had already been prepared did not need to be changed.
The next item of business concerned the connection of the Association’s Bulletin to its Website. The president announced that henceforth the website should be used for posting material of the kind that had formerly appeared in the Bulletin. Marc Maufort added that the website’s French side urgently needed updating.
As the result of a request from the South African affiliate for a reduction in its annual membership fee, occasioned by a drastic devaluation of the South African rand, the President explained that over the years such reductions had been accorded on an ad hoc basis to other national organizations. How should such requests be handled? Manfred Engel moved that the treasurers be mandated to arrange for any such reductions at their own discretion, but that they had to inform the president of these negotiations for a lower fee, which should only be granted in exceptional cases. The Executive Council will consider these decisions by the treasurers at the time of their annual reports, and has the power to confirm or reject them. This motion was unanimously accepted.
Anne Tomiche reported that preparation of the 2013 Proceedings took somewhat longer than expected. The six bilingual volumes, each addressing a particular topic divided into two or three subtopics, should appear with a Garnier imprint in Autumn 2017. Comparatists will find that all quotations appear in the original language, followed by translations into the language in which the article was written. Anne Tomiche thanked the Association for its contribution of €10,000, which lowered the price of the individual volumes to a reasonable level.
William Spurlin gave his farewell report as chair on the activities of the Research Committee on Gender, and thanked the Executive Committee for the financial support it had given to assist in the Committee’s participation in a conference in South Africa. Over the past year the committee had organized a three-day seminar at the March meeting of the American CL Association and a session at the May meeting of the Canadian CL Association; and it was sponsoring five sessions at the upcoming Vienna Congress. Various publication projects were currently in progress. After Anders Pettersson noted that the report should have included a list of committee members, the Executive Council accepted the report without calling for a vote.
Having just returned from Beijing, Hans Bertens took the floor to report on plans for the 2019 Congress. In June he had learned that the anticipated bid from Beijing Normal University had run into trouble. An initial, perhaps unrelated difficulty, had occurred with the mention of Taiwan on the Association’s website and with the way of several participants from that location had been identified in a preliminary version of the Congress program. The name of Taiwan had accordingly been removed from the program by the Vienna organizers, and Steven Sondrup added that the Taiwan reference on the website had been altered in a suitable manner. In addition, the President had authorized Achim Hölter to explain the change in the program in a letter to President of the island’s CL Association by citing the model set by UN Resolution 2758 issued in October 1971.
Later, however, the President learned that the emissaries from Beijing Normal University who were to explain their bid at both the business meeting and the ICLA General Assembly had not been allowed to leave China. Yang Huilin intervened at this point with an explanation: conferences with more than a thousand participants, such as the ICLA was likely to organize, would need special approval, especially if they included more than 100 foreign scholars. Given this level of uncertainty, our colleagues in the Chinese CL Association had proposed Shenzhen University, in south China near Hong Kong and Guangzhou, as a substitute. President Bertens then announced that Professor Cao, the president of the CCLA, would give a PowerPoint presentation the next morning, with information about the city, the university, and possible plans for the Congress. The Executive Council then adjourned for the day, in time to accompany Achim Hölter on a guided tour of the Leopold Museum with its collection of paintings from the Austrian Secession art movement.
Third Session: July 20, 10:10 am.
The second morning session opened with KAMAGAITO Ken’ichi’s report as Asian Treasurer, which had been delayed due to his late arrival from Japan. He reported a balance of about $78,000, to which about $3000 could be added once he receives the expected contributions from the Chinese, Indian, and Korean associations. In general, despite some decline in the value of the yen vis-à-vis the dollar, the Asian treasury was in a healthy condition, and should be able to finance at least one research project. Here President Bertens intervened with the clarification, which he had already advanced in previous business meetings, that the Executive Council has the responsibility to decide on financial support for research projects, not any of the treasurers. On learning of the shift in the venue of the 2019 Congress from Beijing to Shenzhen, KAMAGAITO Ken’ichi remarked on the stark contrast between the broad cultural significance of the first site compared to the ultramodern flavor of the new venue. The Executive Council accepted his report.
Karen-Margrethe Simonsen, the newly elected chair of the Coordinating Committee for a Comparative History of Literatures in the European Languages, then gave her report. Two new books marked the past year’s activities of this committee, one on orality and the other on literary hybrids. Three other books are nearing completion and should appear before next year’s business meeting, and the committee’s realism project, involving the last of its volumes on the major literary periods in the European literatures, had received a large grant from the UK’s Leverhulme Trust. Professor Simonsen concluded with three requests for financial support, each of €2000: two of them for translations for the books on Migrant Literatures and Transatlantic Literatures and the other for photo permissions needed by the Nordic Literatures project. She also included a special application, in the amount of €13,120, for a seminar and book on comparative literary history. This project would consider the accomplishments and prospective new directions in this area of literary study on the fiftieth anniversary of the formation of the Coordinating Committee, but in addition to honoraria for the speakers it had substantial outlays for airfares and food.
