Final meeting of the Executive Committee 2007-09
Vilnius, 11 September 2009, 15.30-17:30
Present: Lucia Boldrini (Chairperson), Nele Bemong, Marko Juvan, Roland Lysell, Alain Montandon, Roumiana Stantcheva, Jola Škulj, Ales Vaupotič
1) Apologies for absence
Apologies were received from Aude Ameille and Dolores Romero Lopez. Also absent: Cecilia Barret.
2) 2009 Congress
Nijolė Kašelionienė and Žydronė Kolevinskienė attended the meeting to give a report on the organisation of the Vilnius Congress. There had been difficulties in obtaining funds, and it was disappointing that the application to the European City of Culture funds had not been successful. The conference nevertheless was the first event of this type for our colleagues, and it was proving a great success. Over 150 proposals were received initially; many had to be rejected as they were unsuitable (some mistakes may have been made in rejecting good papers, but this always happens), some dropped out when they were told the papers had to be in English, French or Lithuanian.
About 70 are included in the final programme (making this the largest REELC/ENCLS congress so far), from over 20 countries.
Publication of conference papers will be in the journal of the Lithuanian Comparative Literature Association, Acta Litteraria Comparativa (no 5, Vilnius Pedagogical University Press, 2010), and in Colloquia, the journal published by the Institute of Lithuanian Literature and Folklore Press (2010). There are also plans for publication on the REELC/ENCLS website (as for the papers from the Clermont Ferrand Congress). Harmonisation of style-sheets would be advisable, and the editors of the journal issues should liaise with the webmaster about this, and send the print-ready PDF files to him when ready.
The organisers were warmly thanked for their very successful work.
The issue of the language and the tricky question of whether to limit official languages / exclude some languages was briefly discussed. The suggestion was made that papers in other languages than French / English / local language may be accepted but a translation in English / French should be provided by the speaker (either in print or through powerpoint)
3) General Coordinator’s Report
A draft of this was circulated in advance and this item was skipped to save time.
4) Review of Charter. To discuss and approve the revised text of the Charter to submit to the Meeting of the General Assembly
The draft text circulated was approved with the following change (deriving from the discussion in point 5 below):Section III.5 now to read:
“The Executive Committee sets its priorities at its first meeting and delegates to its members responsibility for specific areas of activity (e.g. a collaborative research project, postgraduate matters, etc), and will appoint any committees or sub-committees as it deems necessary to carry out the activities of the Network. These shall report to the Executive Committee.”
The Charter, as amended, will be submitted to the General Assembly for further discussion and approval, and will be published on the website thereafter, in its final approved form.
5) Rules for nomination, election and terms of office of Executive Officers and General Coordinator
a. The number of elected officers was agreed as 11 (including one post-doctoral and one doctoral); regulations for ex-officio and co-opted members would remain as they are.
b. The deadline for application for election would be 2 months before the biennial General Meeting held during the Congress.
c. The candidates would have to send a c.v. (this could be in the form of a link to an existing website, e.g. the REELC/ENCLS’s own site) and a statement.
d. Applications would be discussed by the Executive (or a subcommittee) and the list of candidates would be published on the website 4 weeks before the election at the General Assembly.
e. It was agreed that electing a ‘GCE’ might cause a problem if the person indicated as ‘GCE’ were then not re-elected by the General Meeting, or the next Executive Committee were not to agree with the choice. Moreover, the EC would need some time to see who, among its members, is performing actively and efficiently. The draft rules were therefore revised, so that the third point under 6.a would read as follows: “After a period of 12-18 months since its appointment, the Executive Committee also nominates among its members a ‘General Coordinator Elect’ who is proposed as a candidate to become the General Coordinator for the following term, subject to re-election by the General Assembly, and to confirmation by the newly elected Executive Committee.
[As was realised at the General Meeting,] this amendment renders the rest of the regulations obsolete, so 6a becomes 6, and 6b and 6c are deleted.
These Regulations, as amended (and with some further typographical corrections), will be submitted to the General Assembly for further discussion and approval, and will be published on the website thereafter, in their final approved form.
6) Distribution of roles within the Exec Committee (officers, co-opted members, ex-officio members).
It was agreed that – while we would not bring back rigid roles such as ‘Pedagogical Coordinator’ etc, the Executive would have to give itself clear priorities from the start and that specific tasks would be undertaken by specific officers. This was inscribed in the REELC/ENCLS Charter through the amendment suggested in point 3 above.
It was also emphasised that now that the Réseau/ Network has become a more solid, stable, and recognisable organisation, it should move to being more pro-active in initiating activities and fostering joint projects.
7) Election of 2009-11 officers
Applications were received from:
Nele Bemong (Belgium) (application for re-election)
Marina Grishakova (Estonia)
Marko Juvan (Slovenia) (application for re-election)
Brigitte Le Juez (Ireland) [application received in the morning]
Roland Lysell (Sweden / Nordic Association) (application for re-election)
Dearbhla McGrath (Doctoral candidate) [application received in the morning]
Olga Romanova (Ukraine) (Post-Doctoral candidate)
Roumiana Stantcheva (Bulgaria) (application for re-election)
Sonja Stojmenska-Elzeser / Anastasia Gjurcinova (Macedonia); (these appeared to be in alternative to one another; As Sonja Stojmenska was in Vilnius and was proposing the organisation of the 2011 Congress, she was deemed to be the candidate from Macedonia)
Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek (various affiliations world-wide)
Karl Zieger (France)
There being as many applications as there were places, an election did not appear to be necessary at the General Meeting, though the Assembly would have to approve the candidates.
