Loyola University Chicago

Midwest Modern Language Association


Submit an Article

Members of the MMLA are invited and encouraged to submit articles to the Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association. Please note that the JMMLA no longer accepts submissions on open topics: each Spring issue will be a single-topic special issue; each Fall issue will be devoted to papers building on the conference theme from the previous year. The current call for papers is listed below.

Please read the submission guidelines for additional information.


MMLA Journal Current CFPs:

Spring 2018 - Metonymy, Poetics, and Performance (see below)

Fall 2018 - Art and Activism:

The Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association invites articles for submission to its Fall, 2018 issue on the theme of “Art and Activism.”

“Art and Activism” was the engaging theme of the MMLA’s 2017 annual conference, and continues in the Fall, 2018 issue of the JMMLA. It is meant to inspire reflection on recent events – such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the #MeToo movement, and the selection of Bob Dylan for the Nobel Prize in literature — and it hopes to encourage literary and cultural-historical consideration and analysis of the balance of activism and art.  From the ancient philosophers to the modern commentators, literary critics have long debated the role of the artist in society.  Are writers, as Percy Bysshe Shelley insists, “the unacknowledged legislators of the world” or should they bring, as Matthew Arnold proclaims, “sweetness and light”?  These particular figurations of the poet in society, however, do not necessarily account for the place that the artist has in social movements: these nineteenth century writers speak in abstractions, not quite leaving space for potentiality of the artist in social movements.

This issue will explore the ways that writers and artists across the centuries and across the globe have voiced support for and opposition to social change, while others have even advocated against the notion of artistic involvement in that social change.  In the collection of chosen articles, we hope to think about the place of literature and culture in the lives of all people. Articles do not need to have been presented at the MMLA 2017 conference in order to be considered.

Topics may include, but are by no means limited to

  • The role of the writer in society;
  • satire as social statement;
  • the place of (liberal) arts education in contemporary society;
  • the co-opting of art and social advocacy by dominant cultural institutions;
  • the literature of witness;
  • environmental literature;
  • trans- identities and activism;
  • alterity;
  • ethnic identities and activism;
  • feminism and womanism;
  • digital literacies and shifting modes of production;
  • disability studies;
  • free speech and states of exception;
  • the public intellectual;
  • he internet and activism;
  • facts and artistic license

The JMMLA also welcomes articles that consider aspects of the profession of literary and cultural studies, provided they are consistent with the issue’s general topic.  Articles that explore these themes beyond our contemporary moment, using the long lens of literary history to consider their subject, are particularly welcome.

Please send complete articles of 7,000-10,000 words by 15 May 2018 to the editors, K.C. Dolan and Erika Behrisch Elce, at mmla@luc.edu.




 “Metonymy, Poetics, Performance,” Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association (JMMLA), Spring 2018

This special issue has a cluster of three terms at its center: metonymy, poetics, and performance. These three terms have to do with conventional structures and what it means to live in them. Metonymy, a trope in which common association lets one thing stand in for another, mobilizes conventional relations. Poetics, the theory of how a text’s elements work together, studies the structures through which artistic effects exist. Performance involves living out relations within structures like genre, medium, and circumstance. Together, these terms allow us to think through the metonymical relations among art, artist, and context.

Living in relation to models for or representations of the world involves bearing out ideas with our actions. This process benefits from the study of the always shifting conventions of realism and un-realism, conventions that are interesting at the moment in relation to the popularity of the seemingly unlike genres of documentary theatre, immersive theatre, superhero movies, true crime podcast, and apocalyptic fiction. With models for good relationship and ethical structures in hand, like the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada’s recommendations, how do communities actualize such models well? The nature of the relationships we live out in national and global structures demand study, particularly in a time of refugee crises. Likewise, it is valuable to investigate ideas of public performance, celebrity, sincerity, and disrupted political norms in a time of alternative facts. Thinking about how individuals author their public identities also raises questions, pertinent to recent scandals of appropriation, about systems of address, evaluation, and life writing. This call for papers casts a wide net for studies of conventional relationships and what we can do with them. Submissions are welcome to consider the following topics:

  • -role models, celebrities, personas
  • -actualizing models
  • -interview as genre
  • -evaluation
  • -performance as enacting or replicating
  • -lyric I, poets, readers
  • -dramatic poetry
  • -life writing or life-telling (Warren Cariou’s term) and performances of the self
  • -conventions of realism (in theatre, film, writing, everyday life)
  • -conventions and genre or medium
  • -sincerity
  • -authorship
  • -address and audience
  • -signature, voice, gesture
  • -abstraction or figuration
  • -knowledge mobilization and reception
  • -cultural industries and systems of production and distribution
  • -the academy
  • -disruptions to the possible by the weird, the unreal, or the unbelievable
  • -disruptions to the status quo by anger or disobedience
  • -social structures and excessiveness (emotional, formal, informational)
  • -upholding the status quo with decorum, civility, good manners
  • -structures and effects of jokes, riddles, or codes
  • -spaces of relation: between, among, with
  • -theories of metonymy (i.e., Hugh Bredin on metonymy as conventional)

Submissions are due February 1, 2018, to guest editor Dale Tracy at mmla@luc.edu.

Essays should be around 8,000 words and should follow the most recent MLA Style Manual for internal citation and Works Cited. Please direct your queries and submit your essays electronically to mmla@luc.edu<mailto:mmla@luc.edu>.


JMMLA Editorial Staff:


Erika Behrisch Elce, Royal Military College of Canada

Jason Arthur, Rockhurst University


Guest Editor, Spring 2018:

Dale Tracy, Royal Military College of Canada


Guest Editor, Spring 2017:

Emily Lutenski, Saint Louis University


Guest Editors, Spring 2016:

Kathryn Dolan, Missouri University of Science and Technology

Andrea Knutson, Oakland University


Guest Editor, Spring 2015:

Jason Arthur, Rockhurst University


Editorial Assistant:

Rick Gilbert, Loyola University Chicago


Editorial Board:

Erika Behrisch Elce, Royal Military College of Canada

Christopher Kendrick, Loyola University Chicago

Emily Lutenski, Saint Louis University