The president remarked that Executive Council needed to take three separate decisions. (1) On the committee report, the EC was unanimously in favor of approval. (2) To the total request of €6000 to advance the publication of the three volumes in the last stages of production, the EC also gave its full consent. (3) After a sustained discussion, the Executive Council decided to defer any decision about the anniversary seminar until the new Executive Council could meet after the second General Assembly. In particular, questions were raised regarding the special intellectual significance of the seminar, the lower level of support that the Association generally gives to this committee’s activities without regard to merit per se, and especially the possibilities of raising money from other sources, for example the academic institution where the seminar will be held or the many funding agencies which support activities of this kind. It was also indicated that the sum requested seemed quite large given that the Association limited its support for entire Congresses to €10,000, and that the costs seemed more in line with a gala celebration than with an intellectual or scholarly event. Traditionally, when the Association has made grants, it has done so in the form of “seed money” that was a small fraction of the proposed budget rather than providing full funding.
Sowon Park’s report on the past year’s activities of the Research Committee on Literary Theory stressed the successes of the committee’s recently created website and of its decision to put an invited lecture at the center of their annual symposia. This year’s meeting will take place at the Vienna Congress, with the 2017 meeting scheduled for Berlin; papers presented at several previous meetings are appearing in Neohelicon and in a book published with Brill. This report was accepted with no dissenting votes.
Chandra Mohan’s report on the final year’s activities of the Research Committee on the Literary and Cultural Interrelationships between India, its Neighboring Countries, and the World emphasized the ambitious program of papers that it had organized for the Vienna Congress. He also listed the impressive number of publications that the committee had sponsored during the six years of its existence as well as its success in establishing a number of new comparative literature programs throughout India. Gerald Gillespie, speaking as an observer of the Association’s activities over four decades, was impressed by this “wave of development,” for which the ICLA could take credit as a stimulating force and a “seed planter.” He ventured to suggest that India had perhaps moved past East Asia in the extent of its commitment to comparative research. Chandra Mohan responded that he had in fact been surprised by the support that institutions and funding sources inside India had given to comparative literature. His report was accepted.
Sandra Bermann, in reporting on the activities of the Translation Committee, mentioned that the new, revived committee took special pleasure in reconnecting with members of the old committee, such as Assumpta Camps, from Spain. Bermann is interested in expanding the committee’s scope beyond the presentation of scholarly papers, with the goal of reaching a broader public with ideas about translation and with specific examples of its practice. E.V. Ramakrishnan intervened with comments about the importance of translation in India, and about the need for translation theory to take into account how translation functioned elsewhere in the world. Sandra Bermann’s report was accepted without the need for a formal vote.
Professor CAO Shunqing, Dean of Literature and Journalism at Sichuan University, was the next colleague to speak. In presenting Shenzhen University’s offer to host the 2019 Congress, he made it clear that the Chinese CL Association, of which Professor Cao is the president, associated itself directly with the proposal. The city of Shenzhen, founded in the 1980s as a window for China on the world, now has 14 million residents; it has the country’s fourth busiest airport and is also just a half hour from Hong Kong. The university, which has traditionally had close connections with the CCLA, celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015. To KAMAGAITO Ken’ichi’s question about the source of funding for the Congress, Professor Cao stated that both the University and a number of local companies could be counted on for support. Kamagaito also wondered whether any difficulties might arise as a result of Shenzhen’s distance from other Chinese cities with significant numbers of ICLA members. Professor Cao went on to envision a Congress with around one thousand participants that would be held sometime in July 2019 with the theme of “World Literature and the Future of Comparative Literature.” ZHANG Longxi suggested that the theme perhaps put too much emphasis on the twentieth century. Recognizing that the proposal was still in a preliminary form, the Executive Council decided to go ahead with plans to have Professor Cao present Shenzhen University’s bid to the second General Assembly, on Wednesday, July 27.
Suzanne Nalbantian followed with a report for the Research Committee on Literature and Neuroscience. This year’s theme, which resulted in a full roster of papers at the Vienna Congress, was cultural memory, and is an example of the committee’s practice of choosing well-focused topics for discussion on a year-by-year basis. The Oxford volume on creativity mentioned last year will include 10 papers by neuroscientists, including two extremely well-known authorities, and 10 papers drawn from literary studies and other branches of the humanities. The committee’s resolutely interdisciplinary agenda has raised one difficult issue, namely how to finance the participation of scientists given that their funding agencies generally do not support work of this kind. Nonetheless, Nalbantian has found ways to continue, and requests that Executive Council approve a second three-year term for this Research Committee. Her report was approved, and the committee received the requested second-term extension.
