Report for MLA for Allied Organization Review

Prepared by Jacqueline Vansant
University of Michigan-Dearborn
March 2001

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International Arthur Schnitzler Research Association (IASRA)

1. The International Arthur Schnitzler Research Association (IASRA) is the only scholarly organization in the United States devoted to the promotion and study of Austrian literature and culture. In 1961, the founders of the organization saw the need for an organized effort to "lift the treasure of Schnitzler's work to obtain for it its rightful place among the great cultural accomplishments of modern times" (Robert O. Weiss, Journal of the International Arthur Schnitzler Research Association (Vol. 1, p .32). A dedicated group of 61 "active" members and 32 "associate" members from the United States, Italy, Austria, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, Israel, France, Australia, and Brazil set out to reexamine the works of Arthur Schnitzler, making his literature and papers more accessible through a microfilm archive, the organization's publication and the organization's sponsorship of sessions at academic venues.

In recent years, the purpose of the organization has broadened to "stimulate interest in and promote the study and research of modern Austrian literature and culture" (see statement of purpose in proposed revised Bylaws and ballot, Appendix 1). We presently have 189 individual members in the United States and abroad and 303 institutional subscribers in the United States and abroad. This was approximately the size of the membership when Geoffrey C. Howes and I assumed the office of Co-Secretary/Treasurer. We have undertaken a variety of initiatives to increase the membership such as advertise in other scholarly journals and allow members to subscribe with a credit card. We are particularly eager to see if this will increase our membership abroad. We have also increased our membership slightly by our open calls for papers. With the election of an Executive Council, the organization will no doubt experience renewed growth.

The organization does not have a permanent paid staff, nor a permanent office. The co-editors, the book review editor, and the Editorial Board are not remunerated for their work. Nor will the Executive Council receive any payment for their work. The only paid workers are student assistants.

The former president (Donald Daviau) organized an annual Austrian Symposium held at the University of California-Riverside and published the results in Modern Austrian Literature. After a hiatus of two years, members will sponsor a symposium in the fall. As stated in the revised Bylaws (Appendix 1), the association will aid in the organization of a yearly symposium by its membership. A Call for Papers has been issued by the organizers of the upcoming symposium (See Appendix 4, Calls for Papers)

In addition to its symposia as a means for establishing a forum on Austrian literature and culture, the IASRA has published a quarterly journal Modern Austrian Literature (formerly Journal of the International Arthur Schnitzler Research Association). In 2000, Geoffrey C. Howes and I assumed co-editorship of the journal and outlined in the first number of 2000 both paths of continuity and change of our editorial vision (See Appendix 2, Modern Austrian Literature, Vol. 33, Nr. 1, 2000)

The organization is presently electing new officers, voting on proposed bylaws changes, and possibly a new name for the organization (See Appendix 3, statements of candidates and ballot with accompanying letter from Co-Editors). Many of the proposed changes reflected de facto changes in the association. The election of an Executive Council will no doubt lead to more involvement of its present membership and ultimately attract more members.

Since the former president (Donald Daviau) submitted his report concerning the years 1980-1993, the IASRA has continued to be an active Allied Organization of the MLA. From 1994-2000, the association has organized 13 panels on a variety of topics. Topics of MLA sessions held since the last review period have been:

  • 2000: From Habsburg to Haider: Multiethnic Austria (I & II)
  • 1999: Cross-Cultural Encounters: Exoticism in Recent Austrian Fiction
    Business Meeting of IASRA (in lieu of a second session, we held a business meeting)
  • 1998: Xenophobia and Multiculturalism in Contemporary Austrian Literature
    Austro-American Relationships in Film
  • 1997 Postmodernism and Austrian Literature: Christoph Ransmayr's Novels
    Crossing Borders, Crossing Bounds: Issues of Gender, Multiculturalism and Postcolonial Discourse in texts by Barbara Frischmuth
  • 1996 Ingeborg Bachmann's Todesarten
    Peter Rosei
  • 1995 Karl Kraus Today (I & II)
  • 1994 Grillparzer's Dramas Revisited
    Austria's Contemporary Literature: Rewriting Traditions

In the past, individual members were asked to suggest a topic and organize panels. This was usually done without issuing a general call for papers. In contrast, for the 2000 conference the IASRA issued a general call for papers for the MLA panels in the hope of drawing in new participants. It was announced in the MLA Bulletin, to our membership via email, and to members of Women in German via email. We received 15 abstracts from which 6 were chosen. By issuing a general call for papers, we attracted people who have never before been involved in the organization.

We distributed the most recent call for papers for the 2001 MLA (See Appendix 4, Calls for Papers) in a similar manner and are pleased with the quality of abstracts we received. We selected 6 from a group of 16. We have encouraged both those we accepted as well as those we did not to consider submitting a manuscript for a special topics volume.

From 1994-2000 (seven conferences, 13 panels), 35 different scholars (21 women, 14 men) presented papers at the MLA at sessions of the IASRA. Of the 35, only three presented twice during this period (See Appendix 5, list of names).

