If appointed/elected, my three goals, to be completed by the end of my four years of service, are:
(1) a functional and more communal/international VN society website (benefitting from Jeff Edmunds’s advice and designed along the lines Priscilla, Julian, Steve, and I have already discussed at the ASEES meeting)
The key to this proposal is that different folks would be in charge of creating/editing/maintaining (and getting credit for) different features of the website; they would be able to work both together and independently. Briefly, such a website would have a promotional/informational portion free to the public: news about conferences, events, and publications; interviews with Nabokovians that would feature the pioneers and the incoming scholars; links to interesting Nabokoviana; blurbs about, and excerpts from ongoing work; discussion forums, links to the Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc. That portion would inform and direct the novices as well as promote VNS, the scholarly work of its members, and a sense of a global Nabokov community. It would be possible to make the site interactive, have particular features rated by visitors for helpfulness and have those become more visible or more frequently visible on the website as a way of creating what my students call “buzz” that could then be Tweeted.
But Subscribers/members of VNS would have password-ed access to the current issue of The Nabokovian or to those features of The Nabokovian the Board of VNS chooses to retain. Additionally, subscribers would have also access to the bibliography, notes, annotations, and commentary in a number of languages, a concordance to VN's works, ability to search through previous issues of The Nabokovian, digital reprints of out-of-print criticism on Nabokov’s works, and any other features we decide on. The website would have an international dimension, highlighting or linking to Nabokov societies or groups in France, Germany, Japan, Russia, etc. There would be a staggered fee structure based on what features people would want to access and on the stage of their scholarly career.
(2) higher visibility for VNS events at national meetings and conventions
The higher visibility would necessarily mean more recruiting among incoming and mid-career Nabokov scholars, and the VNS website would be one device for further service to the Society if such recruiting is successful.
(3) enough of a budgetary surplus to pay for at least the yearly business dinner for those members of the Board who attend the MLA/AATSEEL national meetings, the customary venue for the Board’s meetings.
The promises I make commit neither the current President nor the President-Elect who would follow me to any financial obligations. Should we experience a windfall, we can start thinking, again communally, about using the surplus for more noble purpose than food and drink: prizes, stipends, special publications honoring pioneers of Nabokov studies, etc. But I like food and drink as a reasonable starting point. Every other Society I am familiar with has at least that civilized practice.
Although I am not mentioning the rewriting of the By-Laws as a goal, I fully recognize that they need to be amended, and I am grateful to Steve for starting the process and to Leland for publically volunteering to see it to the end.
Stephen H. Blackwell
Professor and Chair, Russian Program (Modern Foreign Languages and Literatures)
President, Vladimir Nabokov Society
MFLL-701 McClung Tower
University of Tennessee
Knoxville, TN 37996
865 974 4536 (email preferred)
Fax: 865 974 7096
Office: McClung 606