Loyola University Chicago

Midwest Modern Language Association

Undergraduate Research Symposium

Undergraduate Research Symposium

2023 Midwest Modern Language Association Convention

“Going Public: What the MMLA Owes Democracy”

Cincinnati, OH, 2-5 November 2023


The Forum’s Goals and Rationale

The Midwest Modern Language Association is a regional affiliate of the Modern Language Association. Our annual conference hosts professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students who give presentations on their literary research. We invite proposals for the Undergraduate Research Forum for the 2023 conference in Cincinnati on any topic; we particularly welcome papers that engage with the conference’s theme of “Going Public: What the MMLA Owes Democracy”. This is a professional development opportunity, one that is particularly useful if you are interested in graduate school.


To apply, please submit an abstract of approximately 250 words along with your name, year in school, institution, and faculty mentor’s name to mmla@luc.edu by 31 May 2023.


The abstract should summarize a paper of 8-10 pages; if accepted, you will deliver your paper in a 15-20 minute oral presentation in a panel with other presenters. Please note that the Undergraduate Research Forum is intended as a venue to present work done by undergraduate students; current graduate students are invited to submit their work to the conference’s regular sessions (the CFP for which may be found here: https://www.luc.edu/mmla/convention/callforpapers/).


Please do note that despite the conference’s theme, it is the goal of the undergraduate research forum first and foremost to showcase and celebrate promising research by undergraduate students across the Midwest; we, therefore, accept papers on any literary topic and time period, regardless of its immediate relevance to the conference’s theme. Propose your strongest work with the knowledge that the forum’s committee will do the work of organizing cohesive panels.



Going Public

Adhering to the MMLA’s mission of disseminating and advancing the creation and exchange of knowledge, discovery, and learning in modern languages and literatures, we encourage submissions that directly engage with our profession’s responsibility to combat mistruth and disinformation while supporting diverse interpretations of the shared truths that undergird functional democratic institutions.


We encourage submissions that address the following questions: What roles should the humanities in general and the modern languages and literatures in particular play in the public sphere? How can our pedagogy and scholarship help foster balance between the collective and the individual? How can our profession help value difference, recognizing and stressing the importance of diversity across a wide spectrum, including gender, race, class, and ideology while simultaneously encouraging the consensus and principled compromise necessary for functional democracies? How do we minimize our own political and personal biases and critically interrogate our own race, class, and gender privileges to ensure true equity and diversity? How do we as a profession ensure our knowledge and practices support and encourage democratic principles?


Areas of focus include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Feminisms and transfeminisms
  • Literature and the environment
  • Pop culture and visual arts
  • Queer identities
  • Cultural and literary studies
  • Environmental and cultural sustainability
  • Indigenous cultures
  • Disability studies
  • Postcolonial studies
  • Race, gender, and subalternity
  • Religious discourses
  • Nationalisms
  • Transatlantic Studies
  • Transpacific Studies
  • Global South and worlding
  • Travel writing and networks
  • Women studies
  • Interdisciplinary work and the humanities
  • Language communities
  • Cultures of diaspora
  • Minority cultures
  • Ecocritical approaches to literature and cultural studies
  • Transcultural identities
  • Food studies
  • Art, music, and painting


A ONE HUNDRED DOLLAR CASH PRIZE WILL BE AWARDED TO THE BEST PAPER GIVEN IN THE UNDERGRADUATE RESEARCH FORUM. For more information, please see: https://www.luc.edu/mmla/convention/undergraduatestudentpaperprize.