2014 Call for Papers

This page is updated frequently as we receive changes. Check back often.

The 2014 informal convention theme is: The Lives of Cities.

CALL FOR PAPERS – 2014 MMLA Conference:

The Midwest Modern Language Associate invites proposals for the 2014 conference, which will take place in Detroit, MI, November 13-16, 2014. Although papers are accepted on any topic, we welcome participants to consider this year’s theme, “The Lives of Cities,” as a rich field of inquiry. Proposals may be for individual papers, for Special Sessions focused on the conference theme, or for complete panels that do not necessarily tie to the conference theme (see below for more details); there are also a number of Permanent Sessions, whose specific CFPs continue to be updated on the MMLA website.

“The Lives of Cities” is meant to gesture broadly towards the experiences of urban inhabitants in all aspects and phases of urban development—from the very beginnings of urbanization throughout the globe to the resuscitation of contemporary urban landscapes decimated by industrial flight. Papers might consider the (sometimes competing) narratives of the development of individual cities, of urban space planning generally, of waves of migration into and out of cities, of the lived experiences of urban inhabitants. Topics could include, but are not limited to:

urban development/decline/gentrification/renewal/regeneration
economic fluctuations: poverty, wealth, and class conflicts
wheeling and dealing
industrial growth and change
labor migrations into, and suburban flight from, the city
the physical city: architecture, urban planning, transportation, parks/playgrounds
urban farming
city vs. country: exalting or escaping the city
suburbs, exurbs, and beyond
ruins, past and present
the city as destination
fantasies of urban life
exploring the city: flânerie, urban tourism
public and private spaces
gendered and queer urban spaces 
crowds and solitude
anonymity and identity
the city in history: the mediaeval city, the Renaissance city, the Victorian city, etc.
the life of a specific city
urban art movements
public art
the city in music, visual arts, or literature
the city and modernity/postmodernity
the multicultural city
terror and the city
the urban, or the city, as trope

Abstracts of approximately 250 words should include the following identifying information: your name, institutional affiliation, email address, and paper title; in addition, to facilitate scheduling, please identify up to three of the following categories in which your paper may be most usefully placed:

American Literature, Comparative Studies, English Literature, French Literature, Genre Studies, German Literature, Hispanic Literatures, Interdisciplinary Approaches, Italian Literature, Language Studies, Other Languages & Literatures, Teaching, Medieval, Renaissance/Early Modern, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Contemporary Literature, Colonial, Post-Colonial, Travel, the Midwest/Rust-Belt.

The deadline for all individual paper proposals, as well as for proposals for complete panels that are not directly tied to the conference theme, is May 15th. Individual and panel proposals should be submitted directly to the MMLA office via email ( Once accepted, individual papers will be organized into sessions. Panel proposals should be submitted as a unit, including paper titles and abstracts, as well as title, affiliation, and full contact information for all participants, clearly identifying the panel chair.

Proposals for Special Sessions that focus on the conference theme in some way are also welcome. These do not require identification of a full slate of papers but instead, if accepted, assume that the session organizer will serve as panel chair (who may also give a paper). Accepted Special Session calls will be posted on the MMLA website and will require that the organizer receive proposals directly and vet them to build the full panel. Special Session proposals are due May 15th via email (

The MMLA website will also contain postings for individual CFPs for the Permanent Sessions that run annually. (These CFPs are typically tied to some version of the conference theme.) Check the website regularly for additions to these calls. .


The following list contains call for papers for:

Professionalizing Workshops

The Professionalizing workshops will be posted in the Spring.


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Permanent Sections

The MMLA Convention always runs panels in the following categories (historic, generic, regional). Individual CFPs for these panels—generally tied to the annual theme—are posted by panel chairs. Check back regularly for updates to these calls.

African Literature

We Do Not Look in Our Great Cities for Our Best Morality:
The City as a Metaphor in African Fiction.    

In Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility and Emma, the City of London is filled with the most pitiful, inspiring, annoying and arrogant collection of humanity, justifying the observation that London, or any such great city, is the least qualified place to search for the best example of morality. Borrowing from this enlightening idea, the African Literature Session will feature cities from the continent, as recorded in the fiction of writers from all its linguistic regions -- Anglophone, Francophone, Lusophone and others-- in order to examine how the citizens within such urban settings are permanently impacted by mere contact with the place.

This panel invites papers examining the role of the city in any African fiction, especially as it relates to the moral development of characters. We intend to focus on how a specific city in a particular country impacts a character from the fiction of that region. Papers are expected from all historical perspectives of specific cities. In other words, is the city from a pre-colonial, colonial, or post-colonial era? Comparative works are invited also on characters from different historical settings. The aim is to determine how the city, either traditional or modern, affects the individual or group of characters.

Email an abstract of not more than 300 words by July 15 to: Olabisi Gwamna; and  Bitrus Gwamna @   


African American Literature

Co-chairs: Tiffany Austin, André S. Johnson

“April in Paris”: African American Expatriate Writers
Globalization has become the oft cited contemporary concept for engaging with our ever
more intimate world through interconnectivity partly brought on by advances through internet
technology. But what about the experiences of those black writers who were physically
travelling abroad to experience the world before these resources became available? Whether
they emigrated for political, economic, artistic, or personal reasons, expatriation affected many
black writers of note in subject matter and influence. Whether through forced or self-exile, from
a sense of cosmopolitanism or artistic freedom, these writers, artists and intellectuals expanded
the notions of blackness and left behind works that force us to investigate what it meant and
means to enter a "new" home.

We request papers that deal with black writers’ relationship to old and new homes as part
of their journey to foreign cities. Examining the pull of black writers to France’s “passion” for
all art “black,” panels could focus on Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, Countee Cullen, James
Baldwin, and Richard Wright. Other black expatriate writers who could be considered include
Chester Himes, Frank Yerby, Nella Larsen, William Gardner Smith, and even more
contemporary writers. Within panels, discussants may want to examine the themes of home,
exile, abandonment, isolationism, community, identity politics, and migratory subject hood.

Email 250-300 word abstracts by June 17 to or


American Literature I: Literature Before 1870

Topic:  Urban Affects

Urban spaces have long played a contested role in the American imagination.  In the antebellum era, many newspaper and fiction writers warned of the dangers that urban spaces posed (as many imagine cities do today), while other writers hinted that urban spaces might hold greater possibilities for creative and social freedom.   This panel, which is focused on the early American era, solicits papers on literary texts (of any genre) that explore the subjective or affective phenomena associated with urbanization, migration, and industrialization.  

Possible topics include: alienated labor; the temperance movement; reform movements; theories of the sublime (reconfigured in an urban context); theories of defamiliarization, nostalgia, affect, and sentimentalism in relation to urbanization.   

Please send 250 word abstracts and brief bio to or Shelly Jarenski by July 1.


American Literature II: Literature After 1870

Topic: Hospitality and the City

This panel seeks papers on American fiction/film/drama/poetry  1870-present addressing the theme of the city as host, or, forms of hospitality in the city, individual or collective.  My starting point is Jacques Derrida’s argument that within the notion of hospitality there is a fundamental and irrevocable tension between the act of being hospitable (an action which serves to maintain host/hosted hierarchies) and what he calls “impossible hospitality,” a welcoming of any and all that implicitly demands a kind of non-mastery, even a potential relinquishing of ownership and property.   

All papers are welcome that addresses any aspect of this theme, broadly conceived (though as “host” I can only accept 3-4!) Possible topics: Theories of hospitality (Derridean or other),  The narrator as “host,”  memorable fictional hosts or guests, The mapping of city borders,  Hotels,  Alarm systems,  Border control, Immigration, Occupy.

