2016 International Symposium Survey Results


The MLA’s first International Symposium—Other Europes: Migrations, Translations, Transformation—took place in Düsseldorf, Germany, from 23 to 25 June 2016, and we are happy to report that it was a resounding success! The two-and-a-half-day symposium boasted sixty-eight sessions, including five plenary events and two receptions, and was attended by more than three hundred humanities scholars from over 185 universities and colleges. The symposium examined how European identities have been conceived in the past and present, how European literature has been produced and circulated, and how large-scale immigration to and mobility within Europe (as well as the post-1989 redrawing of the European map) have changed these practices.

To get a better sense of how participants felt about the MLA’s first ever event outside the United States and Canada, the association conducted a short survey following the symposium. About one-third of attendees responded, and their feedback was overwhelmingly positive: over 80% of attendees declared themselves “satisfied” with the symposium, and over 90% said they are “likely” to attend the next one.


Nearly all respondents were satisfied with the dates of the symposium (96%) and the responsiveness of MLA staff and volunteers (94%). The two social events organized for the symposium, a Rhine cruise and a reception held by the mayor, were well attended, and many attendees expressed interest in expanding these in the future: 86% were interested in additional social events or meals, and 82% were interested in expanded excursions or city tours.

Participating as a presenter was the primary factor that respondents cited as influencing their attendance (82%), closely followed by interest in the symposium theme (77%). Over half of all respondents mentioned the convenience of the location and conference dates as additional factors. When asked about future attendance, participating as a presenter was cited as the primary factor (85%), followed by institutional funding (71%), time of year (69%), and location (64%).

Survey respondents were also asked about their preferred location for the next symposium (South or Central America, Asia or Pacific, Africa), and almost half selected South or Central America as their top choice. And although Europe was not one of the options listed, two-thirds of write-in responses selected it as their preferred destination.

We appreciate the contributions of all attendees for making this an intellectually stimulating event. We especially want to thank those who took the time to respond to the survey. Their feedback will help us ensure the success of future events!