Loyola University Chicago

Midwest Modern Language Association

Special Sessions Call for Papers

The 2018 Special Sessions and their CFPs will be up once the sessions are approved.

This special section seeks papers that examine activist anti-war literature and propaganda produced in the United States and/or Great Britain during and between the World Wars. More specifically, texts that foreground the fragility of the human mind and body in combat, and that make these the sites of anti-war rhetoric or art are especially welcome. Papers may consider anti-war activism in the forms of poetry, memoir, novel, pamphlet, and visual texts such as posters and films. Some topics to consider include the ways in which mental and physical suffering as a result of war are presented as anti-war arguments, how that suffering is rendered aesthetically, the effectiveness of anti-war messages across various genres, and the distinction between literary art and propaganda. Papers that directly address the phenomenon of World War I shell shock may be considered for publication in Trans-Atlantic Shell Shock: British and American Literatures of World War I Trauma, a peer-reviewed collection under contract with the University of North Georgia Press.

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract and a brief CV or academic biography to austin.riede@ung.edu by April 15th, 2017.

This session will explore the questions and tensions that emerge when posthumanism and new materialism engage with feminist, anti-racist, queer, and trans* activism. We are particularly interested in thinking through ways to negotiate these tensions in the classroom. Considering that the rise in academic discourse of posthumanism and new materialism is concurrent with striking and strident attacks on women's reproductive freedom, black lives, labor unions, and trans*rights, we invite papers that analyze these political moments and critical modes in tandem with one another .How does political vitality connect to theories of materialism? Who and what matters and why? Is it possible to find connections and crossovers between theories of Dzmatterdz and political movements? How are the political stakes of defining bodies/objects/agents embedded in the narrative threads of theory and activism? When does political reality necessitate change in narrative theory?

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Melissa J. Jones (Eastern Michigan University) at mjones89@emich.edu by April 15th

Interdisciplinary presentations in the form of papers, discussion talking points, or analyses of specific literary or film texts that address ways to deconstruct and combat Islamophobia rhetoric in texts, films, and real world experiences as well as to the Muslim Ban and on any aspect of the refugee crisis.

Please submit a 200-300 word abstract to Khani Begum at khani@bgsu.edu by April 15, 2017.

Humanities have long since recognized the importance of critical reading and thinking, or the ability for students to engage in higher-order thinking skills to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate texts and ideas.  With the growing decline of interest in the humanities and so many students now enrolling in colleges for more vocational ends, there is an emerging shift away from in‐depth reading/critical dialogue in both college and American culture.  Thus, many students now enter college with fewer critical tools that we once took for granted and that once made humanities engaging.   How do we approach this new cultural/student paradigm?  Are there more avenues of approach than simply resisting or easing up on expectations/requirements/objectives?  Proposals for this roundtable should address this concern over the shifting paradigms—or where students are coming from/have been prior coming to college, as well as the changing needs/experiences/potentiality of students—and be willing to tackle some important theoretical and pedagogical questions.


Topics include but are not limited to:

  • Course Design: Beyond traditional lecture/small group discussion strategies, what are some theoretically innovative ways to meet our incoming student learners? What are realistic expectations in terms of course design/coverage for today’s students?
  • Learning:  What are some successful active learning strategies to promote critical thinking for humanities courses for today’s culture, which doesn’t necessarily place great emphasis on reading/discussing ideas, etc.?  From what classroom activities can we expect current students to enjoy/benefit?
  • Reading:  How much to assign for content?  What about assigning long readings?  What are realistic reading comprehension expectations?
  • Evaluation:  Are exams or papers a better gauge of progress, or a mix of the two (or more)?  Theoretically, will quizzes/testing help incoming students retain humanities--‐based knowledge? How much can we/should we on “grade” style in papers for upper--‐level courses?
  • Technology in and out of the class:  How does this culture’s reliance on technology help or hinder teachers of humanities?  What do we expect?  What can we use? What frustrates us but can help in our own course objectives?


Abstracts for this roundtable should be 200--‐300 words and include a brief synopsis of the area of focus with theoretical and pedagogical discussion points.  Hopefully, this will be a sharing of information, so proposals that offer to bring in samples, share tips, handouts, syllabi, etc. will be most welcome.  All abstracts and a brief bio to mmodarelli@walsh.edu by April 15, 2017.