YANG Huilin, chair of the Research Committee on Scriptural Reasoning and Comparative Literature, delivered that committee’s report. Among a variety of interdisciplinary, intercultural, and interreligious seminars, conferences, and publications, he laid particular emphasis on the committee’s collaboration with a group researching the politics of translation in the context of the English and Chinese languages. At stake was a major translation project that would make a wide variety of English-language materials about China available in Chinese, for which a grant in the amount of €140,000 had been received. To Dorothy Figueira’s question about whether this research committee included Jews, Catholics, Muslims, and Hindus, Yang Huilin responded that its emphasis lay largely on Chinese-Christian relations, but that both Protestants and Catholics were included in the committee’s work. The report of this committee was accepted with unanimous approval.
The Research Committee on Dream Cultures: The Literary and Cultural History of the Dream, represented this year by its co-chair Manfred Engel, requested a second three-year mandate for its activities. Its original application had outlined a series of five books on various aspects of its subject; one of them has now been published and a second is being prepared. The group has also organized a number of workshops and seminars and has been successful in obtaining full outside funding for several international workshops. After President Hans Bertens commented on this committee’s notable success, the Engels report was accepted and the request for a second three-year term was approved.
In presenting the report of the Research Committee on Religion, Ethics, and Literature, Kitty Millet emphasized the committee’s dynamic expansion since its inception in 2014. One of her goals has been to locate comparative literature scholars who no longer had a direct affiliation with comparative literature organizations, affiliations of a kind that her committee could facilitate. She had made use of other national CL associations to jump start membership, and her committee now includes 40 colleagues. There is a significant involvement of younger scholars, along with an effort to forge senior/junior partnerships. In line with these policies she has made an effort to work with a publisher that is more globally oriented than many university presses, and has succeeded in establishing a relationship with Bloomsbury. Dorothy Figueira mentioned the three panels that the committee had sponsored at the Vienna Congress, and Kitty Millet added that in general Religion, Ethics, and Literature had organized a robust series of panels at conferences of the American CL Association and the CL Association of India. As with his remarks about another committee with many members (the Committee on Gender), Anders Pettersson observed that a full membership list should have been included with the annual report. Kitty Millet’s report was accepted by the Executive Council.
Isabel Capeloa Gil gave her report on the formation of a new administrative committee for Early Career Development in Comparative Literature; this committee had been authorized at the Lisbon business meeting. Professor Gil has now chosen the members for this committee, outlined its main objectives, and plans to hold a meeting with early career scholars during the Vienna Congress. In the discussion, Sandra Bermann offered enthusiastic support, and William Spurlin pointed out that this committee allowed the Association to stay in better touch with how the field was changing and to monitor the training of doctoral students at various sites around the world. Should there be an ICLA fund for early career travel to international congresses, since young scholars generally find it difficult to get support of this kind? Kathleen Komar suggested the usefulness of a subvention for first books, and that perhaps a report on trends of interest to comparatists could be part of the committee’s charge. Hans-Joachim Backe emphasized the importance of organizing specific events for younger scholars at the Association’s Congresses. The Executive Council accepted Isabel Gil’s plans for the Committee on Early Career Development in Comparative Literature.
Discussion then turned to the possibility of having the 2017 business meeting in Utrecht, the Netherlands, during the two days either before or just after the annual meeting of the American CL Association, which would meet in that city from July 6 to 9, 2017. President Hans Bertens reported that because the ACLA was a U.S. association meeting outside its own country, it had so far been refused any support from the University of Utrecht. He could foresee no possibility for local academic sponsorship of the kind that our Association usually enjoyed for its annual business meetings. He was willing to organize a “very sober” meeting but recognized that the choice might be a difficult one for the Executive Council. Discussion led to the conclusion that the two days before the ACLA conference (July 4 and 5) would be the preferable time, and to the observation that the traditional mini-conference could take the form of a seminar or group of seminars at the ACLA conference. There would thus be an opportunity for increasing the synergies in the ICLA’s relationship with its large American affiliate. Given the absence of funding from the University, a vote was called on selecting this site for the business meeting, resulting in 16 “yes” votes and 2 abstentions. Utrecht will therefore be the venue for the 2017 business meeting, with ex-President Bertens as the local contact.
