RMMLA 2014 Keynote Speech by Victor H. Mair – The Impact of Technology on the Study of Language and Literature

Victor Mair Toni Tan  Cambria Press Chris Lupke Paul Manfredi Joy Landeira RMMLA
Victor Mair (University of Pennsylvania), RMMLA 2014 keynote speaker and editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, with Toni Tan (Cambria Press), Joy Landeira (RMMLA Executive Director), Paul Manfredi (Pacific Lutheran University) and Christopher Lupke (Washington State University).

Victor Mair, renowned Sinologist at the University of Pennsylvania and editor of the Cambria Sinophone World Series, delivered the keynote address at the 68th RMMLA annual convention last Friday (October 10).

Dr. Eduardo Caro (Arizona State University), the RMMLA president, kicked off the luncheon event, which was attended by hundreds of RMMLA attendees, by having Dr. Christopher Lupke (Washington State University) introduce Dr. Mair.

During Christopher Lupke’s eloquent introduction, he announced that he would make a revelation about Victor Mair, of which even the keynote speaker himself would be unaware. Thirty-one years ago, an editorial assistant at the journal CLEAR (Chinese Literature: Essays, Articles, Reviews) had to type up an article “The Narrative Revolution in Chinese Literature: Ontological Presuppositions”–this was the lead article in the paradigm-shifting symposium on the origins of Chinese fiction. For the editorial assistant, the article was memorable not only for its content and its author but also because it contained an astounding number of footnotes for a 27-page piece–there were 101 of them, and they were all substantive. The article also contained Egyptian and Chinese characters which the editorial assistant had to typeset manually. That editorial assistant was none other than Christopher Lupke and the author of the article Victor Mair! This remarkable coincidence was indeed unknown to Victor Mair, who expressed his gratitude for Christopher Lupke’s careful, painstaking work.

Aptly described by Christopher Lupke as “a naturally restless intellectual whose impact is felt well beyond Chinese studies” and “truly one of the monuments of our profession,” Victor Mair’s authority spans across a wide spectrum from Asian languages to Central Asian mummies (“Texts were not enough for Victor Mair” as Christopher Lupke put it). Given how Victor Mair is always in the vanguard of scholarship (e.g., his incredibly popular Language Log blog, his taking the readers of the Sino-Platonic papers from hundreds of hard-copy readers to an online audience of hundreds of thousands), he is the perfect scholar to speak on the impact of technology on the study of language and literature. Victor Mair’s speech resonated with scholars from all areas–not just Asian studies–as he related fascinating accounts of how he has successfully harnessed technology to accomplish in days what would have normally taken weeks, even months (e.g., his reading of the 40-ft ancient Chinese scrolls). After the speech, audience members commented on how pleased they were to be able to hear such an inspiring and interesting talk by this eminent scholar. This was also mentioned repeatedly later at the special publishing seminar by Toni Tan (director of Cambria Press) and at various sessions and events, such as the RMMLA VIP reception.

Victor Mair and Toni Tan thank the RMMLA, especially executive director Joy Landeira and her team as well as Christopher Lupke, for having them at this important conference.

If you were not at the RMMLA convention, you can still watch Victor Mair’s keynote address, along with the preliminary speeches by Dr. Eduardo Caro and Dr. Christopher Lupke.

You and your library can also enjoy the 30% discount–order by Nov 15 and use the code RMMLA 2014. This is applicable to all titles, not only the ones on the RMMLA flier.

Cambria Press will be at the MLA convention in Vancouver, B.C. and the AAS conference in Chicago. Drop by our booths, which will be right in front of the exhibit hall entrance at both conferences, to browse our books.

In addition to the Cambria Sinophone World Series by Victor Mair, Cambria Press also has other important series for scholars in language and literature:

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