The more we can do to alert our membership to these resources, and to create the habit of invoking MLA standards in our workplaces, the better off we will be, both as a professoriat and in allied professions. My somewhat dogged insistence on these very concrete matters—far from the intellectual passions that led many of us to our profession in the first place—stems from my conviction that we need to look out for one another and for those of our colleagues who come under increasing political and financial pressures.
As I begin my year as MLA president, I would like to think together about how the association might work to emphasize the centrality of multilingualism to our current condition. Without overlooking the often violent histories of how language and cultures intersect, we must insist on a multiplicity of now—multilingualism not just as vexed history, or unattainable utopia, but as our shared reality.
These are among the many sites in the university where the connection to public worlds is already being made; these sites should be supported as the portals to a broader world, the link between the university and those who require the humanities to live a more illuminated life. The future of the humanities may well depend on realizing that the best case for art, poetry, literature, and performance is already being made by our most publicly engaged fields.