I’ve been following the debate over at In the Middle about the Medieval Academy conference scheduled to be held in Arizona in April of 2011; note the appended responses to this. I was considering sending in a paper proposal this time, but I just can’t do it. It is troubling to me that the Academy should hold a conference in a state whose elected representatives have signed into law provisions that open the door to any kind of racial harassment.
As much as this one (new) blogger’s plea might matter, and as an MAA member for some 20 years, I would request that the Medieval Academy seriously consider not holding its 2011 Conference in Arizona. Cancellations like this only matter if many do it, and it would be on the side of what is right to choose to be one of those many. I would urge the Academy to join other civic and academic organizations and unions (including the city of Los Angeles and SEIU) who have decided not to do business in the state. At the very least, I would like to see clear deliberation from the Academy about this choice. I realize that canceling or moving the conference would incur a financial loss to the Academy and to local groups in Arizona, and this is to be deplored: these costs, however, are not as deplorable as Arizona’s recent, offensive legislation.
And I would urge the Academy to begin open consideration of this soon, before it and Academy members invest more in the conference and travel to it.