Minutes for the 2015 Executive Committee Meeting
Oru, Fairmont Waterfront, Vancouver, 9th January 2015
The Executive Committee of the International Spenser Society met on January 9, 2015, in Vancouver, BC. In attendance were Graham Hammill (President), Jane Grogan (Vice-President), Rhonda Lemke Sanford (Secretary-Treasurer) Melissa Sanchez (University of Pennsylvania), Tiffany Werth (Simon Fraser University), Colleen Rosenfeld (Pomona College), J.K. Barret (University of Texas), Craig Berry (Independent Scholar), Stephanie Elsky (University of Wisconsin).
Apologies: Thomas Herron (East Carolina University), Andrew King (University College Cork)
1. The minutes from the 2014 Executive Committee meeting were agreed.
2. Rhonda Lemke Sanford delivered the Secretary-Treasurer’s report. The ISS currently has 403 members (compared to 292 last year). There is currently $18,303 in the ISS account, though $6,000 of that has been committed to the ISS conference in Dublin, 18-20 June 2015. RS noted the need to reconcile the old roster of membership with current paid-up members. GH asked about the effects of waiving membership fees, to which RS noted that the new system appears to be working well, though the Society is fortunate to have some heavy donors. TW suggested that a separate reminder email might be needed to encourage members to renew their membership each year, and RS agreed to investigate setting up such a thing.
GH and RS thanked TW for her hard work in making arrangements for the venues of the Executive Committee meeting and the ISS luncheon.
3. GH reviewed plans for the 2015 ISS luncheon (10th Jan 2015), to include:
GH to report on The Spenser Review
RS to report on the ISS finances
JG to report on the 2015 ISS conference in Dublin
MacCaffrey Prize to be awarded to Joe Moshenska, “The Forgotten Youth of Allegory: Figures of Old Age in The Faerie Queene,” Modern Philology 110: 2 (2013): 389-414.
GH to report on news: ISS is now affiliated with Sixteenth-Century Society Conference (two panels/year), as well as MLA, RSA (up to five panels this year), Kalamazoo.
4. The terms of committee members Thomas Herron, Gerard Passanante and Andrew Wallace have come to an end. New members nominated by the Executive Committee and elected at the luncheon are Kasey Evans (Northwestern University), Catherine Nicholson (Yale University) and Stephen Guy-Bray (University of British Columbia).
5. The committee discussed possible topics for panels at RSA, SCSC and MLA. The committee agreed the suggestion by MS for a roundtable on “Spenser and the Human” at the 2016 MLA, to be organised by MS. JKB and CR volunteered to organise a series of panels on “Moments of Emergency in Spenser/The Faerie Queene” or “Emergency and the Emergent in Spenser” for RSA 2015.
Other suggested topics for panels at SCSC and potentially RSA include the following, and the committee agreed to review and select from them at a later point:
Spenser and Motion
Spenser and Circulation
Collecting (in) Spenser
Spenser’s Archives and Antiquities
Spenser and the Sonnet
TW volunteered to run one panel at SCSC, in collaboration with ISS liaison with SCSC, Ayesha Ramachandran.
JKB volunteered to help with arrangements for the ISS Executive Committee meeting and luncheon at MLA 2016, which will take place in Austin, TX.
MS is stepping down from her role as RSA liaison officer, and the role will be shared by CR and JKB, though JKB will be the named ISS representative to the RSA in 2015 and 2016.
6. An approach from SAMLA regarding affiliation of the ISS was discussed but the committee decided that for now such an affiliation would not be possible, given the timing clash with SCSC and the additional costs for Spenserians of attending the ISS conference this year.
From suggestions made to him by some members, GH raised the question of ISS holding the ISS Executive Committee meeting, Spenser luncheon and MacLean lecture elsewhere than at MLA. Several factors were noted: that the Spenser luncheon can now only be advertised on the MLA online programme; a perceived hostility to single-author panels at MLA; the reduction in the number of ISS panels in recent years, from three to one; the high costs of attending MLA. The committee expressed some interest in exploring the possibility of moving ISS business to RSA (but keeping an ISS panel at MLA), and discussion of the issue is to be continued.
7. Update on The Spenser Review: Julian Lethbridge has recently stepped down from his role as Book Reviews Editor; his excellent contribution to the Review was applauded. Richard Danson Brown has taken up the role, for which the Committee expressed their appreciation. GH noted the need to plan for a new Editor following David Lee Miller’s projected withdrawal from the role in Autumn 2017; the importance of David’s work was noted, as was the need to find someone of his calibre, preferably with institutional support.
GH also asked for the committee to send letters of support noting the significance of The Spenser Review and David’s work, so as to help ensure the continued support of the University of South Carolina.
8. Update on the ISS conference in Dublin, 18-20 June 2015, given by JG, speaking for the organising committee (Thomas Herron, Andrew King and JG). Details given of the high number of abstracts accepted (150), additional tie-in events (exhibition, walking tours, concert) and further details of the venues of the conference and conference dinner.
9. Update on the Oxford Spenser given by GH, noting ongoing work by Joe Loewenstein on the intellectual property to the online edition once it reverts to the ISS.
10. Selection of judges for the MacCaffrey prize. CB agreed to stay on a second year, and TW volunteered to be the second judge. The 2016 prize will reward the book that makes the most significant contribution to Spenser studies published in 2013 and 2014.
JG asked the committee to consider an issue that has arisen in recent years of the prize: the status of past winners, and the question of whether the prize should reward the best work on Spenser or the best work on Spenser with consideration to “sharing the wealth” somewhat. The committee had a lengthy discussion of possibilities for revising the rules of the Award, including the addition of a time-limit within which past winners could not be considered again, or other new conditions of eligibility. The committee finally agreed a suggested revision of the current rules to put to the membership at the Spenser luncheon: that “No one can win the essay or the book prize twice in a row.” [At the luncheon, the matter was discussed further and eventually the following revision was agreed by the membership, and subsequently added to the rules of the prize on Spenser Online: “Normally no winner of the MacCaffrey prize shall be eligible to win either award again within a five-year period.”]
11. A proposal by RS that the ISS should pay the luncheon fee for the Hugh MacLean speaker was agreed by the Committee.
12. The Committee discussed a proposal by David Lee Miller for a chap-book to raise funds for the ISS, and agreed to search for someone who could lead such an initiative.
Respectfully submitted, 25th January 2015,
University College Dublin