I was very pleased to have attended the Annual Meeting of the American Council of Learned Societies in Philadelphia on April 27-29 together with the MAA’s new ACLS Delegate Afrodesia McCannon (New York Univ.). Many MAA members may not realize that in addition to offering grants and fellowships, the ACLS provides critical support, counsel, and training for staff, governance, and volunteer leadership of its seventy-nine constituent learned societies. The Medieval Academy of America was among the earliest members of ACLS, joining in 1927. As our delegate, Prof. McCannon is a voting member of the ACLS Council and is tasked with delivering an annual report on ACLS meetings and programming to the MAA Council and members. This report is delivered during our own Annual Meeting and is published in the July issue of Speculum each year.
This year’s ACLS Annual Meeting included panels, lectures, and discussions focusing on the complexities of open-access publishing, ongoing threats to the humanities, legislative attacks on academic free speech, and issues facing students, teachers, and staff at HBCUs nationwide. All of these topics are of import to the MAA as we think about the direction of our own publishing programs, the future of Medieval Studies, and efforts to make our field and our organization a welcoming and safe space for BIPOC medievalists and their work. On Friday evening, the 2023 Charles Homer Haskins Prize Lecture was delivered by Henry Louis Gates, Jr., who spoke about the journey from his childhood in rural West Virginia to his role as producer and host of the PBS series “Finding Your Roots.”
On Saturday morning, I was elected to the Executive Committee of the Conference of Executive Officers (CEO), where I had been serving a one-year replacement term. I look forward to serving a full three-year term working with Executive Directors from other ACLS societies to set priorities and agendas for the CEO’s biannual meetings. The CEO has been an incredibly valuable resource for me throughout my tenure as ED, and I am grateful to have the opportunity to be part of its leadership.