Send 250 word abstracts and brief bio to Mark Schiebe at by May 1st


Animals in Literatue and Film

Chair: Stacy Hoult-Saros, Associate Professor of Spanish, Valparaiso University

This session welcomes papers on the lives of urban animals in literature and film. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, urban migration (country animals in the city); working animals in the urban environment; petkeeping in the city; animals in public and private urban spaces; and the impact of poverty, wealth and class conflict on animals.


Applied Linguistics

Chair: Dr. Peter Wuteh Vakunta, University of Indianapolis

Perceptions of cognitive ability, or lack thereof, are often deeply interwoven with attitudes toward language, and accents within a particular linguistic community characterized by diglossia.  Preferential linguistic profiling harbors wide-ranging ramifications for second language acquisition. This panel seeks papers that address the question of linguistic profiling and second/foreign language teaching and/or learning.
Please, submit a 250-word abstract along with your full names, institutional affiliation, contact details (email and phone) and paper title to Dr. Vakunta ( by May 15, 2014.


Art What Thou Eat

Topic: Open
We welcome papers that explore all aspects of the representation of food in literature, art, music, film, and culture. 
Please send a 250-word abstract to Eloise Sureau, Butler University, Abstracts received by May 15, 2014 will be ensured full consideration.
Chair: Eloise Sureau, Butler University,
Secretary: Arline Cravens, Saint Louis University,


Bibliography and Textual Studies


Canadian Literature

This permanent section welcomes papers on any aspect of Canadian Literature.  Proposals related to the conference theme of "The Lives of Cities" are strongly encouraged; however, this theme can be broadly interpreted.  Please email 250-word abstracts and CV by June 17, 2014, to DeLisa Hawkes,


Central American Literature
Central American Literature and the Environment:
An Eco-critical Approach to Life in The Production Zones

In the introduction to his edited work The Natural World in Latin America: Eco-critical Essays on Twentieth Century Writing (2010), Adrian Taylor Kane states that despite the presence of the natural world in Latin American literature from colonial times to the present, “environmental criticism of Latin American cultural production has been slower to take root” (XX). Although Kane’s observation is valid, it should be added that for many Latin American writers, and especially authors in the twentieth century, the environment has always been an integral part of their works whether as a trope, a theme or a character itself. An excellent example is the emergence of the so-called “novelas bananeras” in Central America’s literary production. These narratives documented the disproportionate exploitation of natural resources by transnationals in the region, and graphically denounced the negative effects of plantations on the natural world and the human element. A recurrent trope in these narratives is, however, the emergence of the “bananera” zones and towns, together with a slice of what life was like as a native of the region or as a foreign functionary within the system of the banana company.

This panel will examine the relationship between Central American literature and the environment focusing particularly, but not limited to, life in the production zones, cities, towns and/or communities. Papers should generally be framed within one or more of the following questions:  What and how literature reveals about the dynamics of life, and the interconnection between dwellers and the environment? What does the narrative tell about the present reality of banana zones and countries? What are the literary devices that the author resorts to for social, political and environmental denunciation? What is their aesthetic value? How has the relationship between the natural world, production and peoples shifted in these zones, countries, cities and towns since their inception from the transnational production that has dominated the region? How should these texts be read today when transnational corporations continue to shape the economies and landscapes of the regions? Do they speak to modern critiques of current transnational economies? Papers may be written in either English or Spanish.

Submit papers to


Children's Literature

We welcome papers that examine all aspects of children's literature and childhood studies. Papers that address the informal convention theme of "The Lives of the Cities" are encouraged, though this theme may be broadly interpreted. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to, children living and/or working in urban settings; immigration narratives; urban kids' experiences of racial and class conflicts, or children's views and interpretations of urban landscapes. 

Please send 250-word abstracts to Megan Musgrave at by May 15, 2014.  



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Creative Writing I: Poetry

The Poetry of Rust and Roses:  A reading and discussion

In keeping with the conference theme, four poets will read original work (15 minutes per poet) that engages with 21st century urban cityscapes and cultures.  Please send 3-5 sample poems and a CV to the organizer, Angela Sorby ( by June 17.


Chair: Dr. Angela Sorby

Creative Writing II: Prose

In Jerome Stern’s Making Shapely Fiction, Stern asserts:

When you place your fiction in world famous locations…you establish geographical authenticity…[B]ut don’t rely on that familiarity to do your work for your. You still have to create the place on the page. Name-dropping of boulevards and parks won’t substitute for real description. There’s another pitfall, too. Real places commit you to their real layout. You can’t put a cathedral across the street from New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, even if your plot desperately needs one there…Place situates the story in your reader’s mind. Fiction that seems to happen in no particular place often seems not to take place at all.(173-4).

If as Stern says, “Fiction that seems to happen in no particular place often seems not to take place at all,” then capturing a sense of place and rendering that place with accuracy is essential to any good work of prose, be it fiction, memoir, or travel writing. Therefore, we seek submissions that capture the lives of cities and those who live in them. Topics may address (but are not limited to) the following questions:
What are the particular nuances and/or challenges of situating one’s prose in a city? How does the city landscape influence or impede characters and their actions? How does one take a city landscape that is perhaps too familiar and give it a fresh treatment. How is the face of the city altered by change or duress i.e. gentrification, industrialization, recession, war? How does one write about a city that is not one’s own? How does one select the right city for one’s landscape? How is a story that takes place in Detroit different from the story that takes place in Los Angeles, Miami, Nairobi, New York, Paris, Prague, San Juan, Tokyo, or Zurich?

Please send 250-300 word abstracts by May 31st to Kelcey Parker, and/or Amina Gautier,
Chair: Amina Gautier, DePaul University
Co-Chair: Kelcey Parker, University of Indiana South Bend


Digital Humanities

The Digital Lives of Cities

In Programmed Visions, Wendy Chun suggests that “the call to map may be the most
obscuring of all: by constantly drawing connections between data points, we sometimes
forget that the map should be the beginning, rather than the end, of the analysis” (177).
With this year’s MMLA conference theme of “The Lives of Cities,” the second annual
permanent section of digital humanities will explore criticisms of, experiments with, and
provocations on mapping, geographic visualization, or other conceptions of urban space
that work with or against the digital. Possible topics/projects include:
 historical approaches to mapping and visualization
 absence, silence, and (in)visibility in maps
 mapping difference (class, race, gender, and accessibility)
 critical visual literacies
 remediations and reconceptualizations of space
 mobile technologies and city life (e.g. augmented reality, geotagging, location-based
social media platforms)
 political and disciplinary dimensions of mapping technologies
 pedagogical purposes of community/city mapping projects
 endangered and indigenous languages

Please send 250-word abstracts by May 31st to both Josh Honn (
and Rachael Sullivan (

Co-chairs: Josh Honn (Northwestern University) and Rachael Sullivan (University of



Dramatic Disaster and Theatrical Catastrophe

The 2014 M/MLA drama panel invites proposals on dramatic disaster and theatrical catastrophe in all of its permutations including but not limited to personal, cultural,structural, and aesthetic. Some of the guiding questions underlying this panel might include: How do you represent and perform catastrophe? What are the aesthetics and theoretical underpinnings of catastrophe? Is metatheatre always a comedy based on the rhetoric of disaster? And, just for fun, for those who want to be a little snarky, what playwrights, theatrical mechanisms and performance techniques were inevitable disasters waiting to happen? Yes, I?m looking at you, Julie Taymor and Spiderman.

Please submit 250 word proposals to Lance Norman at by June 15


English I: English Literature Before 1800

The English Literature Before 1800 panel welcomes papers on the lives of literary cities. Panelists may wish to consider cities as symbols, settings, and metaphors; to address pre-modern cityscapes on the rise and in decline; in short, to consider the symbolic roles of cities in mentally mapping space and place, past and present, in literature and literary studies.