This panel will explore the intersection of applied linguistics, heritage Spanish language pedagogy, and language maintenance and revitalization efforts through the lens of resistance. Spanish in the United States is subject to the same pressures of three-generation-shift and loss (cf. Joshua Fishman 1972,1980) as other immigrant languages historically have been. Assimilation among Hispanophone families in the U.S. portends an extinction crisis in linguistic diversity in the U.S. Efforts to arrest Spanish language attrition may be interpreted as language activism. This panel seeks to address heritage Spanish language advocacy and the validation of linguistic attitudes around varieties of the language in the heritage classroom as acts of resistance. We are particularly interested in papers that explore heritage speaker identity in broader cultural contexts and as a tool for teaching, pedagogical texts or curricula that argue for heritage language study as a social movement, approaches to teaching variation and standardization in the heritage classroom, the role of the instructor in heritage language instruction and in society, the intersection of digital literacies and heritage Spanish for online instruction, the identity of the heritage language student as a member of a social phenomenon that actively resists language death, heritage language use among second-or third-generation Spanish speakers as a subversive act, and the role of social communities or networks in language maintenance efforts.

Please send proposals by April 15th to nathaniel.maddux@uwc.edu.

As we are witnessing and experiencing a significant surge in the circulation of capital, goods, ideas, and populations, should we revisit Goethe’s 1827 concept of Weltliteratur? In the context of globalization, or to use Edouard Glissant’s more enlightening concept globality (mondialité), how can we teach foreign cultures through literature, cinema, music, painting or cooking? Locality can promote cultural and historical awareness and it can dispel stereotypes, generalizations, and reductive understandings of the Other; it can also appraise particularities and reinforce contextuality. On the other hand, globality fosters transnational topoi, targeting universalities and affinities among different cultures. How much cultural and historical background should be taught in order to provide sufficient context for a given text? How can we teach La Chanson de Roland for example without looking at Saladin and the Islamic Empire, or Racine’s Bajazet without talking about Turkey, or Balzac’s Eugénie Grandet without mentioning the Industrial Revolution, or Sembene’s Xala without studying la négritude, or Djebar’s L’amour, la fantasia without taking into account Nouba music? In terms of authenticity, legitimacy, and readability, what is at stake when these texts and cultural foci are taught in their original languages, and what could be lost in translation? From a pedagogical standpoint, how should culture be taught in a language classroom? How should we acknowledge and address the constant dialogic relationship that exists between the texts and their contexts, between the local and the global, in order to better teach these texts?

Please send a 250-word abstract to Nevine El Nossery at elnossery@wisc.edu by April 15, 2017.

This special session seeks papers that focus on the performativity of satire as a form and means of activism for social justice, equality, and/or awareness of critical issues or problems. Papers exploring any performative elements of satire (humor, exaggeration, jokes, irony, ridicule, word play, etc.) in historical or contemporary texts in a range of literary or cultural genres are all welcome. Possible questions include but are not limited to the following: How does the performative quality of satire work together or intersect with the specific art form or genre (prose, poetry, drama/theatre, performance art, TV comedy show, comic strip, film, musical, etc.) in which it is conveyed? What specific results or changes does it aim to bring about? Who/what is the subject/agent of the satire and who/what is the butt of the satire? Who is the intended or unintended target audience? How might we be able to gauge the efficacy of satire’s performativity in a given work?

Please submit a 250-word abstract and a brief biography to Kyounghye Kwon at kyounghye.kwon@ung.edu by April 15, 2017.

The rich visual and literary culture of French-speaking Africa consists of countless aide-mémoires.From mausoleums to public monuments, from biographies to novels, from comics to photographs and films, there are necessarily different ways of expressing, remembering, forgetting and/or erasing the past. Here are some of the many questions to explore in this panel: Through Francophone Africa after Independence, how is art used as an instrument of memory or commemoration? And if the recollection of collective/national past is opposed to the version imposed by colonization, then how can we writehistory when official sources are often arbitrary or even partisan? How does the state sometimes mediates, but more often tries to modify or muzzle certain memories? How does the object of memory is of a simultaneously ephemeral and permanent nature? And how, why and who attributes a value to the memorial object? In short, how does art in general maintains, erases and/or alters the past?

Please send a 250-word abstract (including name and institutional affiliation as well as any audio-visual needs) to Nevine El Nossery at elnossery@wisc.edu by April 15, 2017.

For this panel, we seek poets working in the elegy form. More specifically, we seek works of contemporary elegy that challenge the foundational components of the historic elegy. The panel will explore the use of the elegy as praxis for protest, whether by vocalizing unheard voices or advocating social justice issues.  How do you mediate between personal and public lamentations as a form of protest? How do you challenge the historical foundations of the elegy to account for recent political events and personal reactions to them?

Please send an abstract and 3-5 poems reflecting this interstiching of personal and public mourning to Tiffany Austin at tiffanyuaustin@gmail.com by April 15, 2017. Your abstract should include your name, rank, institutional affiliation, and email.