The final item on the agenda, “Other Issues,” led to a renewed discussion of the website and to the problem of maintaining a list of Association members. Could a Chinese university in Hong Kong or nearby, which should be a convenience for the prospective new president Zhang Longxi, be the explicit resource or at least provide a suitable environment for both the website and the compilation of information about the Association’s members? Kathleen Komar returned to the possibility of hiring someone to do this mainly routine clerical work, and Hans-Joachim Backe raised the question of what this option would mean in more specific terms. As the lunch break was approaching, the President suggested that the meeting use that period to consider asking Zhang Longxi to hire someone who would both run the website and assemble the membership list. The arrangement would have a three-year limit, after which its degree of success could be evaluated. The meeting then adjourned for lunch.
Fourth Session: July 20, 2:00 pm.
Once the Executive Council had reassembled, Hans-Joachim Backe returned to the key point that contact with the Association’s national affiliates had hat to be initiated by the Association’s officers, whether that contact involved membership dues or lists of members. As an umbrella organization, the Association should not abandon this opportunity to be a concrete presence in the affairs of its affiliates. Beyond this essential role for the Association’s officers, what kind of support would be provided by the person we hired and how much money should be paid for that person’s services? Further discussion stressed the advantages of a professional agency, with its greater continuity over the years, compared to an ever-changing succession of students. There was also the issue of taking proper security measures with privacy-sensitive material. In the end it was decided to mandate the new president to look for hired help.
At this point President Bertens noted that in recent years the Association had been running a surplus of €15,000 to €20,000 per year. For this purpose, accordingly, a prudent upper limit to this budget item would probably be €10,000. A motion to allow the next president to spend a maximum of this amount on outside help was passed without any objections.
Professor Bertens declared the meeting ended, remarking that although he had never found anything worthy of full, unqualified belief, he had come to believe to fullest possible extent in the work of the ICLA. Achim Hölter reminded his colleagues of where they should meet for the visit to the Austrian National Library later in the afternoon.
Addendum, as of August 4.
Several days after the close of the business meeting, it was discovered that the Research Committee on Comic Studies and Graphic Narrative, whose formation had been finalized at the Lisbon business meeting in 2015, had been overlooked in the secretary’s call for reports. After members of this committee drew the secretary’s attention to this situation, he consulted with incoming president Zhang Longxi and they decided that the committee’s report could be sent out via email to be voted on by the 2013-16 Executive Committee. At short notice the officers of the Comic Studies/Graphic Novel committee wrote up a report that documented their five sessions of papers at the Vienna Congress as well as a variety of papers and publications at several venues over the previous year. The report also listed the committee members, outlined the rationale for comparative research in this area, and discussed activities planned for the future. The secretary circulated this report among the members of the 2013-16 Executive Council, and within a week it received 19 votes in the affirmative, often with positive comments, and no negative votes. This result exceeded a 2/3 majority of the possible 27 votes. After deducting the five Council members unable to attend the 2016 business meeting, who hadn’t voted on any of the reports, this vote becomes an overwhelming majority of 19 out of 22. The Comic Studies/Graphic Novel Committee’s report has thus been accepted.
John Burt Foster, Jr.
MINUTES OF THE FIRST GENERAL ASSEMBLY
de l’Association Internationale de Littérature Comparée
of the International Comparative Literature Assocation
(henceforth the Association)
University of Vienna: 21 July 2016
The first General Assembly was opened at 2:50 p.m. by the President of the Association, Hans Bertens. In the interests of time, given the special address that had been presented earlier that afternoon by Dr. Frank LaRue, representing UNESCO, and given the lecture to be delivered at 4:00 p.m. by novelist and British Comparative Literature Association president Marina Warner, the session dispensed with the usual series of reports by the officers. Hans Bertens, however, did give a general overview of the three years of his presidency, highlighting his initiatives in getting comparative histories of literatures of East Asia and the Islamic world under way. He also indicated that the Association continued to be in good financial shape, and despite a variety of expenditures over the past three years, had run a reasonable surplus. Modestly extolling the virtues of brevity, he made a point of refraining from an extended speech.
John Foster, the secretary of the Association, then provided the audience with an overview of the complex ballot featuring 50 separate choices on which Assocation members could vote. There would be three revisions to the Association’s Statutes, followed by “ratifications” of the unopposed candidates for a variety of positions and votes for candidates to two contested positions, the vice presidency and the Executive Council. Foster explained that the ratifications involved offices that were unpaid and that required a significant amount of work; the candidates were well-qualified scholars in comparative literature whose main achievements were listed on the candidate brochures that could be consulted in the election room. There would be three voting sessions during the Congress, which would run from 10:00 to 13:00 on Thursday, 22 July; Monday, 25 July; and Tuesday, 26 July. Voters with proxies from members unable to attend the Congress would need to have them counter-signed by the secretary before they could vote. Foster would announce the results of the election at the second General Assembly, scheduled for Wednesday, 27 July from 16:00 to 17:00.