Please submit abstracts of around 250 words by June 17 to
Chair: Bethany Smith, University of Iowa
Secretary: Spenser Santos, University of Iowa


English II: English Literature 1800-1900

Topic: The City and the Aesthetic

From William Wordsworth’s “Upon Westminster Bridge” to William Morris’s horror at modern cityscapes, from the craze for Aesthetic housewares to debates over working-class access to art museums, the nineteenth-century city presented both aesthetic problems and aesthetic opportunities. How did urbanization transform both the aesthetic experiences that were available and the categories through which these experiences were understood? Implicit in this question is a recognition that the city may provide an especially fertile ground for exploring negative aesthetic reactions like distaste or disgust, which remain comparatively under-theorized.

Papers that approach “The City and the Aesthetic” through the lens of perception, affect, or pleasure are welcome, as are papers that connect aesthetics to politics, consumption, or class.

Send abstracts to Julia Bninski ( by May 31. Abstracts should be approximately 250-500 words. Please provide the following information: your name, institutional affiliation, email address, and paper title.

English III: English Literature After 1900

Urbanism & Anti-Urbanism in English Literature
Modernism and postmodernism largely are considered urban movements. Many of the great works of the 20th century and after are set in the city and describe the complex and often dense nature of urban areas.  But many writers of these periods, from E M Forster to Kazuo Ishiguro, either exalt the countryside in their writing or flee the city in order to be more productive as writers.  We seek papers that discuss in some way the tension between the city and the countryside in England after 1900.  Papers due by June 17 to Timothy Sutton (


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Fabricating the Body

This year’s Fabricating the Body panel is soliciting proposals for papers that explore the notion of the lives of cities. Possible topics include, but are not limited to, lived experiences of urban inhabitants; the body as it relates to cosmopolitanism or economic fluctuations (poverty, wealth, and class conflicts); or the relationship of the body to the city historically: the mediaeval city, the Renaissance city, the Victorian city, etc. We are interested in papers that study such topics from any theoretical perspective. Textual analysis of any genre or time period is welcome.

Please send 250 word abstracts by May 31st to panel chair, Sarah Burcon,


Film I

The Serial Killer in Film and Television

It seems that there has been an uptick in a fascination with serial killers; it is as if they are being pursued in an almost serial fashion. One film after another television show after yet another remake of another film about serial killers appears at an exponential rate as of late.

From 20/20 kinds of shows, to films like The Silence of the Lambs and Zodiac, to television series like Dexter or The Following, the figure of the secretive psychopath taking lives has become more than just an antagonist or antihero or plot device. What is with this fascination? What might we discern based on how representations or images of the serial killer in film and television evolve and proliferate? What secrets might a television show like Twin Peaks reveal?  This panel will explore what Dr. Hannibal Lecter might call an obsessive compulsion towards the serial killer and that brand of psychopathology. What might an obsession over films and television shows that showcase the ever-evolving serial killer suggest? In contrast, how might we understand the form of film and television through the eyes of a serial killer, as it were?

Please submit 250 word abstracts to Dr. Matthew Bowman at by May 15, 2014.


Film II

“Cities in Dust: Urban Ruins in Film and Television”
From depictions of deindustrialized urban spaces to predictions of dystopic futures and fantasies of post-apocalyptic scenarios, a fascination with the end of the lives of cities recurs across countless texts. This panel will examine cinematic representations of cities in various states of decline and ruin. We invite proposals for papers that consider films of any genre, period, or nationality, as well as papers that address television series with similar content. Potential paper topics could focus on texts that represent the effects of gentrification or neoliberal economic policies on former and current sites of industrial labor. Papers might examine horror or science fiction texts set in devastated city spaces. Papers could even analyze texts that engage with the complexities of this year’s conference site, Detroit, which is a city of great significance for American culture and identity.
Overall, this panel explores questions of how the end of a city’s lifespan is presented in film and television. What forces are shown to produce the destruction of a city? Is a city’s future predicted beyond its decline? What occurs to an urban site after its “death”? Who are the survivors, and how do they occupy the urban ruins?
Please submit 250-300 word abstracts to Adam Ochonicky at [] and Eva English [] by June 15th, 2014.


Film III

Global Cinemas
Chair: Caryn Connelly
Secretary: Luis Guadaño

The Film III Section is accepting proposals for papers on any aspect of Global Cinema. By global cinemas we are referring to films made outside of the U.S./Hollywood context. Papers can be related to the conference informal theme of “The Lives of Cities”, but other themes are certainly welcome. We are interested in sparking broad discussions about the state of global cinema in the twenty-first century, though historical perspectives are welcome as well. Possible questions to trigger ideas include: Is the existing cultural and cinematographical intermediality between (inter)national cinemas giving way to a new definition of global film? Are adaptations, remakes, transfers, and/or metaphor ways of rearranging the cultural and cinematic traditions? Please send 200-300 word abstracts to Caryn Connelly ( and Luis Guadaño ( by June 12, 2014.


French I: Advent of the Ancien Regime

Topic: Open
Suggested: Medieval and Early Modern Medicine and Myths

Medicine in the medieval and early modern world was perhaps where science and traditional beliefs and myths collided most forcefully in people's lives. How did doctors and midwives integrate their work with beliefs, values and mores of the time? How did communities and individuals perceive medical intervention? How were medicine and myth reconciled (or not) in literature, poetry, song, and letters?

Please send 250-word abstracts by June 17th to Jennifer Morrissey,<>.

Chair: Jennifer Morrissey, North Park University


French II: Post Ancien Regime

Panel Chair : Sylvie Goutas
Contact Information: Dr. Goutas                                                     
Wheaton College   (630) 752-5794
Foreign Language Department
501 College Ave
Wheaton, IL 60187

French Literature, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century.

Mouvement et modernité à Paris dans la prose romanesque postrévolutionnaire
Tant dans la littérature panoramique que le roman s’affirme à partir du XIXe siècle une tendance à montrer Paris et sa population en mouvement, un mouvement temporel et spatial qui va s’accélérant et en rythme la modernité. La pertinence de ce mouvement, dû aux transformations charriées par la Révolution industrielle, sa répercussion sur l’existence et l’écriture, plusieurs auteurs les ont cernées, qui évoquent à leur manière l’incidence de son accélération sur l’être et le devenir de leurs personnages. Outre cette tendance, et comme le souligne Paule Petitier, « Paris envahit la scène et se substitue à l’espace national ». Il  en devient l’épicentre alors même que la notion de centre n’a plus lieu d’être du fait de la multiplicité de ces mouvements. De ce fait, il est possible de considérer que la représentation romanesque du mouvement et du personnage en mouvement s’organise au moins autour de deux fonctions, l’une consistant à exprimer et à fonder symboliquement la modernité spécifique à  Paris, l’autre à échapper à ces mêmes limitations pour appréhender celle d’un espace plus vaste, celui de la nation française. Pris dans les rets de cette modernité parisienne, qu’advient-il du personnage romanesque ? Comment son existence et son identité se forment-elles ou se déforment-elles au gré de ces tendances ? Quels sont les enjeux de ces différentes modalités ?  C’est à ces quelques questions que les participants de cette séance s’offriront entre autres de répondre.


French III: Cultural Issues

Sites/Sights of Cultural Conflict:  Re-examining the City in French and Francophone Film

Mathieu Kassovitz, director of the groundbreaking film La Haine, said the following during a 1996 interview about his film:  “We made it known that we were trying to show the reality of France.  People think of Paris as the city of love or the city of light, but where you got love you got hate, where you got light you got darkness.” 

Following the conference theme of “The Lives of Cities,” we invite submissions on all aspects of the representation the city as a site/sight of cultural conflict in French and Francophone Film.  How do such representations expose old stereotypes?  How does film reflect the diversity and rawness of the lived experiences of citizens?

