Minutes of the General Meeting, Vilnius, 11 September 2009

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Joined: 05.09.2006


Biennial Meeting of the General Assembly of Members

Vilnius, 11 September 2007, 17.30.


1) Apologies for Absence

List of present members and apologies would not be taken.

2) Minutes of the Meeting of the General Assembly held at the second biennial Congress of the REELC/ENCLS, Clermont Ferrand, September 2007

(These had been published on the website and copies were made available.)

The minutes were approved.

3) Matters Arising

None were identified that were not already substantial items of the agenda.

4) Biennial Report from the General Coordinator

An important activity has been the revision of the Charter to reflect the lighter and more flexible structure of the Network, and the revision of the regulations for election of Officers. Proposals for these would be discussed later.

At the last meeting we had received two proposals for collaboration, one on a research project, the other with a doctoral summer school, and these also represented two of the major activities we undertook:

a) Collaboration with the ALICE project (Another Landscape: Imagining Contemporary Europe). The project was coordinated the University of Bologna and included various other Universities; it participated in a bid for funding from the EU. As representative of REELC/ENCLS, the General Coordinator coordinated the offer to organise three workshops / seminars, in which members of the ALICE team would have taken part together with other local and European scholars (these would have taken place in Bulgaria, Slovenia, Macedonia; heartfelt thanks are due to Roumiana Stantcheva, Darja Pavlič and Sonja Stojmenska-Elzeser for their great efforts to have all details ready by the deadline). Unfortunately the project did not receive the EU funding, which was very disappointing. However it was good ‘training’ for us, and it was extremely encouraging to see that there is an actual network of scholars and comparatists that are ready to work together and cooperate on this kind of issue, giving each other support.

It is the plan of the Réseau / Network to be more proactive in encouraging and initiating collaborations of this kind.

b) The cooperation with an existing summer school was in part prompted by the fact that the Network’s plans included, since its founding, the organisation of a summer school, but, at least for the moment, we do not have the resources (financial and in terms of material organisational support) to establish our own school. Thus it was agreed that the best thing would be to cooperate with an existing and established school that has characteristics we are also looking for: international body of teachers / lecturers, international appeal for participating students, comparative focus, affordability, variety of themes and approaches, ability for the students to improve their career prospects in the field. Thus we discussed an association with the European School of Comparative Studies Synapsis, run jointly by the universities of Bologna and Siena.

The arrangement in this case went rather better than with ALICE: we are now partners and our name appears among the associated partners on the School’s website. The School’s organisers are also very happy about the collaboration as more interest has been expressed from doctoral students from a larger range of European countries. A particularly commendable feature of Synapsis is that it supports its students for the three months prior to the start if the School, with advice about reading, etc; and for 6 months thereafter, supporting them with advice and feedback on drafts of articles for publication in Quaderni di Synapsis (where the plenary lectures are also published). This chimes in with our ‘mission’ to encourage the development of younger scholars in the discipline.

The collaboration will continue, and any form of support that can be offered by members will be welcome, especially as Synapsis – like most – is facing possible financial difficulties in the future. Plans for the 2010 School are taking shape and the topic will be “Utopia”.

This of course does not exclude our support and collaboration with other summer / intensive schools for comparative literature students.

The possibility of holding a meeting of directors of summer schools is also being discussed in order to compare experiences, good practice, maybe collaborate and join forces where useful. Any members involved in comparative literature summer schools or international graduate comparative literature networks who are interested to meet people in a similar position, please do contact the new General Coordinator and/or Lucia Boldrini ( ).

Finally, we should welcome the arrival of a new baby in the world of comparative literature associations in Europe: the Comparative Literature Association of Ireland (CLAI), which held its first conference (dedicated to graduate students) last year.

5) Review of the administrative structure and charter of REELC/ENCLS

(A draft of the new Charter, and the old version [annotated with agreed changes to be made] were published on the website; copies of the new Charter were also made available at the General Meeting.)

The Executive Committee Meeting had just agreed an amendment. Section III.5 should 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.”

With this amendment, the Charter was approved in its new form by the General Assembly, and will be published on the website.

6) Regulations for the selection, election and term of office of the Executive Officers and General Coordinator.

(A draft of the proposed Regulations was published on the website; copies were also made available at the General Meeting.)

The following amendments just agreed by the Executive Meeting were presented to the meeting:

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) The third point under 6.a would now 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.” Wording of the rest of the regulations to be modified where necessary to reflect this amendment.

This amendment renders the rest of the regulations obsolete, so 6a becomes 6, and 6b and 6c are deleted.

A further amendment was proposed, to reduce the ‘waiting time’ between appointments to the Executive committee to 4 years for all previously elected Officers (irrespective of whether they had served for one or more terms). Wording of the rest of the regulations to be modified where necessary to reflect this amendment.

