Students present at the 2012 GLS Symposium

The annual GLS Joint Symposium, held June 22-24, 2012, and hosted this year by the University of Southern California, continued the tradition of bringing together students, faculty, and staff from eight universities for a weekend of social and intellectual interaction.

The symposium was initially founded by Stanford University and Dominican University in San Rafael, CA.  Now in its sixth year, it also includes MLA/MLS programs from USC, Mount St. Mary’s College in Los Angeles, Ca., Reed College in Portland, Or., Marylhurst University in Marylhurst, Or.,  Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada, and Maastricht University in Maastricht, Netherlands.  The model has been copied by programs across the country that want to give their students the opportunity to meet other regional MLA/MLA students, and to provide the experience of proposing, rehearsing, and presenting their research work.

Stanford presenters are given advance help in prepapring their presentations by the Associate Dean and Director, Linda Paulson, and their fellow presenters. MLA student and symposium presenter, Faisal Nsour, noted that "The rehearsal and feedback gave me a better sense of the strengths andweaknesses of my paper, especialy with respect to a spoken and timed delivery. With that kind of preparation, the acutal presentation was easy." 

Five Stanford MLA students and two alumni were among the thirty-three presenters. Stanford presentations came from work the students had done in classes and included Eric Brown, “Bloody Struggle: Fighting the Congo’s Resource Curse in 1900 and Today;” Pat Nicholson, “Call and Response: Civil Rights and Jazz;” Barbara Mackraz, “The Silent Theatre of the Bayeux Tapestry;” Laura Moore, "Visions of the Dead in World War I Poetry;" Andrew Lachman (class of 2007), “In the Shelter of Their Wings: The Correspondence of Charles Dickens and Miss Angela Burdett Coutts;” Faisal Nsour, “Perspectivism in Faulkner’s Light in August;” and Oscar Firschein (class of 2000), “ELIZA’s Offspring: The Lure of Intelligent Machines.”

"The hard work USC faculty and students put into hosting the symposium showed at every step," commented Faisal Nsour. "Meeting students and faculty from other iberal arts programs was a delight I had not expected. They came from a variety of backgrounds and approaches to graduate liberal studies, but all reinforced a key principle of the MLA experience -- that serious intellectual work by non-specialist adults is not only possible, it's fun, and has a place in the world."

The 2013 symposium will be hosted by Maastricht University.

            
Stanford University and Reed College Symposium attendees           

            
Linda Paulson, Eric Brown, Barb Mackraz,                         Eric Brown 
Faisal Nsour, and Laura Moore

 Eric Brown and Faisal Nsour