Please submit abstracts of 250 words to Scott Sheridan ( no later than June 23, 2014.



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Gender Studies: Male

“What Is The City But The People?": Gender, Politics and City Spaces in Early Modern Literature

At the point of unjustly exiling Coriolanus as a traitor to the Roman state, the tribune Sicinius makes an irresistible bid to the people to help him out: "What is the city but the people?"  Hardly unique to Shakespeare's play, we might take this provocative question as one which undergirds the ideological, political, and social "city scapes" of Early Modern drama/literature in general. The question gains in significance, if we consider the fact that these dramatized environments are (with notable exceptions, such as Queen Elizabeth herself) almost exclusively authorized and governed by white males. This panel solicits papers addressing the impact of gender upon political/governmental, social, economic and cultural representations of the city in the plays of Shakespeare and/or his contemporaries. Topics might include: the relationship of sovereignty to the state/polis, a comparative assessment of "masculine"/"feminine" rulership in the period, connections and disparities between spaces which are normatively "gendered" "masculine" (such as the battlefield) and "feminine" ones (the home), and the question of why, how, and to what ends, what Coriolanus acerbically refers to as the "mutable, rank-scented meinie," makes an interpretive difference for the audience.  Papers addressing theories of performance and spectatorship are particularly welcome.

Please send abstracts of 250 words to Jessica Tooker at by July 25th.


German Literature and Culture I
German Literature and Culture II: German Language Poetry
German Women Writers

Topic: Open

We are seeking papers which deal with the literary texts and lives of German-speaking women writers from any period and in any genre. Papers that address the informal Convention theme of “The Lives of the Cities” are especially welcome. Please submit 250-word abstracts and 50-word bio blurb as email attachments to both Dr. Ekaterina Pirozhenko, and Dr. Katarzyna Kowalczyk by May 31, 2014.


History of Critical Reception

Digital Social Media in the 21st century: Opportunities and Challenges for Reception Study

We hope to hold a roundtable-style session with brief (8-10 minute) position papers that will open up to larger discussion of the pleasures, frustrations, and opportunities that social media present to scholars of reception.  We welcome papers that address methodology, theory, and history, and are particularly interested in discussions that consider the material and geographic dimensions of participation in digital social media.   

Please email 250-word abstracts and CV by June 23, 2014, to Amy Blair,



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Illustrated Texts

Topic: Illustrated Texts and Cities

This section welcomes papers that examine illustrated texts of any period or genre, especially in
relation to the conference theme, “The Lives of Cities.” Possible topics might include, but are not
limited to: the industry of textual illustrations; the public-private relationship between author and
illustrator; geographical or metropolitan illustrations; the disparity between textual editions; the
architecture of illustrated texts; and illustration as spatialized site. Visual, multimedia
presentations are especially encouraged.

Please send 250-word abstracts by May 30th to Joshua M. Murray,

Chair: Joshua M. Murray, Kent State University

International Francophone Studies

La ville dans la littérature et le cinéma francophones

De Gaston Bachelard et sa Poétique de l’espace, à Bertrand Wesphal et la géocritique en passant par Henri Lefebvre et la philosophie de l’espace social ou encore des oppositions de Raymond Williams dans The Country and the City à l’écocritique et aux études de l’environnement de ces dernières années, la ville et les représentations littéraires ou cinématographiques de la ville ne cessent de fasciner écrivains, réalisateurs et chercheurs.  Cette session invite des propositions qui traiteront de l’urbanisation et des représentations de la ville dans la littérature et le cinéma francophones.  Que la ville soit perçue comme espace privilégié de domination néocoloniale; endroit de rencontres et de promesse; centre de communication, de modernité, d’ouverture au cosmopolitisme ou encore lieu de perdition, de tentation et de fausses promesses, centre monstrueux créateur d’anonymité, comment l’espace urbain est-il personifié, critiqué, réapproprié, déconstruit ou reconstruit par l’écriture ou le film francophone?  Merci d’adresser votre proposition de communication d’environ 250 mots avant le 1er juin 2014 à Véronique Maisier à


Irish Studies

Irish cities have undergone significant changes since Joyce’s damning criticism of a land held in a state of ‘moral and spiritual paralysis’.  Political developments in the North, and widening economic connections with Europe in the South have significantly changed Ireland.  Contemporary Ireland is marked by the repercussions from the clerical abuse scandal, cessation of violence in the North, the economic fallout of the 90s, and a rise in immigration.      
The panel seeks papers that address the theme of a ‘new Ireland’, in particular papers with a specific emphasis on literary works that address the complexities of the economy and the cultural/political developments either side of the border. 
Please email 250-word abstracts and CV by June 17, 2014, to Terence Boyle,



Fulcro della vita municipale nel Medioevo, asse della riflessione umanistica sulla vita degli uomini rispetto al loro ambiente, luogo distopico di corruzione e peccato dalla Controriforma in poi, elemento dispensatore di successo e fallimento nel corso del lungo Ottocento e infine luogo di alienazione e di lotta nel Novecento, la città ha sempre avuto un ruolo privilegiato negli otto secoli di letteratura italiana. La rappresentazione letteraria, pittorica e cinematografica ha fatto della città il luogo ideale per la delineazione del campo di forze che costituiscono l’esistenza umana: teatro delle tragedie e dei successi dei grandi e degli uomini comuni, luoghi artistici e di tensione sociale, le città hanno incarnato prima e durante la modernità, i luoghi per eccellenza del progresso sociale e tecnologico, del confronto fra le classi e di successo per gli individui.
Questo panel si propone di indagare la funzione e la rappresentazione della città dal Medioevo al Duemila quattordici, con particolare attenzione al valore transculturale e interdisciplinare che il soggetto permette: com’è stata rappresentata la città italiana, straniera e immaginaria dagli autori della letteratura italiana? Si invitano papers in grado d’interrogarsi sui luoghi letterari e teorici fondamentali della rappresentazione della città in tutte le epoche della letteratura italiana.


Gli abstracts, di circa 250 parole, devono includere queste informazioni: nome e cognome, affiliazione accademica, indirizzo email e il titolo del paper. Send to: Carlo Annelli at by June 15.


Literary Criticism

Where is the discourse presently located surrounding literary celebrity?  What are critics saying about literary celebrity and what does this phenomenon mean to these scholars?  How do critical assessments of literary celebrity determine what authors get read and how we read their work?  This panel will consider how scholars are assessing authorial fame today.  Are their analyses biographical, materialist, formalist, feminist, queer, sociological?  How do critics contextualize literary celebrity?  Through social or political movements, popular culture, literary periods, national or geographical spaces (thinking here about “the living city”)?  And what do these critical methodologies tell us about the meaning of literary celebrity?  How do these approaches affect the ways in which we read celebrity authors?  In asking these questions, we might think about texts such as Loren Glass' Authors Inc. or Lorraine York's Margaret Atwood and the Labour of Literary Celebrity, among others.  Panelists are encouraged to think about the possibilities, problems, meanings, and politics to be found in these methodologies and what they tell us about literary celebrity and the literature we read.

Please send abstracts by May 15, 2014 to Jim Hayden, University of Missouri-Columbia at


The Mezzuzah and the Mestizaje

2014 Chair: Joanna Mitchell, Ohio University

We invite submissions on all aspects of Jewish life and creativity in Latin America. In 2014 we particularly encourage paper proposals addressing the informal conference theme on “The Lives of Cities.” Possible topics include but are not limited to:

-Jewish immigrants in the cities of Latin America;
-Re-writing “La cuidad letrada” in Hebrew, Ladino, and Yiddish;
-The City and La Pampa, patterns of Jewish immigration.
-Photographing Jewish cityscapes;
Jewish heritage tourism in Latin America;
-Cityscapes of terror and cityscapes of welcome;
-Imagining the Jewish Latin American city;
-The city of the dead: Jewish cemeteries in Latin America

In the spirit of interdisciplinarity, we accept papers from all academic disciplines.