The text of the Regulations, with all the amendments listed above, was approved, and will be published on the website in its final form.

7) Website development

Members are invited to register their details, publications, interests on the website if they have not yet done so; to register institutions (including research centres, research groups, etc.)

A number of Regional Moderators have been appointed, but more will be needed, from regions / languages that are still unrepresented. Regional Moderators can help by disseminating information about REELC/ENCLS in their areas, and post on the website information and announcements about events, publications, positions, etc. in their area.

A Coordinator of Regional Moderators would be appointed to ensure that the circulation of information is effective.

The Webmaster, Ales Vaupotič, invited members to use the new self-archiving module on the website. This enables individuals to self-archive various files, including articles. The presentation will be posted on the website so that the information presented can be more easily retrieved [this has already been posted at < http://www.eurolit.org/index.php?q=node/852>]

Everyone is invited to make use of this facility.

An upgrade of the technology is planned. Members will see little difference, but this is essential work to ensure that the site continues to work well.

A feature will be introduced with this upgrade: only logged-in, registered members will be able to see personal contact details of other members (other details such as publications, activities etc will continue to be visible even when not logged on).

Very warm thanks are due to Ales Vaupotič, Jola Škulj, the webteam and SRC-SASA/ZRC-SAZU, which is very generously financing the website.

8) Postgraduate matters

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 should 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.

Members who have suggestions are warmly invited to contact the Executive Officers.

9) Membership of the REELC/ENCLS

Membership is by registration on the website or through participation at REELC/ENCLS events. Only those that register on the website, however, will continue to receive newsletter updates. Registration is simple and free. Those who have not yet registered are warmly invited to do so at www.eurolit.net (or www.eurolit.org, www.reelc.net, www.encls.net)

10) Third Congress, Vilnius 2009

The local organizers were complimented on their excellent work, and they and VPU were warmly thanked.

There are about 70 delegates, from over 20 countries, equally divided between Eastern and Western Europe.

Prof. Nijolė Kašelionienė reported that 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 to publish them on our website, similarly to the papers from the Clermont Ferrand Congress. Information about submission will be sent by e-mail to the participants and will be published on the website.

11) Plans for the Fourth Biennial Congress, 2011 (and beyond)

Offers were received from Madeira, Skopje and Dublin; there were also more tentative proposals from Braga, and possibly Sofia.

More information would be sought about the proposals above, and as soon as a location, date, and theme were agreed, these will be circulated through the website.

12) Publications

Although at present there are no concrete proposals for a journal of the REELC/ENCLS, the website has the facility to publish texts (indeed the proceedings from the 2007 Clermont Ferrand Congress were published here, as well as in CAHIERS DE L'ECHINOX VOL. 16 - 2009), and plans for collaborations with other publications are being discussed.

Plans for the publication of papers from the Congress are described in 10 above.

The opportunity for members self-archiving their work are described in 7 above.

13) Election of the Executive Officers for 2009-11

There being as many candidates as places available, the Assembly was asked to confirm the officers, without the need for a secret ballot. The following are elected for the 2009-11 term of office:

Nele Bemong (Belgium) (second term)

Marina Grishakova (Estonia)

Marko Juvan (Slovenia) (second term)

Brigitte Le Juez (Ireland)

Roland Lysell (Sweden / Nordic Association) (second term)

Dearbhla McGrath (Doctoral candidate)

Olga Romanova (Ukraine) (Post-Doctoral candidate)

Roumiana Stantcheva (Bulgaria) (second term)

Sonja Stojmenska-Elzeser (Macedonia)

Steven Tötösy de Zepetnek (various affiliations world-wide)

Karl Zieger (France)

Lucia Boldrini would continue ex-officio for one term as immediate past General Coordinator

Ales Vaupotič would continue ex-officio as Webmaster

Jola Škulj would continue ex-officio as Institutional Web liaison Officer

The Executive Committee may co-opt any additional officers as required for specific purposes.

The Executive Committee would meet before the end of the Congress to nominate a General Coordinator for 2009-11, set its priorities, consider proposals to organise the 2011 Congress, distribute some of the tasks for the next two-year term, and start its activities.

14) Any other business

Prof Manfred Schmeling, President of the AILC/ICLA, announced that the next AILC/ICLA Congress would be in Seoul, Korea, 15-21 August 2010. Though the deadline for paper proposals is now passed, some last-minute proposals may still be taken if submitted in the next few days.

Prof Schmeling also announced that the 2013 AILC/ICLA Congress is most likely to be organized in Paris (Sorbonne – Paris IV), though this is subject to being confirmed officially at the 2010 Congress.

Lucia Boldrini, as outgoing General Coordinator, warmly thanked all the Executive Committee officers, and wished the new Executive well.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 19.00.

Minutes drafted by Lucia Boldrini as General Coordinator 2007-09.

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