Isabel Capeloa Gil then came to the podium to discuss the Association’s new initiatives for doctoral students and early-career scholars. She would be the chair of a new committee that hoped to develop a number of programs, such as scheduling events at the Association’s Congresses for this group of researchers to encourage greater participation on their part, becoming better informed about their research interests, providing career orientation, and tracking doctoral programs in comparative literature around the world. She announced that the committee had scheduled a meeting at this Congress, to which the younger comparatists in attendance were invited, both to comment on these plans and to make further suggestions.
The President adjourned the session at 3:20 p.m. so that the audience could have a coffee break before the lecture by Marina Warner.
MINUTES OF THE SECOND GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE ASSOCIATION
University of Vienna: 27 July 2016
The General Assembly was opened at 4:00 pm by the retiring President of the Association, Hans Bertens.
John Foster, the English-Language Secretary, announced the results of the election. ZHANG Longxi (Hong Kong) had been ratified as the new president. Lucia Boldrini (United Kingdom) was the vice president who had received the greatest number of votes, meaning that in case of an emergency she would become president. The other three vice presidents were ZHOU Xiaoyi (China), Kathleen Komar (United States), and Anders Pettersson (Sweden). Marc Maufort (Belgium), who had received the same number of votes as Pettersson, had chosen to step aside, given his position as editor of the Association’s journal, Recherche littéraire / Literary Research. Anne Tomiche (France) was ratified as the French-language secretary, but due to uncertainties about the candidate for English-language secretary, that position would need to be determined later. The three treasurers who were ratified were Hans-Joachim Backe (Denmark/Germany) for Europe and Africa, HITAISHI Noriko (Japan) for Asia, and Efraín Kristal (United States/Peru) for the Americas. The election produced the following sixteen assessors to serve on the Executive Board: Sandra Bermann (United States), Ipshita Chanda (India), Wiebke Denecke (United States), Massimo Fusillo (Italy), Debjani Ganguly (Australia), HASHIMOTO Yorimitsu (Japan), Achim Hölter (Austria); OSHIMA Hitoshi (Japan), PARK Sangjin (Korea), E.V. Ramakrishnan (India), Rita Sakr (United Kingdom/Lebanon), Márcio Silvermann-Silva (Brazil), William J. Spurlin (United Kingdom), Reza Teher-Kermani (Iran), Mads Rosendahl Thomsen (Denmark), and YANG Huilin (China). The election results had been finalized by a committee consisting of Hans Bertens, the retiring president; ZHANG Longxi, the incoming president; and Manfred Engel, the 2010-13 chair of the Nominating Committee, acting for Theo D’haen, the 2013-16 chair of that committee, who had been unable to come to Vienna. This committee, exercising its right to appoint two additional assessors to the Executive Council from the list of candidates on the ballot, chose Marie-Thérèse Abdelmessih (Egypt) and Philip Van Schalkwyk (South Africa), thereby providing the Council with two African representatives. Hans Bertens’s presidency having officially come to an end with the announcement of these results, John Foster nominated him for the position of Honorary President. The General Assembly approved this designation and greeted the election results with a round of applause.
The new president, ZHANG Longxi, announced that the new Executive Council would meet in the Senatsaal at 6:00 p.m. There was no set agenda, and the officers and assessors in attendance were invited to bring up matters of pressing importance. In the absence of the 2016-19 secretaries, Lucia Boldrini volunteered to keep the minutes for this meeting.
Marc Maufort, the editor of the Association’s journal, Recherche littéraire / Literary Research, announced that the 2016 issue had just become available on the Association’s website. He invited the audience to download the convenient PDF document. In the course of outlining the editorial policies and describing the journal’s contents, he clarified what was meant by the cluster of essays that comprised one section of the journal. These essays were not traditional scholarly articles, but addressed topics of general interest to scholars pursuing comparative research.
Next on the agenda was the ceremony honoring the winner of the Association’s Balakian Prize, which is awarded at three-year intervals to the best first book in comparative literature to appear during that period. The prize is named after Anna Balakian, a professor of comparative literature at New York University and a long-time member and supporter of the Association, who was noted for her research on symbolism and surrealism as international movements. In the absence of Monika Schmitz-Emans, who had chaired the jury that evaluated the submissions and who wrote the award citation, Honorary President Manfred Schmeling read the citation and presented the 2016 Balakian Prize to Dr. Alexandra Berlina from the University Essen-Duisburg in Germany, for her book Brodsky Translating Brodsky: Poetry in Self-Translation (2014). Dr. Berlina was present to receive the prize, which amounted to $1000 plus her travel expenses to attend the Congress.
