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In the "Final Report" of the Modern Language Association's Committee on Professional Employment (CPE), Sandra Gilbert, committee chair and author of the report, poses this good question, which begs what is perhaps an even better one: what is an organization like the MLA? Unpacking this question—or, for that matter, offering a critique of the CPE "Final Report," as I intend to do here— requires at least some historical perspective. But the question prompting this essay calls for a slightly different history…
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