Please submit abstracts of no more than 250 words to Joanna Mitchell ( by June 15.


Modern Literature

This panel calls for papers devoted to works and authors from the 20th and 21st centuries. Preference will be given to papers exploring the conference theme of the lives of cities, especially as it pertains to the city and modernity. If, for modernists, the city becomes the site of aesthetic experience, how does urban space cultivate these experiences? How does the city enable modernist visions of urban landscapes? How do the various networks of urban life contribute to modernity? Please send 250-word abstracts by May 15th to the section chair, Katie Dyson, Loyola University Chicago, .


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Multicultural Literature in the Classroom: Politics and Pedagogy

Because “Life in the City” is rapidly changing, our pedagogy and politics in regard to multicultural literature is rapidly changing as well. Historically, multicultural literature has been studied so students can gain insight into the lives and times of various people groups who may been relegated to marginal or disenfranchised places in our culture, but more now than ever, because of increased urbanization multicultural literature is the literature of the changing face of both city and rural life. Through studying multicultural literature in regard to “life in the city,” our students can learn from each other and from the various cultures and people groups with whom we are in contact on a daily basis. Urbanization in all its forms has greatly impacted whose works we teach and how we teach them.

Papers for this panel will closely investigate the ways in which the politics and pedagogy of multicultural literature impact students and teachers in our American cities. Please send an abstract of 250 words or less to Corby Roberson at by June 1, 2014.


Native American Literature

Ancient cities of North America include the legacy of Mound Builders such as the World Heritage Site at Cahokia and elsewhere throughout the Midwest.  Across the continent–from the kivas, glyphs, and cliff dwellings of the Southwest to the rock painting of the Upper Midwest–such historical sites have served as the setting and inspiration for many Midwestern writers including novelists from Mary Austin to Louise Erdrich as well as literary naturalists Loren Eiseley, Sigurd Olson, Scott Russell Sanders, Paul Gruchow and Elizabeth Dodd.  We welcome proposals for papers examining how such indigenous ruins and tracings on the landscape are represented in the literary works of authors associated with the region.  What purposes do such references serve in terms of evoking cultural and environmental history?

Please send abstracts of at least 250 words for papers on related topics to Christian Knoeller at by June 15th.


Old and Middle English Language and Literature

The growth of the city and the rise of urban development certainly had great effect on old and middle English literature. As urban centers begin to grow and flourish, so too literature begins to reflect the hegemony of life that occurs in the city. Works such as Chaucer's Canterbury Tales certainly could not have been conceived without the melding of people groups that takes place within the city.

This panel welcomes papers that address any aspect of the development or rise of the city, or urban centers, or their effect on literature during the Middle Ages. Possible topics include literature that occurs in or is affected by a city, literature that discusses communal living (such as monastic life), or literature that deals with the strata of social life that might be experienced in a city. City or urban development can be loosely defined, and papers on other old or middle English literature are also welcome.

Please send a 250 word abstract to Greta Smith, Miami University by June 1, 2014.


Peace Literature and Pedagogy

Peace studies are more than merely avoiding conflict. They are on-going processes with goals
linked to resolving conflict and/or establishing social justice. Inside cities, conflicting forces and
ideas abound. How can peace studies exist and prosper in cityscapes? What kind of peace
resolutions exists within the city limits? Are those iterations different from those found rural
areas? How do class, politics, religion, race, and gender find a type of resolution inside city
lines? How do suburbs and exurbs fit into the picture? This call invites papers on literature or
teaching that addresses any of these topics or examines constructs of peacemaking in the lives of
cities. Please note that this session is also open to other aspects of peace literature, peace
pedagogy, justice, and conflict resolution.

Please submit a 250-word abstract, along with your name, institution, email information, and
paper title to Dr. Laura Ng (, University of North Georgia by May 15, 2014.
Please submit electronically via email.

Chair: Dr. Laura Ng (, University of North Georgia.


Popular Culture

In “The Metropolis and Mental Life,” Georg Simmell famously wrote, in 1903, that “[t]he psychological foundation, upon which the metropolitan individuality is erected, is the intensification of emotional life due to the swift and continuous shift of external and internal stimuli.” While the metropolitan scenes observed by Simmell look quite different from the ones we observe today, the city remains a site of consistent change. This session invites proposals for papers on the theme of urban life, broadly defined,  in any aspect of popular culture from any region or period. Papers might draw on representations of urban decline or renewal, economic fluctuations, challenges to notions of the city as concrete jungle, or examples of popular culture that showcase the potential of this clash between interiority and exteriority in contemporary popular culture.

In 2014, do the geographical, temporal, and economic structures that Simmel described maintain relevance, or have they been eclipsed by such technologies as social media, television, video games, and the out-of-time nature of global capitalism more generally? What examples can we locate in popular culture that affirm or deny his claim? How is identity defined in urban spaces? How does popular culture define what a city is?
Please send 250-word abstracts by June 28th to Popular Culture Chairs Andrew Smart and Kate Birdsall at



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Religion and Literature

The session on Religion and Literature welcomes papers on the conference theme, “The Lives of Cities,” as well as more generally on literature’s relation to belief, spirituality, transcendence, and the sacred. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Spiritual vs. temporal cities
  • Religion in post-9/11 literature
  • Self-confession, life-writing, memoir
  • Conversion and de-conversion narratives
  • Gift-giving and sacrifice
  • Religion and literature in the public sphere

Please e-mail 250-word abstracts by June 7 to Jeffrey Galbraith at


Science and Fiction

Science and Fiction: Evolutionary Biology, Psychoanalysis, and Narrative

This session will explore the intersections of evolutionary biology, psychoanalysis, and narrative. In what ways does evolutionary biology complicate or enrich the insights of psychoanalysis? How might the theoretical convergence of evolutionary biology and psychoanalysis assist in the understanding and analysis of narrative? What narrative practices anticipate and/or grapple with the intersection and tensions of evolution and psychoanalysis?

Please send 250-word abstracts by May 31st to Kevin Swafford,

Session Chair: Kevin Swafford, Bradley University


Shakespeare and Shakespearean Criticism

Topic:    Shakespeare of London Again

Sixty-five years ago Marchette Chute’s well-known Shakespeare of London gave us a social panopticon of Shakespeare’s city long before we were outfitted with newer historical lenses.  Now is an opportunity not for revisiting her work but for further understanding of Shakespeare’s relation to the “theatrical city” (eg. geography, social life, changes, law and government, city vs. country,  theatricality and paratheatricality, sport). Topics related to this are preferred, but others welcome. Submit 250 word abstract with very brief bio to  by May 25.


Short Story

The Short Story panel invites papers on collections reflecting on one specific city or city life in general. The tentative goal of the panel is to demonstrate how this theme and genre have coalesced from early print versions to the most recent digital venues, but any proposal related to the wider topic (short stories and city life) is welcome. Panelists may focus on any language and time period, and papers on lesser known authors and collections are strongly encouraged.

Please submit abstracts of around 250 words by July 7 to Ildi Olasz (


Spanish Cultural Studies

Spanish Cultural Studies Table is accepting papers related broadly to the city and city life. Examples may include but are not limited to research related to the city and culture, economy, technology, gender and identity studies, or immigration. Please send abstracts of 150 words to Dr. Susan Divine at by June 7, 2014


Spanish I: Peninsular Literature Before 1700

This session welcomes papers on any topic related to Spanish or Latin American culture prior to 1700.
Please send a title and 250-word abstract to Madera Allan at by June 7, 2014. 