As scholars, we're increasingly becoming aware of the dynamic and non-binary nature of the work we do at the intersection of digital technologies and the various fields in the humanities—i.e. digital humanities. Scholarship, creative work, academic software, and other ways of looking at cultural artifacts are becoming increasingly more complex and beg the question on how we can make our way through this new, changing, and increasingly dynamic field of digital humanities. Scholars are performing work on digitally-native texts (videogames, video essays, software), developing a greater sense of digital literacy in their pedagogy, and/or applying digital technologies to traditional texts (digital archival, text mining, etc.) as we develop ways of looking at cultural artifacts. This panel calls for papers that explore the intersection of digital technologies with, within, and across fields collectively referred to as "the humanities." We invite papers involving one or more of the above tracks that consider these ever-expanding approaches to what it means to be a digital humanist.

Please submit a 200-300 word abstract to Kristen Lillvis at lillvis@marshall.edu and Nathan Rucker at rucker37@marshall.edu by April 15, 2017

With the erosion of totalitarian regimes in Africa and the intense development of popular protest, women have always found ways to cope with the national disenchantment that has eternally attempted to exploit them as a means to preserve the nation’s homogeneity. Thus, the relationship between women and the nation remains rather complex: on the one hand, they are members of communities, institutions and groups that secure the nation’s political agenda, on the other hand, they are still looked at as social categories holding specific roles in the nation, namely that of reproduction. The panel aims to explore contemporary Francophone African cultural and literary practices used by women to escape social barriers, in order to display new relational possibilities, which transcend ethnic, class, national and racial divides. Specific topics may include, but are not limited to: aesthetic articulation of protest; art and feminism; politics and gender; women’s rights, universalism and cultural relativism; Third Worldism; the secular and the religious, visual protests: photography & documentaries.

Please send a 250-word abstract to Nevine El Nossery at elnossery@wisc.edu by April 15, 2017.

Crime fiction has long been a male-dominated genre. This domination has held in the French-speaking literary world as well until recent years. The rising popularity of crime novels written in French by women – Brigitte Aubert, Vivianne Moore, Dominique Sylvain, Louise Penny, Fred Vargas, to name only a few – is certainly remarkable. For this panel, we seek papers that explore both formal and thematic properties of women’s crime fiction, notions of identity and gender, social order and social disorder, feminist messages, victimhood, transgression and criminal justice, aesthetics of the genre, and more.

Please send a 250-word abstract (including name and institutional affiliation as well as any audio-visual needs) to Jolene Barjasteh at barjaste@stolaf.edu by April 15, 2017.

The current political climate cultivates a culture hostile to basic freedoms of speech and press, refuses to acknowledge fact-based knowledge, and belittles activists as “paid protesters.” Recently, Inside Higher Ed published, “Time for the Scholar Activist” (Oct. 2016).  Its author, Kerry Ann Rockquemore, suggests, “The main feature of the [Reframe Your Definition of Activism] model is integrating the work you are hired to do as a faculty member with the changes you want to see in the world. This model works well for faculty members whose commitments are related to their research and teaching.” Scholars and academics have an opportunity to extend their research and methods beyond their university walls and into the streets whether it be personally, virtually, digitally, or even symbolically. In the spirit of the convention theme, Arts and Activism, this panel seeks presentations from academics or former academics who have turned scholarship or methodology into forms of social justice activism for a wider public audience. Additionally, this special session is open to professors, instructors, and independent scholars who lead classes, workshops, or community programs on activism and public engagement.


This special session, Forms of Academic Activism, is intended to be a workshop as much as a panel. The goal of this session is to provide tools, strategies, and platforms for those in academia who are interested in making their efforts available to a wider public audience as a form of activism. As such, we will follow a workshop-style format with short presentations to incite incisive questions, lively discussion, and ideation. We welcome any area within the liberal arts and sciences, or humanities to showcase their Forms of Activism but seek a particular focus on critical theory of race, gender, class, and disability, visual culture, media literacy, literature, art, music, digital humanities, and literary history.


Possible topics to consider are:

Scholarly Response to Alternative Facts

Defining the Role and Making Time for the Scholar-Activist

Wikipedia Editing as Activism

Historical Recovery

#SocialMediaActivism: @Trumpdraws, #TrumpBookReport, etc.


Scholarly Activism “For the LULZ”

Craftivism and Scholarly Maker Culture

Geomapping + Activism

Relevance of Marxism in Contemporary Resistance

Potential Activist Digital Humanities Projects


To be considered, please submit an abstract of 250 words to Christopher Martiniano at martinic@umail.iu.edu by 4/15/17.