This fall Ithaka S+R is launching the tenth project in our ongoing Research Support Services program. This project will focus on the research practices of faculty in the fields of language and literature, broadly defined, and will seek to identify areas where these scholars need further support.

Research in language and literature is typically delineated through sub-fields grouped by genre, theory and/or method of analysis (e.g., poetry, history of the book, composition, literary criticism), comparative literature, and literature in certain languages or geographic regions. Correspondingly, scholars associated with these fields can be found in a variety of departments, including English, writing, rhetoric and composition, drama, comparative literature, area studies, and media studies, among others. For this project, linguistics and language pedagogy are out of scope in recognition that research in these areas is sufficiently unique to warrant separate treatment.

We are undertaking this research thanks to the sponsorship of the Modern Language Association (MLA). Paula Krebs, Executive Director of the MLA is also serving as an ongoing project advisor. The project additionally relies on scholars who are leaders in the field to engage in an advisory capacity. We thank Howard Rambsy (Southern Illinois University Edwardsville),  Roopika Risam (Salem State University), Patricia Simpson (University of Nebraska–Lincoln), Dana Williams (Howard University), and Arielle Zibrak (University of Wyoming) for their insight thus far.

We are also collaborating with research teams at thirteen institutions with strength in the field:

  • Brown University
  • Columbia University
  • Haverford College
  • Georgetown University
  • Indiana University-Bloomington
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • New York University
  • Rutgers University
  • Swarthmore College
  • University of Illinois – Chicago
  • University of Illinois – Urbana Champaign
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Utah

Each participating institution’s library will assemble a research team, attend an Ithaka S+R training workshop on November 8-9 at Georgetown University, and interview their institution’s faculty in these fields. This research will result in a local report authored by each participating institution that considers their researchers’ needs alongside the strategic directions of their library and their institution more widely. The MLA will assemble a team to participate in the project that will focus on understanding the research support needs of faculty at regional comprehensives across the U.S. to complement their strategic initiatives. Ithaka S+R will also use a sample of the data gathered from each research team and publish a capstone report that examines researchers’ activities across the U.S. towards identifying opportunities for supporting scholars more widely.

This is our tenth project that looks in the research support needs of scholars by discipline following earlier studies on history, art history, chemistry, religious studies, agriculture,  public health, Asian studies and forthcoming studies on civil and environmental engineering and Indigenous studies. We are also actively considering additional fields that should be added to this research program, and we welcome expressions of interest from libraries, scholars, learned societies, potential sponsors, and others.