The newly elected Executive would reserve the right – as is inscribed in the Charter and regulations – to co-opt other members as necessary, e.g. the Editor of the publication(s) from the Vilnius Congress, the organiser of the 2011 Congress if not already part of the Executive.
8) 2011 Congress (and 2013); and other conferences
Offers were received from Madeira, Skopje and Dublin; there were also more tentative proposals from Braga, while Roumiana Stantcheva had consulted with colleagues in Sofia, but had so far received no answer. A proposal from Slovenia for a conference on “The Book: An Economy of Cultural Spaces” to coincide with Ljubljana being UNESCO World Book Capital, 2010-11, had also been tentatively made as a possibility for the biennial Congress. As this would have to be in Autumn 2010 or Spring 2011, with a substantial change in the timetables that is now becoming more established and recognisable (and would also imply that officers for the next term would be elected for a substantially shorter time), this proposal was discussed separately (see below).
The offers from Madeira, Skopje and Dublin were briefly discussed, and it was agreed that not enough information was as yet available to make a final decision, and that representatives from Madeira, Skopje and Dublin would present their proposals to the Executive that would be elected later in the day for 2009-11. Given the time it takes to organise events, and the usefulness of being able to announce to delegates at a biennial Congress details for the following Congress, it was reiterated by the GC that it would be useful to already have a proposal to work on for 2013 during the term of office of the 2009-11 Executive, so that plans could already be well advanced in 2011 for 2013.
The proposal for a conference on “the Book” was warmly welcomed; the outgoing Executive was in favour of supporting the application for funding as a REELC / ENCLS event, and would recommend this to the incoming Executive.
Indeed, more conferences should be supported / co-organised by REELC/ENCLS.
The outgoing GC also undertook to draft a document for organisers of REELC/ENCLS Congresses with information, things to keep in mind, deadlines, etc. This would be a working document that would be revised, expanded, and updated as needed, but would be helpful both for organisers and for future candidates, as well as for Executive Officers in reaching their decisions.
[Please also note the last paragraph under point 2 above about use of languages at Congresses]
Initial discussions over e-mail had revealed that there was no general agreement about a publication (e.g. regular journal) of the REELC/ENCLS. In particular there was no agreement about format, about whether it should be (blind-)peer-reviewed, and on whether we would have the time and resources necessary. How to use the resource of our own website and whether / how to collaborate with other publications (such as e.g. CLCWeb), and the possible conflicts that this might cause was briefly discussed, and would have to be discussed at more length and in more detail by the new Executive Committee.
It was important however that REELC/ENCLS could publish papers / essays from its events under its own name (not just the Congress papers but also, for example, the results of scientific research projects undertaken).
Collaborations with other publications could also be sought (e.g. issues of the Journal of the French / Swiss / British…. Association could be guest-edited by/with REELC/ENCLS, etc.). Increasing academic visibility and credibility will be important over the next few years.
This item is on the Agenda as a matter of course, but there are no plans at present to introduce fees or change the ways in which interested people can become members. [over 260 members were registered on the site at 10/09/2009].
It is important to encourage other interested people and delegates at our conferences to register so that they remain in contact with us / we remain in contact with them.
Very warm thanks are due to Ales Vaupotič, Jola Škulj, the webteam and the Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SRC-SASA / ZRC-SAZU), which is *very generously* giving financial support to the website.
More regional moderators should be sought, and more active involvement would have to be sought from them. It was agreed that a coordinator of regional moderators would be useful. Lucia Boldrini offered to do this, and also to continue helping the Webmaster with the day-to-day registrations of new members, posting of announcements etc., with a view to training up someone else who could take this over in the future.
An upgrade of the technology is going to take place, and, when this occurs, a change will be introduced so that personal contact details of members will be visible only to registered logged-in members (this had been a matter of concern to some members in the past).
Ales Vaupotič as Webmaster would talk at the General Meeting about the possibility of self-archiving files on the site, explaining its advantages, and encouraging members to use the facility. Executive officers in particular were invited to lead by example.
12) Synapsis / summer school(s)
The collaboration is going well; financial problems remain a concern.
Collaborations with other schools can /should also be developed.
It may be useful to try to organise a meeting / workshop for organisers or graduate summer / intensive schools in order to increase collaborations, compare notes, help each other, learn from each other’s experiences.
13) Postgraduate Business
There are proposals for a dedicated forum on the Website, and for a network of post-docs or recent appointments to academic jobs in comparative literature ‘mentoring’ / giving advice / support / sharing their experience with more junior graduates.
There are also plans to introduce more graduate events, including possibly a REELC/ENCLS graduate conference in the alternative year from the biennial Congress. It is important that these should not become ways of ‘segregating’ graduates, but to offer additional forms of development, encounter, and exchange of experience.
The Doctoral and Postdoctoral Officers should take a lead on this, supported by the entire Executive Committee.
14) Any other business
Lucia Boldrini thanked all colleagues for their good work and help over the last two years.
The meeting ended at 17:30
Minutes drafted by Lucia Boldrini, as General Coordinator 2007-09.