Edith Wharton Society Business Meeting (Draft)
MLA, December 30, 2005
The Edith Wharton Society met on December 30 at the end of the second Wharton panel. The agenda and actions were as follows:
1. The first order of business was to vote on changes to the constitution. These changes are of two kinds: (1) those that will make our constitution compliant with IRS rules for nonprofit corporations; and (2) those that will allow us to conduct business more efficiently. These include section 4.2, which stipulates that the notice of a conference serves also as the notice of a business meeting instead of requiring separate notification; and sections 9.1 and 9.2, which allow votes on amendments by means other than a vote of those present at the MLA business meeting.
A move to accept the changes was made by Margaret Murray and seconded by Carol Singley. Upon a suggestion by Robert Koros that electronic voting as well as paper ballots be offered as an option, Margaret Murray made a friendly amendment to her original motion to that effect. The motion to accept these changes to the constitution passed unanimously.
2. The winner of the first annual Edith Wharton Essay Prize contest, which drew 35 entries, is Dr. Kate McLoughlin of Balliol College, Oxford, for her essay “Edith Wharton, War Correspondent.” The editors of the Edith Wharton Review will be contacting some other participants about publishing their essays in the EWR. The contest judges were Carole Shaffer-Koros, Margaret Murray, and Linda Costanzo Cahir.
3. Members of the audience and panelists were reminded that deadlines for the calls for papers for the American Literature Association conference are near and that the panel organizers would welcome proposals.
4. The results of the election for the Edith Wharton Society Executive Board positions for terms running from January 1, 2006-January 1, 2008 were announced: Emily Orlando, Margaret Murray, and Betsy Klimasmith.
We will need to elect three Executive board members this year as well, for the terms from January 1, 2007-January 1, 2009. The nominations form is available at http://www.edithwhartonsociety.org/nominationform.htm, and the deadline for nominating someone is April 15, 2006.
We will also elect a Secretary of the Edith Wharton Society this year. The nominations form may also be used for to nominate candidates for Secretary, and the deadline is also April 15, 2006.
5. The final item of business was choosing a topic from the floor for next year’s MLA convention. Donna Campbell announced that the topic for the president’s panel is “Nations, Race, and Citizenship in Edith Wharton.” Three topics were proposed from the floor:
1. Mary Papke (in absentia): Edith Wharton’s Philosophical Investments in her Literary Accounts
2. Margaret Murray: Edith Wharton and Narcissism
3. Carol Singley: Kinship, Relative Values, and Childhood
“Edith Wharton and Narcissism” received the most votes, so that will be next year’s topic. Celeste Wiggins asked if a different system might be used to choose topics, perhaps one that did not rely on attendance at the sometimes sparsely attended MLA meetings, and Donna Campbell promised that the EWS Board would look into that for next year.
The meeting was adjourned at 1:15.
Donna Campbell, Secretary pro tem