Spanish II: Peninsular Literature After 1700


We welcome papers that explore all aspects of Peninsular Literature after 1700.
Please submit 250-word abstracts, along with your name, institution, email information and paper title to Chikako Maruta, Keio University ( by May 30th, 2014.


Spanish III: Latin American Literature

We invite submissions that explore all aspects of Latin American literature and cultures from their inception to present times. Please send a 250-word abstract including your name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address and paper title to Dinorah Cortés-Vélez ( by June 7th, 2014.


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Teaching Graphic Narratives

We invite proposals dealing with the teaching of graphic narratives that explore "the lives of cities." From Gotham to Pyongyang, from Tehran and Abidjan, there is no limit to the real or imagined cities and other urban themes mentioned in the general call for papers, which your presentations could address. Please send a 250-word abstract to Susanna Hoeness-Krupsaw at by 15 June 2014.


Teaching Writing in College

Building of the conference theme, we invite papers that explore the spaces and places that characterize writing instruction. We imagine spaces and places broadly, exemplified in works such as Cooper’s “The Ecology of Writing,” Goldblatt’s “Locating Ourselves and Our Work,” Donehower et al.’s Rural Literacies, and the special issue of Composition Forum on “Writing and Transfer.” We are particularly interested in papers that report the results of research on student learning. Send 150-250 word abstracts to André Buchenot at by May 31.


Travel Writing/Writing Travel

Traveling the Urban Landscape: Travel writing may generally be said to occupy one of two models: there are stories of adventure/exploration/conquest that feature a traveler in a remote, picturesque, or foreign landscape; and there are narratives that reflect on a traveler's experiences of a "great sites" itinerary. The latter, of course, is most often associated with cities--whose landmarks, cuisine, markets, and people are brought under scrutiny by a writer whose expectations have been shaped by countless guidebooks and other texts outlining the experiences of prior travelers. Cities, in short, are often considered "known" entities even by travelers who have never visited them.

This session welcomes proposals that examine--and hopefully complicate--the dynamics of traveling in cities. Papers might investigate, but are not limited to, questions such as: To what degree are travelers' expectations met, challenged, exceeded, or forcibly revised once they arrive in a new city? How does the foreign city impact the identity of the traveler? What are the consequences to cities of tourism? How do cities themselves balance their historic landmarks with "tourist traps"? How has the rise and fall of a given city's importance as a tourist destination affected the lives of its permanent residents? What are the identity politics of traveling in particular cities? This panel welcomes papers on any literary period and any specific city. Please send abstracts of 300 words, along with your name/title/university affiliation/contact information to Andrea Kaston Tange <> by May 15. Queries welcome.


Women in Literature

Topic: Gendered Spaces; Gendered Places: Women’s Lives in the City

“Places are not merely discrete, rooted phenomena; they are ever evolving outcomes of socialrelationships that span and link regional, national, and even global geographies” (Altha J. Cravey andMichael Petit, “A Critical Pedagogy of Place:  Learning Through the Body” 108).

In Space, Place and Gender, Doreen Massey rejects the idea that space is fixed and apolitical.  Drawing in part on Marxist feminists, she posits instead that “space is constituted through social relations and material social practices” (254).  Not only is space constructed through the social for Massey, but the converse is also true:  “the social is spatially constructed too, and that makes a difference…in its broadest formulation, society is necessarily constructed spatially, and that fact—the spatial organization of society—makes a difference to how it works” (254). In other words, the spaces we inhabit produce the societies in which we live—all the while the societies in which we live socially construct the spaces we inhabit. This establishes the kind of web of intra-action between humans and others that can be traced through the recent theoretical work of Donna Haraway and new materialist feminists like Karan Barad and Stacy Alaimo. It also holds major implications for thinking about how spaces and places are active in women’s lives and women’s literature.
Using the concept of spaces and places as active participants in the lives of humans, and in accordance with the conference’s theme of “The Lives of Cities,” this panel seeks papers that explore the issues of space and place in women’s literary texts. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to: gendered spaces and/or places, queer spaces, metaphorical spaces, urban autobiography and/or memoir, representations of gender within the space/place of a narrative, globalization and gender, historical representations of urban spaces in women’s literature, issues of performance and performativity in relation to urban space, and place-based approaches to teaching women’s literature.

Please submit 250-word abstracts and a brief 100-word bio to Meg Gregory at by May 9th, 2014.


Young Adult Literature

It’s Alive!: The Death, Rebirth and Refashioned City in Young Adult Speculative Fiction

From London to Chicago, to Manhattan and Toronto, the depiction of the death and revival of the city is not uncommon in young adult literature. Revisions of the city, whether real or imagined, are found throughout Young Adult speculative fiction such as in Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely (2007-2011) series, the Steampunk Chronicles (2012-2014) by Kady Cross, Michael Scott’s The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel hexalogy (2007-2012) or works like James Dashner’s Maze Runner series, The Partials Sequence by Dan Wells (2013-2014), the Unwind Dystology (2007-2014) by Neal Shusterman, Nalo Hopkinson’s The Chaos (2013), Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games (2008-2010) trilogy, and the Divergent Series (2011-2013) by Veronica Roth. The popularity of such works has remained constant and in a technology driven age, real fears about the exploitation and power machines may hold over the human race are not fictitious but verge on real possibility. Race and gender are also the focus of such literature, whether overtly or subliminally and, ultimately, at the core of such texts is a city that has been lost, reimagined, rebuilt and is yet being reimagined again through the eyes of protagonists who typically join or create movements to build what may be a utopia still being sought. One of the primary ways protagonists, who are often female in contemporary literatures of the genre, seek to keep their civilization alive is through a game they must learn and master in order to help society rebuild and thrive. This panel seeks to explore the transformations such cities have undergone and how such retellings impact the lore of the city both through its death and rebirth. In keeping with the conference theme, “The Lives of Cities,” essays that engage adaptations into video games, comic book, graphic novel, and/or film formats are encouraged. Papers addressing retellings from all time periods, not just those pertaining to contemporary adaptations, are also sought.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

Gendered spaces of performance and gender
Socioeconomic status and its place in the death/rebirth of a city
The use of technology in the death/rebirth of the city
Traditionally oppressed communities roles within the death/rebirth of a city
Government’s role in the destruction and/or idealization of the city/city-state
Revisions of “powers” of the undead/supernatural
Illustrations of urban gothic revivals
The impact of colonialism/the colonized on the city
The role of the city through its own transformation
Lost and reclaimed/repurposed architectures
Rewritten texts for older/younger audiences
Cross-Writing/Reading of such literatures
The use of magic, belief in/practice of, and access to such power through the death/revival of cities

Inquiries and/or abstracts of 250-300 words may be sent to Amberyl Malkovich at by June 15, 2014.



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Associated Organizations

American Dialect Society


The Association for the Study of Literature and Environment

Ecocritical Perspectives on Cities

In response to the 2014 MMLA conference theme, this panel seeks papers that explore “the lives of cities” from an ecocritical perspective.  Some possible topics include, but are not limited to: literary or filmic representations of urban nature; recent trends in urban / suburban ecology (such as urban farming); cities’ responses to natural disasters; the rhetoric of urban sustainability; environmental justice in urban settings; the role of the humanities in urban sustainability; and teaching ecocriticism in urban settings.

Please submit a 250-300 word abstract including a paper title to Dr. Lisa Ottum at by May 21st.

The Festival of Language

Remixing the City: Remixing Language

In honor of the culture of remixing, proposals should mix genres in a way that celebrates the history of each genre while moving it forward. In much the same way concrete can be recycled, genres can be mashed, broken down, and ressurected into something new and exciting that only vaguely resembles the parent genres.  There are no limits to how you might remix genres or to which genres you can use to remix language.  Panelists are welcome to remix theory, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, music, art, etc. in the most experimental ways imaginable. Special consideration will be given to proposals that also consider the city itself as a remix of culture and genre.