The next item of business was the bid from China to host the 2019 Congress. President Bertens introduced Professor CAO Shunqing, president of the Chinese Comparative Literature Association, who gave a PowerPoint presentation on the proposal from Shenzhen University in south China. Professor Cao acquainted the audience with the city’s modern amenities and with the university that would host the Congress, and assured them of them of Shenzhen’s capacity to handle a large conference with a thousand or more participants. The city’s international airport was also well served by airlines that could meet travel needs of the Association’s membership. Except for some unofficially expressed displeasure with the choice of certain possible plenary speakers, the discussion period produced no significant objections to this bid. It was forwarded to the new Executive Council for formal approval later that afternoon.
As the assembly began to draw to a close, University Professor Dr. Matthias Meyer, Dean of the Faculty of Philological and Cultural Studies at the University of Vienna, gave a brief speech that communicated his institution’s pleasure at having hosted the 2016 Congress. When he concluded by expressing gratitude for the contributions of the Congress organizer, Professor Achim Hölter, the assembly broke into lengthy applause in a sign of appreciation for his efforts.
Achim Hölter took the stage to describe his ongoing plans for publishing the Proceedings of the Congress. Research committees that had organized sessions under the Congress’s auspices would be free to publish the results at their own initiative, provided that the resulting books or journals gave explicit credit to the 2016 Vienna Congress and also displayed the Association’s logo. With other papers, some combination of hard-copy and online publication was still under discussion, and final plans would publicized on the Congress website. At the close of Achim Hölter’s remarks, bouquets were presented to his wife Eva Hölter and to his assistant Constanze Prašek, to the accompaniment of another outburst of applause.
Retiring President Hans Bertens brought the meeting to an end by remarking that although former presidents customarily became “Honorary Presidents,” the Association’s Statutes actually made no mention of such a position. Instead, it allowed more generally for “honorary members” of the Executive Council, and he now wanted to nominate the retiring secretary John Burt Foster to that position. The nomination was accepted by acclamation. The General Assembly was adjourned at 5:30 p.m., and a reception followed.
John Burt Foster, Jr.
Minutes of the first meeting of the Executive Council (elected 2016-2019)
University of Vienna, 27 July 2016
In attendance: Lucia Boldrini, Ipshita Chanda (for part of the meeting), Massimo Fusillo, HASHIMOTO Yorimitsu, Achim Hölter, HIRAISHI Noriko, Anders Pettersson, E.V. Ramakrishnan, William Spurlin, ZHANG Longxi.
As non-voting members and visitors: John Burt Foster, Marc Maufort, Kitty Millet, Steven Sondrup.
The new President, Zhang Longxi, opened the meeting at 18.00, welcoming all the members and thanking the immediate past President Hans Bertens and Secretary John Foster for their outstanding work over the previous three years and emphasising the importance of carrying on the momentum. He also thanked Achim Hölter for the excellent organisation of the Congress.
All members introduced themselves.
There being no agenda for the meeting, the President invited members to raise issues they wanted to discuss.
William Spurlin reported on the first meeting of the newly established Early Career & Doctoral Researchers Committee, chaired by Isabel Capeloa Gil, which took place during the Congress and was attended by 4-5 senior members of the committee and 8-10 early career/doctoral students. Three areas were identified as being of most immediate importance:
- Better understanding of the field, including the types of PhD programmes in comparative literature, their status, where they are, what strengths exist. The hope is to collaborate with national associations to gather information and to report to the EC meeting in Utrecht in 2017, though this may be ambitious.
- A space for early career and doctoral researchers (ECDRs) should be provided in the AILC/ICLA structures, starting from the Congress programme, for example with:
- a reception towards the beginning of the congress to welcome and identify ECDRs, enable their networking and visibility, help them navigate the programme
- a “Next Gen” [next generation] plenary session for ECDRs with a panel to present work and get responses
- a “centre” for career guidance, collecting information on jobs, grants, possibility of affiliating as literary scholars to institutions even without an official teaching or research position, for example to have access to specialist libraries
- Support for ECDRs with workshops and research training. Isabel Capeloa Gil is willing to organise one in Lisbon in 2017, to discuss, for example, research methodologies, as well as help ECDRs identify there are careers and routes that are not just in “comparative literature” strictly defined.
Other issues discussed were a reduced fee for ECDRs; the addition of a voluntary contribution to support ECDRs in the registration form of Congresses and membership form of AILC/ICLA; possible the Executive Council offering seed funding of (say) € 1,000, until sufficient contributions are received; and the possibility of an identified stream within the congress for ECDRs.
John Foster voiced the thoughts of the entire Council by commending the work already done by the Committee in just one week of existence and its ability to attract a good number of ECDRs in a very short time and without official publicity.
Achim Hölter pointed out that concessions for doctoral students and participants from low-income countries had been offered for the Vienna Congress too.
