Loyola University Chicago

Midwest Modern Language Association

Undergraduate Research Symposium

2022 MMLA “Post-Now“

Undergraduate Research Forum

Minneapolis, Minnesota. 17-20 November 2022


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 2022 conference in Minneapolis on any topic; we particularly welcome papers that engage with the conference’s theme of "Post-Now.” 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 2022. 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.



The past two years have brought us to an inflection point. As we see the consequences of post-truth politics and come to terms with what post-pandemic life can and must be, as we live our professional lives in post-corporatized academe, and as we continue our national racial reckoning, the MMLA's 2022 convention offers us a moment to consider our ethical responsibilities to our profession, our pedagogy, our research, our democracy, and ourselves. We invite our members to a collective discussion of the role of humanities post-now in an emphatic call for immediate changes to allow a fundamentally different future. Adhering to the MMLA’s mission of disseminating and furthering the exchange of knowledge, discovery, and learning in modern languages and literatures, we encourage submissions that advance criticism, research, and teaching to assess the important role our field will have after repositioning itself in this landscape to reaffirm its relevance and importance to shape the future.


We encourage submissions that seek to address the following questions: How do we position modern languages and literatures, and Humanities more broadly, in these changing times? How can we practice, both in our classrooms and in our research, socially relevant dialogues, informed by reflexive practices that promote community, rather than unilateral actions of one individual for the benefit of that individual alone? How do we move back toward developing communities that embrace difference, recognizing and stressing the importance of diversity across a wide spectrum, including gender, race, class, and ideology? How do we minimize our own political and personal biases and critically interrogate our own race, class, and gender privileges? Moreover, do we need such an emphatic call for rupture that requires new strategies to adapt to the "now" we are facing? Are these strategies already available and just need to be adapted post-now?


Topics could include but are by no means limited to:

  • 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: Latin America/ Europe/Africa.
  • 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 details: https://www.luc.edu/mmla/convention/undergraduatestudentpaperprize/