Email proposals by June 15 along with your full name, institutional affiliation, contact details (email and phone), and paper title to Dr. Jane L. Carman at with M/MLA FOL in the subject line. Proposals should be limited to no more than 300 words that either represents by example or talks about how the proposal will be a remix.


The Henry James Society
The International Harold Pinter Society
International Raymond Carver Society

Raymond Carver’s Life, Legacy, and Works
2014 Midwest Modern Language Association Convention
Detroit, November 13-16, 2014
Panel hosted by the International Raymond Carver Society (IRCS)

The IRCS regularly hosts panels at the MMLA. The IRCS invites proposals for 20-minute talks on any aspect of Raymond Carver's life, legacy, and works. Please send a 250-300 word abstract and a 100-word biosketch to: ircs AT

No later than May 15, 2014


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Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature

MMLA, Detroit, November 13-16, 2014
Contact:  Marilyn Judith Atlas (

Title of Session: Urban Spaces and Midwestern Literature
Submission requirement: Title, short vita, and one page abstract

Deadline for submissions:  25 May 2014

Description:  How do Midwestern writers explore urban space? Are urban spaces wastelands and/or wonderlands? How do narratives of urban spaces compete within the boundaries of one text? Or how do they compete between texts? Are Midwest urban spaces regional, national or global? Is anything unique about the literary exploration of Midwest urban spaces?


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Women in French I
Women in French II

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Special Sessions: The Program Committee of the MMLA announces an extended deadline of June 15th, 2014 for individual paper proposals to be submitted in response to the calls for papers for Special Sessions for the Fall 2014 conference. Special Session CFPs that have been accepted are posted below. Proposals should be sent directly to the chair of the individual session. Each CFP contains specific details for submission.


Rural Survival Skills in an Urban Setting

In Tillie Olsen’s working class novel Yonnondio, the character Anna takes her children out,
“looking for empty lots where dandelions grew,” so they may harvest dandelion greens. It is
here—foraging for food in Omaha, Nebraska—that we see a glimpse into Anna’s rural past. The
knowledge she has gained from her rural life allows her to supplement her family’s needs when
they could not afford to buy fresh food in an urban environment. Yonnondio is not unique in chronicling migration to the city for work; there are other novels about poor people with a rural knowledge base living in an intolerable urban culture. In these stories, what is lost or gained when one migrates or immigrates from the agrarian lifestyle to the urban? Furthermore, do these characters assimilate into their urban settings, and are we to commend them or condemn them for that ability or inability to assimilate?

This panel will examine the navigation of the urban environment by working class migrant or
immigrant characters from rural communities to American (especially Northern) cities. Papers
can include texts showcasing rural migration to the city, black migration (such as Ellison’s The
Invisible Man or Mathis’ The Twelve Tribes of Hattie), or immigration (such as Yezierska’s The
Bread Givers). Possible topics are foraging, community gardens, immigrant
communities/ghettoes, and old world traditions.

Please send in paper proposals of no more than 250 words by June 15, 2014 to DeMisty


The Fashion Lives of Cities

In their Fabric of Cultures project, Eugenia Paulicelli and Hazel Clark put forth the view that
“fashion is a privileged lens through which to gain a new understanding of cultures and
individual lives, as well as the mechanisms of regulating cultural and economic production in the
past and in the present” (1). In this special session we turn the privileged lens of fashion,
understood broadly to include industrial as well as semiotic processes of material and symbolic
production and circulation, on the lives of cities and the lived experiences of urban dwellers in
order to ascertain the various ways that fashion has been transforming both built environments
and urban imaginaries. We are interested in exploring how the emergence of recognized global
centres of the fashion world (Paris, London, New York, Milan, and Tokyo) has affected, and
been affected by, developments elsewhere. Participants might address questions such as:

 How have the lives, and depictions of the lives, of urban inhabitants been influenced by fashion’s
increasing reach?
 Which genres have proven popular for cultural production on topics involving urban fashion?
 How have individual cities been affected by fashion’s siren call?
 How has fashion affected urban space planning?
 Have discernible looks and styles come to be associated with particular cities, or particular parts
of particular cities?
 How have issues of migration intersected with the fashion system?

Please send 250-word abstracts by June 15th to Susan Ingram ( and Markus
Reisenleitner (


Collins in the City
Session Organizers: Dr. Erika Behrisch Elce, Royal Military College and Dr. Elizabeth
Anderman, University of Colorado Boulder

This session seeks to explore how the massive urbanization of Nineteenth Century
Britain, with all its associated overcrowding, crime, and mixing of social classes,
permeates the works of Wilkie Collins. Taking inspiration from the work of Lara Whelan,
Tristam Hunt, Michelle Allen and others, it asks how Collins’ oeuvre reveals the tensions
between the individual and the crowd, the domestic and the outdoors, the police and the
criminal, the urban and the suburban. Please submit proposals of 500 words and a
brief bio to Dr. Erika Behrisch Elce and Dr. Elizabeth Anderman, ( and by June 15th, 2014.


Urban Destruction, Abandonment and Renewal in Contemporary Dystopian Fiction

The 2013 game Bioshock Infinite opens with a vision of New York besieged by an aerial attack
and burning in the dead of the night. Through the course of the game, the main characters, Booker and
Elizabeth, travel through the fictional floating city of Columbia, a place named for the female
personification of the United States, and replete with homages to American Exceptionalism. When an
all-out revolution erupts midway through the game, the twin images of burning metropolises, New York
and Columbia, are foregrounded as bookends for the game’s thematic evocation of capitalism,
industrialization, racism and religious zealotry.

From games (Bioshock Infinite and The Last of Us), to films (28 Days Later, Children of Men, 2012,
Divergent), to television shows (The Walking Dead), to novels (The Road, The Hunger Games trilogy),
contemporary dystopian fiction is increasingly defined by its continued depiction of destroyed or
abandoned urban spaces. This panel asks for presentations that explore the phenomenon. Why is the
destruction of city centers so significant to contemporary dystopian writers and directors? How does
this speak to our cultural relationship with urban spaces? What affect do scenes of urban destruction have
on viewers and readers? How does the global media portal contribute to this obsession? How does an
international climate of terrorism and globalization alter or influence dystopian writers?

Please send abstracts of 250 words or less to Ryan Peters (Loyola University Chicago) at by June 15th, 2014.


Cities and the Social Contract in Literature

In urban spaces, our social and communal structures and interdependencies are most conspicuous, most challenging, most inescapable, and perhaps most stimulating. This session will examine writers who explore the ways city life reduces private space, thrusting people together in public space, forcing them to engage with the social contract and their implied identities as fellow citizens (not necessarily in strictly political ways). How do those negotiations work and what do they reveal? How does literature portray the constraints of city spaces, the constant reminders of our membership in a crowded society? Papers might address such topics as representations of urban communities, the arts of their contact zones, the intersection of urban life and social/political activism, or investigations of the personal and/in the public.

Please submit proposals to William Waddell at by June 15th, 2014.


Urban Corruption and Rural Morality in Modernist American Literature

With the rise of industrialism came the rise of cities. Modern American literature is rife with images of of
city-life; yet, for all the allure of the city, the small town still held sway in the lives of characters and,
indeed, in the lives of authors. In the works of authors such as Nella Larsen, Richard Wright, and T.S.
Eliot, cities are characterized as desolate and isolating wastelands, sometimes even hell. Likewise, in the
works of authors such as Willa Cather and William Faulkner, the small-town, rural landscape offered the
stability of a moral center. However, in the Modern period, the clear demarcations of this dichotomy
break down, with corruption wreaking havoc upon the moral center of the small-town and cities becoming
spaces of morally enlightening experiences. This panel invites paper proposals that explore this
dichotomy, whether in analyses of texts that uphold or break down the binary of city as bad/small-town as

Please submit CV, title, and 200-250 words abstracts to by June 15th, 2014.