Achim Hölter had two items for discussion. The first was a short list of things that, in the midst of a very successful Congress, had been less satisfactory; the purpose of identifying them was to try and manage them better in the future:
- there was little participation from France even if posters and the call for papers having also been in French, and therefore French was rarely used despite it being an official language of the AILC/ICLA. The French embassy and French publishers did not show interest in supporting events, so the organising committee did not feel they could invite a French speaking author as there would have been too small an audience for this.
- Some delegates did not find the building where Joep Leerssen gave his keynote lecture, despite announcements and explanations; in the future we should redouble efforts to flag up when things happen offsite.
- At the Apter-Damrosch debate some members of the audience asked needlessly long questions. Greater self-control is desirable, and it had been suggested that questions should be submitted via twitter, so that they would have to be no more than 140 characters.
- As at all congresses, more people declare an interest than register, more register than attend, and, strange as it may seem, more attend than actually show up for their own papers. While some no-shows are inevitable – the absence of all Turkish participants, beyond their control, was a notable case – more discipline would be helpful, at least in informing the organisers. One of the corollaries is the low numbers in the audience, which is disappointing for speakers. It was acknowledged that it is difficult to find a solution to the problem.
Achim Hölter’s second item was about the proceedings. Larger seminars with multiple sessions may prefer to publish their own volumes, but many participants will want to send their papers to be considered for collective volumes. Proceedings will include papers in English, French and German (whether authors of papers in one language should provide abstracts in the other two languages is still under discussion). Four publishers with the capacity for multiple multilingual volumes have been identified. Information will be sent in due course about deadlines, format, etc. A peer-review procedure will be put in place, and Achim Hölter solicited the help of the EC to this end. Achim Hölter is happy to act as general editor, but he invited members of the EC with relevant experience to act as editors of single volumes or parts of them.
According to the Letter of Understanding signed between the University of Vienna and the AILC/ICLA, any funds remaining from the Congress, once all expenses were paid, would be split equally between the two parties. Achim Hölter pointed out that it is too early to know how much money is left (if any), but requested that the proceedings be considered part of the congress activities and costs; that any remaining funds be used therefore to subsidize the editorial and publication costs; and that the budget be closed only when the overall costs for publication are known. This would enable the editorial work to start soon, so that the volumes may be ready in 2-3 years.
The ECL unanimously voted to accept this proposal.
Marc Maufort reminded Achim Hölter that he had agreed to write a report on the Congress for the next issue of Recherche Littéraire/ Literary Research.
John Foster then raised the question whether the Congress registration form should include the possibility of adding the €10 membership fee for those that are not already members of the AILC/ICLA, as this would make the Secretary’s life much easier when elections take place. Achim Hölter pointed out that until there is a reliable complete membership list that can be checked quickly, it will be difficult to police this for Congress organisers, especially because at peak times very large numbers of registrations are received, and there is always the potential that some delegates will declare they are members even when they are not.
Anders Petterson had two questions about the 2019 Congress. The first was a formal one: whether the proposal that it would take place at Shenzhen had already been formally accepted by the General Assembly, or whether it was still to be approved by the EC. The President and John Foster explained that the choice of Shenzhen had been reached through a long process of negotiation by the former President Hans Bertens; that as there were no objections or questions at the General Assembly, we should assume the membership had agreed; that therefore we should consider it as the official and only proposal; and that it now remained for the EC to confirm this choice, as the EC has the final word. The EC voted unanimously to accept the bid from Shenzhen.
Anders Petterson’s second question concerned who controls the choice of Congress theme, speakers, general structure of the programme. President Zhang Longxi said that he would contact a small group of people to form a working party that would discuss all these aspects and liaise with the Chinese Comparative Literature Association and the local team, and report to the EC for collective vote and decision, in the interest of transparency. He also noted that the Shenzhen team would like to issue the call for papers by March 2017, which is before the next EC meeting in Utrecht, so proposals will have to be circulated and agreed by email.
William Spurlin pointed out that it was important to involve Research Committees (for example in proposing speakers) as they are one of the intellectual driving forces of the Association. E.V. Ramakrishnan also made the point that there should be as broad-based input from chairs and members of committees as possible.
The EC voted on a motion to endorse the President’s proposal to pursue contacts with the Shenzhen team, both personally and with a working party, and to submit the outcome of the discussion to the Executive Council for approval. The AILC/ICLA should be in a position to have real influence on decisions concerning the 2019 Congress. The motion was passed unanimously.
