This year during the MLA conference, Meta Jones, with generous funding from the University of Texas at Austin, sponsored the dinner meeting of the Executive Committee of the Division on Black American Literature and Culture (BALC). In addition to Jones, our dinner meeting group included Daylanne English, Michele Elam, Kimberly Blockett, and Joycelyn Moody.
We spent the majority of our time brainstorming ideas for BALC sessions that will take place during the next MLA conference, which will convene in Los Angeles. For this year's conference in Philly, the Division organized three programs: a session recognizing one hundred years of the NAACP's The Crisis magazine; a roundtable discussion of new directions in African American Literary and Cultural Studies; and a session about "Reading Race in the Obama Era." The BALC programs and sessions assist in ensuring a continuous and interconnected presence of black literary and cultural projects at MLA conferences.
The committee is still finalizing the details of the sessions for the next conference, but the plan is for one of those sessions to concentrate on Black Studies. Obviously, I'm excited about what we'll eventually come up with for that one. Actually, I'm looking forward to all the programs, as one will give us a chance to address some issues related directly to the West Coast and another will give us an opportunity to collaborate with another MLA Division.