Attendance at the sessions ranges from 20-35. At the most recent MLA, approximately 25 attended each panel.

In lieu of a second panel in 1999, the association held a business meeting in order to inform members of Donald Daviau's retirement and new changes resulting from him stepping down from the office of president after over twenty years.

2. Modern Austrian Literature, the journal of the association is published four times a year. Enclosed is the last issue published under the editorship of Donald Daviau and the first issue published under the co-editorship of Geoffrey C. Howes (Bowling Green State University) and Jacqueline Vansant (University of Michigan-Dearborn). As in the past, we submit copies of our publication regularly to MLA and they are indexed in the annual bibliography (See Appendix 2 & 6).

We request the manuscripts be prepared for blind submissions and we send them out for review by two experts. We have been gratified by the willingness of many distinguished scholars to evaluate submissions.

We also instituted a website for Modern Austrian Literature ( Enclosed is a hard copy of several pages (See Appendix 7, Website). In addition, we have an email distribution list for time-sensitive material. Most recently, we used it to distribute Calls for Papers and to alert the membership to the closing of the Austrian Cultural Institute in Paris.

In February, we mailed via the U.S. Postal Service the proposed bylaw revisions, a slate of candidates and statements for the Executive Council, and a ballot concerning the name of the organization (See Appendix 1 & 3).

3. The fact that we have only rarely have had repetitions in the MLA panelists and have involved a large number of diverse articles in the journal points to the fact that we involve a wide portion of the membership. Our most recent effort to issue a general call for papers to the MLA membership, members of the IASRA, Women in German membership, and subscribers to the newsletter of the Center for Austrian Studies is indicative of our desire to broaden our base. Because the quality of the papers given at the December MLA was so high, we encouraged the panelists to expand them into articles for possible publication in Modern Austrian Literature.

4. The organization was founded in 1961 with the purpose "to lift the treasure of Schnitzler's work to obtain for it its rightful place among the great cultural accomplishments of modern times" (first president in first issue of Journal of the International Arthur Schnitzler Research Association). In the proposed Bylaws the purpose is as follows: "The objective of this Association shall be to stimulate interest in and promote study of research of modern Austrian literature and culture through its publications, conferences, conference sessions, and other appropriate fora." The present publication is Modern Austrian Literature. The By-Laws Committee after discussion with an interim steering committee suggested the publication of a yearly journal on the teaching of Austrian literature and culture.

5. Attached are the Bylaws from 1962 and the proposed Bylaws being voted on now by the membership (Appendix 1 & 7)

6. The organizations currently has 189 individual members in the United States and internationally. In addition, 303 institutions subscribe to the journals. Please see the attached membership application (Appendix 8).

7. The dues structure is also on the attached membership application (Appendix 8).

List of Appendices

  • Appendix 1 Proposed revised By-Laws and ballot
  • Appendix 2 Modern Austrian Literature, Vol. 33, Nr. 1, 2000
  • Appendix 3 Statements of candidates, ballot for candidates, and accompanying letter from Co- Editors
  • Appendix 4 Calls for papers
    • MLA 2001 in New Orleans
    • Symposium/Conference at Lafayette College in Oct. 2001
  • Appendix 5 List of Presenters at MLA Panels Sponsored by the IASRA from 1994-2000
  • Appendix 6 Modern Austrian Literature, Vol. 32, Nr. 3/4, 1999
  • Appendix 7 Original By-Laws, 1962
  • Appendix 8 Membership form and dues structure

Appendix 5
List of Presenters at MLA Panels Sponsored by the IASRA from 1994-2000

  • 2000
    • Barbara Mennel
    • Valentina Glajar
    • Patrizia C. McBride
    • Robert Pichl
    • Marton Marko
    • Aili Zheng
  • 1999
    • Renate Posthofen
    • Linda DeMeritt
  • 1998
    • Mark Sharp
    • Gerd Schneider
    • Dagmar C.G. Lorenz
    • Robert von Dassanowsky
    • Gertraud Steiner
    • Jacqueline Vansant
  • 1997
    • Klaus Zeyringer
    • Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger
    • Jutta Landa
    • Jennifer Michaels
    • Dagmar C.G. Lorenz
    • Julie Klassen
  • 1996
    • Robert Pichl
    • Karen Achberger
    • Sabine Götz
    • Frank Pilipp
    • Willy Riemer
    • Robert Acker
  • 1995
    • Kari Grimstad
    • Donald G. Daviau
    • Herbert Arlt
    • Elizabeth Bredeck
    • John Pizer
    • Heidi Rauscher Tilghman
  • 1994
    • Waltraud Maierhofer
    • Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger
    • Kristie Foell
    • Reinhold Grimm
    • Gail Finney
    • Barbara Linsey
  • Presenters at two conventions
    • Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger
    • Dagmar C.G. Lorenz
    • Robert Pichl
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