John Foster then circulated the revised CHLEL proposal for a 50th anniversary event, to be held in late May/early June 2017 at the University of St Andrews, resubmitted by the Chair of the Co-ordinating Committee Karen-Margrethe Simonsen. John Foster explained the background for this: the previous Co-ordinating Committee Chair, Marcel Cornis-Pope, had fallen ill and had had to resign; the Vice-President, Theo D’haen, had stepped in temporarily as Acting Chair, while elections (which should have happened at the Vienna Congress) were brought forward. Karen-Margrethe Simonsen was elected and had been in place as Chair only since 1 March 2016. In her report to the EC meeting on 20 July 2016, Karen-Margrethe Simonsen had asked for the sum of €13,000 for a 50th anniversary celebration event, admitting that these were approximate sums, as plans were not yet confirmed and there had not been time to obtain more precise costings and possible contributions from the University of St Andrews or other sources. The EC had deemed this sum to be far too high and the intellectual focus of the event not sufficiently clear, and had asked the Committee to clarify the latter and revise the former. The re-submitted proposal emphasised the scholarly focus to be on developments of how literary history is understood and written, as highlighted by the new title “Past and Future in Comparative Literary History”; the papers would be published, rather than in a Benjamins volume, as a special issue of the journal Arcadia, edited by Vladimir Biti and Vivian Liska, to reach a wider readership; speakers would include Zhang Longxi, Linda Hutcheon, Margaret-Anne Hutton, Margaret Higonnet and Karen-Margrethe Simonsen; and the sum applied for had now been revised down to €7,800. A vigorous discussion ensued, in which several members of the EC voiced concerns about the precedent that would be created. Zhang Longxi asked the long-standing members of the EC whether there had in fact been any precedents of such large amounts been granted in the past, and it was agreed that there were none (the $2,000 granted to the Gender Research Committee to co-organise a conference in South Africa in April 2015 was a different case, and it was given to facilitate holding a conference outside of North America or Europe to reach members beyond those areas). The point that had been made at the EC on 20 July was reiterated: the triennial Congresses in Seoul, Paris and Vienna only received subsidies of €10,000 each, therefore this request was much too high by comparison. It was pointed out, moreover, that the function of the AILC/ICLA is to provide seed money for activities that would thereafter be able to sustain themselves and generate support from other sources. The suggestion was made that, since the anniversary conference will be at the University of St Andrews in Scotland, the organisers of the event should approach British funding bodies (such as the British Academy, the AHRC, the Leverhulme Trust) as they often have dedicated funds conferences and networking. Several members pointed out that some of the expenses appeared extravagant (such as €80 per person, for 25 participants, for dinner). The contribution offered by St Andrews (€500) appeared quite small, and it was difficult to see how substantial the contribution from the CHLEL’s own operating budget actually was, as we had not received the financial report from the Co-ordinating Committee this year. It was further noted that the AILC/ICLA already gives regular substantial contributions to the Committee, and the EC had just granted CHLEL €6,000 at its meeting one week earlier, when the usual sum had always been €3,000. It was acknowledged that the project was still in its early stages of planning and that the Chair, Karen-Margrethe Simonsen, had been in post for only a short time and that therefore these sums were worst-scenario estimates, likely to be further revised downwards. A motion was proposed to reject the request for funding; EC members with voting rights voted 4 in favour of rejection and 3 against, with 2 abstentions. The motion was therefore carried.
President Zhang Longxi then asked to discuss some issues that had emerged with the appointment of the English-language Secretary. João Cezar De Castro Rocha was nominated to the position and ratified by the membership. However, concerns were raised in recent days due to extreme delays in replying to emails; to the fact that the Brazilian Association had not paid their fees to the AILC/ICLA and Professor De Castro Rocha had not paid it individually either (Kathy Komar took the initiative to pay it herself to avoid the situation where the Secretary is not a member); and to the fact that he had not attended or even registered for the Congress. The role of Secretary is an important position that requires hard work, dedication and promptness in dealing with issues as they arise and in addressing the constant flow of correspondence. It was unclear whether the precise nature of the Secretary’s duties had been explained in full. João Cezar De Castro Rocha had now been elected as Secretary, so the President would contact him to check whether he will be able to fulfil these duties over the next three years of the term. In the event of a negative (or no) response, the President would invite the EC to suggest a replacement.
Marc Maufort reminded the President of the decision taken at the previous week’s meeting of the EC that a webmaster and someone to help with compiling and updating the membership list should be identified. Zhang Longxi confirmed that he would do so and would stay in touch with Steven Sondrup about it.
John Foster expressed, with everyone’s heartfelt agreement, the EC’s willingness to support the President in the next three years.
The expected timing of next year’s business meetings was confirmed as contiguous to the ACLA congress in Utrecht, scheduled for 6-9 July 2017.
The meeting concluded at 19.30.
In the absence of either Secretary, the minutes were taken by Lucia Boldrini.