MLA convention coming to Austin

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Rolando Hinojosa at his office in Parlin Hall at UT on Wednesday April 30, 2014. JAY JANNER / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

More than 7,500 scholars will hold their first-ever meeting in Austin this week as part of the annual Modern Language Association convention, with about 840 sessions featuring the presentation of academic papers, debates of cultural interpretations of literature and interviews with such noted writers as Colm Toibin and Rolando Hinojosa.

Several of the sessions will be open to the public. Look for a detailed story about the convention in this week’s Austin American-Statesman.

The convention starts Thursday and lasts through Sunday. Most events are at the Austin Convention Center and the JW Marriott downtown.

Also available: a $10 day pass to visit with exhibitors, including 90 publishers, at the convention center downtown.

Here’s a listing of the public events:

1:45 p.m. Thursday, 203, JW Marriott: The Austin Music Scene and Its Publics: Willie Nelson, Janis Joplin, Doug Sahm, and Friends. Panelists focus on the political, social and cultural significance of Austin music. With performances by Kimmie Rhodes and Bobby Earl Smith.

10:15 a.m. Friday, Lone Star D, JW Marriott: Presidential Plenary: Literature and Its Publics: Past, Present, and Future. By “publics,” the MLA means audiences, and the speakers at the session include Albert Russell Ascoli of the University of California-Berkeley, Bruce Wood Holsinger of the University of Virginia, Deidre Shauna Lynch of Harvard, Marjorie Gabrielle Perloff of Stanford and Ato Quayson of the University of Toronto.

1:45 p.m. Friday, 16A, Austin Convention Center: The Novelist, the Critic, and the Public: An Interview with Colm Toibin. The author of “Nora Webster” and “On Elizabeth Bishop” talks with Stephen Burt of Harvard.

1:45 p.m. Saturday, Lone Star G-H, JW Marriott: A Creative Conversation with Bill Bradley. The former U.S. senator discusses the need for more involved citizens with Kathleen Woodward of the University of Washington-Seattle.

10:15 a.m. Saturday, 4BC of the Austin Convention Center: Rolando Hinojosa: A Celebration of His Life and Work. Speakers include Hinojosa, the longtime University of Texas professor and writer; Norma Elia Cantu of the University of Missouri-Kansas City; Arturo Madrid of Trinity University; and Ralph Edward Rodriguez of Brown University.

1:45 p.m. Saturday, 16A, Austin Convention Center: Writing (on) the Border: A Creative Conversation with Oscar Casares and Rolando Hinojosa.

1:45 p.m. Saturday, Lone Star D, JW Marriott: Grammatology in the Global: Past/Future (Spivak Reopens the Book). This session reflects on the historical, philosophical, political, and literary trajectories and diverse publics of “Of Grammatology” on the 40th anniversary of its English translation by Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Panelists discuss the book’s timeliness for interdisciplinary humanities.

3:30 p.m. Saturday, Brazos, JW Marriott: The Artist as Interpreter: An Interview with Caetano Veloso. Marjorie Gabrielle Perloff of Stanford talks with Veloso, the Brazilian singer-songwriter who’s a founder of the Tropicalismo movement.

7 p.m. Saturday, 401, JW Marriott: Regarding Susan Sontag. The special event focuses on the 2014 documentary, “Regarding Susan Sontag,” with independent filmmaker Nancy Kates and Ellen Spiro of the University of Texas.

7 p.m. Saturday, Lone Star A: A Poetry Reading by Antonio Cicero. The Brazilian writer is the author of several books of poetry and philosophy.

10:15 a.m. Sunday, 18D, Austin Convention Center: Austin Authors of Commonwealth and Postcolonial Literatures: Past, Present, and Future. Panelists introduce younger scholars and critics to the beginnings of commonwealth and postcolonial literatures at the University of Texas, and to the importance of these beginnings to current conversations regarding global literatures and their futures.


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