LINGUIST List 7.805

Sat Jun 1 1996

Disc: LSA & Political Correctness

Editor for this issue: T. Daniel Seely <dseelyemunix.emich.edu>


Directory

  1. "Ellen F. Prince", LSA
  2. David Prager Branner, LSA & Political Correctness
  3. Michael Bernstein, Re: 7.786, Disc: Umlauts, Lg & dreams, LSA

Message 1: LSA

Date: Thu, 30 May 1996 01:04:47 EDT
From: "Ellen F. Prince" <ellencentral.cis.upenn.edu>
Subject: LSA
>From: dicklinguistics.ucl.ac.uk (Dick Hudson)
>Subject: Re: 7.749, Disc: Linguistic Society of America & Political
>	 Correctness
>
in the recent posting on lsa policy, dick hudson wrote:

>I think this misses the point of Michael Covington's posting: LSA members
>who live in blacklisted places never get the opportunity to attend a local
>LSA meeting. In the UK this would be an extremely important consideration
>since some members have no access to conference funds and can't afford to
>pay their own travel and conference expenses. Maybe things are easier in
>USA, so you can all go equally easily to any part of the country? But I
>would guess that the issue isn't as simple as some of the postings suggest.

several points. (1)the lsa annual meeting rotates among three regions: east,
midwest, and west, so everybody residing in the continental us has it in their
region once in three years. (2)unlike the lagb, which meets (at least some of
the time?) on university campuses and can, i suppose, meet at ANY (british?)
university, the lsa meets in fairly large hotels in fairly major cities, the
city requirement being important for getting decent plane fares for the
majority flying there. therefore, MANY, if not most, members NEVER have it in
their own town. (ithaca new york, amherst massachusetts, and urbana illinois,
for example, are just not possible as sites that people can get to quickly and
cheaply from all over the country and abroad, tho each place has an impressive
number of lsa members.) (3)there are MANY lsa members who reside OUTSIDE of the
48 contiguous states (e.g. you!) and for them the meeting is NEVER local. so i
really don't see any particular discriminatory hardship for those people in
states in which we don't meet because of sodomy laws. on the contrary, they can
work to change those laws -- at least a lot more easily than the linguists at
cornell can work to make ithaca a metropolis! :)
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Message 2: LSA & Political Correctness

Date: Thu, 30 May 1996 05:45:44 PDT
From: David Prager Branner <charmiiu.washington.edu>
Subject: LSA & Political Correctness
	I am glad to read Michael Covington's criticism of the LSA.
Actually, I think the heavy tendency to political correctness among many
large academic organizations in the Humanities (AAS, MLA, LSA, etc. etc.)
shows itself not only in their policies, but also in the nature of a lot
of the research topics that are now popular. In linguistics,
anthropology, and literature there is now so much stress on formalism and
"theory" (which we forget just means "ideas") that people who study
concrete things have difficulty getting jobs. I am convinced that
politically correct policies reflect the same kind of rigidly doctrinaire
frame of mind that has given us four decades of
Chomskyan/Tranformationalist domination of our field.

	I am very grateful to Michael Covington for raising this subject.
I am from the Northeast, by the way.

				Sincerely,

David Prager Branner, Yuen Ren Society
Asian L&L, University of Washington, Box 353521
Seattle, WA 98195-3521 USA			<charmiiu.washington.edu>
		Web: http://weber.u.washington.edu/~yuenren
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Message 3: Re: 7.786, Disc: Umlauts, Lg & dreams, LSA

Date: Thu, 30 May 1996 11:07:32 EDT
From: Michael Bernstein <michaelcascadilla.com>
Subject: Re: 7.786, Disc: Umlauts, Lg & dreams, LSA
>Date: Sat, 25 May 1996 17:00:15 BST
>From: dicklinguistics.ucl.ac.uk (Dick Hudson)
>Subject: Re: 7.749, Disc: Linguistic Society of America & Political
> Correctness
>
>In the recent posting on LSA policy, Lynne Murphy wrote:
>
>>...by avoiding places where some of its
>>members are discriminated against, the lsa is serving its membership.
>>this is the way i view it. by passing discriminatory ordinances,
>>these cities/states have said "some people have fewer civil rights
>>than others". some of these people are lsa members, and i think
>>it's good of the lsa not to subject those members to the loss of
>>their rights.
>
>I think this misses the point of Michael Covington's posting: LSA members
>who live in blacklisted places never get the opportunity to attend a local
>LSA meeting. In the UK this would be an extremely important consideration
>since some members have no access to conference funds and can't afford to
>pay their own travel and conference expenses. Maybe things are easier in
>USA, so you can all go equally easily to any part of the country? But I
>would guess that the issue isn't as simple as some of the postings suggest.

Not everyone can have a local meeting. The US is about 40 times
larger than the UK in land area, and the LSA only meets once a year.

The best approximation is to hold meetings in different general
areas of the country, with slightly higher frequency for California
and New England because that's where so many members live. The LSA
already does that. It's just a question of picking cities within
different areas, where they say they'll only pick cities which will
not be able to legally discriminate against some LSA members. It's
an extremely reasonable policy.

Yours,
 Michael
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