Loyola University Chicago

Midwest Modern Language Association

Undergraduate Research Symposium

2021 MMLA “Cultures of Collectivity"

Undergraduate Research Forum

Milwaukee, Wisconsin. 4-7 November 2021

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 2021 conference in Milwaukee on any topic; we particularly welcome papers that engage with the conference’s theme of “Cultures of Collectivity.” 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 20th May 2021. 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 exciting new 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.  Please propose your strongest work with the knowledge that the forum’s committee will do the work of organizing cohesive panels. 

Cultures of Collectivity

At heart, the conference theme seeks to address a set of questions about how meaning is forged in connection with collective acts. How, for example, are cultures created by the gathering together of human subjects? What modes of collectivity, be they formal or informal, arise from culture, or have arisen historically? How might we meet and answer the salient political and social challenges of our time through collective response and collaboration—as artists, as academics, as teachers and students, and as laborers? We seek proposals that wrestle with these (or related) transhistorical questions about what it means to work, think, and join together under the auspices of language, literature, and culture.

Topics could include, but are by no means limited to:

Collective movements throughout the history of art and culture (i.e. literary or critical “schools,” film collectives, art collectives); Reading communities; Allusion, citation, and the formation of communities through bibliography and scholarship; Interdisciplinary / crossover work in contemporary art and the humanities; Language communities; Cultures of diaspora, including refugees and migrant communities, and their representation in literature / culture; Subcultures, the avant-garde, and countercultural movements; Collectivities and labor organizing, both inside and outside of the university; Professional / academic societies and the communities they foster; Publishing collectives; The role of publishing in scholarly organizing; Professional or scholarly collaborations; Networking; Collaborative scholarly and artistic forms (i.e. co-authoring); Undergraduate collectives (including Sigma Tau Delta, honors societies, clubs, literary magazines).




A special note on this year’s MMLA conference

While it remains our current plan to host an in-person event, and hope that it is safe enough to do so with continued successful vaccine roll-out, if it is not considered safe based on CDC recommendations, we will host the event virtually. We have no plans to host a hybrid event. This decision will be made in June to ensure plenty of time for members to make travel plans.