The Postmodern City

In his novel Zone One, Colson Whitehead suggests that New York City is diverse enough that it
can represent any other place in the world. In this way, the identity of the city is portrayed in the same
terms as the identity of the postmodern individual: both singular and irreconcilably multiple. The city,
therefore, is a site of untenable myth, whose boroughs embody the ad hoc conditionalities demanded in a
postmodern culture. In light of the grand narrative of urbanization, the realities of the city’s spatial
relations make it an important analog for contemporary issues of social and personal fracture and unity.
Using the concept of the fragmented city, and in accordance with the conference’s theme of “The
Lives of Cities,” this panel seeks papers that investigate issues of fractured identity, conditionality, and
unifying myth. Possible topics may include, but are not limited to: economic relations between boroughs,
the myth of modern industrial life, globalization and the city, cosmopolitanism, atomized privacy, ethnic
neighborhoods and mixed race identity, the city as Western colonialism, and the city as multi-vocal agent.

Please submit 250-word abstracts and a brief 100-word bio to Evan Syverson at by
June 15, 2014.


Pastoral Cities

In his study Pastoral Cities (1987), James L. Machor gives the name “urban-pastoral” to
a cultural myth of rural-urban synthesis, which he deems foundational to the moral geography of
American life, from the Puritans’ “City on a Hill” to Frederick Law Olmsted’s “City Beautiful”.
To recognize and complicate this rural-urban dream, Machor argues, was one of the
achievements of American writers through the nineteenth century. And yet, despite the recent
pastoral turn in literary scholarship, few critics have analyzed urban-pastoralism in later or less
canonical works. If, in 1987, Machor could give currency to urban-pastoralism by pointing to
such formations as the suburbs and the industrial park, today we can point to the greening of the
city, corporation, and institution—processes that now function beyond the bounds of any one
nation. We can invoke, along with the discipline of urban ecology, a certain urban-ecological
capital flowing through cultural artifacts that increasingly stake moral and social significance on
discourses of sustainability.

For our panel we seek papers that address the urban-pastoral ideal, and which explore
how this ideal permeates ideologies of our own time. While literature is our main focus, we will
consider papers on film and other texts. Please send abstracts of approximately 250 words to by June 15th, 2014.


The City in Film Noir

The city in film noir is a site of aspiration and anxiety. Juxtaposed against the agrarian ideal, the
noir city is a lure, a maze, a trap. Noir cities suggest forms of escape; they enable and restrict the
challenges gender, class and race pose to the normative. Noir plots are set in motion by the anonymity
and disruption of the metropolis; noir archetypes – the grifters, the tycoons, the femme fatales, the
ambiguous foreigners – are cosmopolitan figures. This panel seeks papers that may examine the
depiction of cities in classic, neo-, B- , documentary or parody noirs, the influence of émigré auteurs in
envisioning American cities, architecture as mis-en-scene, cosmopolitanisms, gendered space. (111

The scholarship on Film noir often concentrates on the genre’s thematic unities and historical
precedents and context. This panel focuses on a less frequently discussed topic: the setting. Although
the noir label is sometimes applied in hybrid form, i.e., Western noir, Gothic noir, the vast majority of
noir films are inextricably linked to their contemporary urban setting. To speak about noir plots and noir
characters is to speak about metropolitan figures who can exist only in an urban landscape. In addition,
this panel emphasizes the link between the thematic and generic conventions of film noir and a setting
which simultaneously challenges and reinforces social doctrines and norms. Please send abstracts to by June 15th, 2014.


Alternative Economies: Spanish Cities in Crisis

While the catastrophe of our civilization due to overconsumption and poverty is a question of
hesitant future, for some the catastrophe has already happened. Not only those swiped out by the
hurricane Haiyan (Yolanda) in Philippines in November of 2013 and those killed by draughts
and tsunamis in other parts of the world, but also to thousands of Europeans who lost their jobs,
their houses and their “civilized” way of life due to the crisis. As a result, recently Europe has
become a ground of diverse alternative economies and Spain has been particularly creative in
these aspects. According to Bárbara Álvarez (El País), in Spain there are thirty local “social
currencies” such as “ecosol” in Catalonia, “eusko” in Basque Country and “boniato” in Madrid.
Alternative local economies claim their right to the public spaces by planting urban gardens in
squares and parks where a community education and entertainment also take place. While
currently these experiments constitute only a fringe economy which allows people rejected by
the system to return to the market and participate in the exchange of services, these are also
experiments for the future. The measures of their success are of diverse nature, economic in the
sense that they sustain human basic needs but also psychological and narrative because these
alternative economies in order to succeed need to provide stories of alternative happiness
constructed on the bases of something else than consumption. This is a call for papers that
searches for stories and scenarios from the alternative economies in Spanish cities to be
analyzed in the context of both economic and environmental crisis as well as urban studies.

Send papers to: by June 15th, 2014.


The City and the Open Road

Few American cities and towns, especially in the Midwest, have survived the automotive era. In spite of
decades of renewed interest in urbanism, the legacy of the last century's love of the open road remains:
low-density suburban development, built up along highways and occasionally interrupted by what remains
of formerly industrial towns and cities. The hollowing-out and carving-up of cities has exacerbated already
existing problems of discrimination and segregation along lines of class and race, perhaps nowhere more
evidently than in Detroit.

At the same time, the open road has long been associated in American literature and the popular
imagination with youth, individual freedom, unbounded personal growth, and unlimited opportunities. Just
as most road trips have an ultimate destination, the open road narrative lays out a teleological path
towards individual self-discovery and transcendence. This narrative persists in spite of the drudgery,
waste, and danger that characterize the daily automotive commute of millions of Americans.

This session seeks to better understand the role that the aestheticization and narrativization of the open
road has played in undermining the value of the city, shaping public opinion about land use and
transportation funding, and shaping personal decisions about modes of travel. Simultaneously, this
session is open to exploring narratives, literary or not, that challenge the aesthetic of the open road or
that resist the urban/open road dichotomy.

This panel is open to a variety of cultural and literary perspectives from multiple disciplines. Possible
topics include:

-The open road narrative and public policy
-The open road as a means of suburban flight
-Critiques of the open road in literature
-Highways, automobiles, and individualism
-Travel narratives from different places and times
-The open road and sexuality
-Public/private boundaries in transportation
-Public transportation narratives
-Bicycling and walking narratives
-Cars, roads, and highways in film and song
-The open road and the railroad
-The invisibility/misrepresentation of suburbia in popular culture
-The open road as frontier narrative

Please send abstracts to Joseph Montgomery at by June 15th, 2014.


The Renaissance Formerly Known as Harlem: Race and Diaspora in the Global City

This panel seeks papers on the Renaissance formerly known as Harlem. Recent scholarly debates—including
the recent special issue of Modernism/modernity on "The Harlem Renaissance and the New Modernist
Studies" (20.3)—have suggested new terminology to define the New Negro movement in the United States
during the 1920s, 30s, and 40s. From "New Negro" to "Black" Renaissance, these terms highlight alternative
spheres of black cultural production. While it is necessary to move beyond the narrow geographic parameters of the "Harlem" Renaissance, it is also important to break open Harlem itself and to understand it as a globally inflected cityscape. This panel investigates New Negro modernism through an interrogation of the "Harlem" in "Harlem Renaissance."

How can we understand the New Negro movement through more global and national
readings of this cityscape? Is Harlem itself more expansive than a simple zip code might suggest? What do
global understandings of the city itself bring to our understanding of black modernism in America? To extend
Brent Hayes Edwards's important work, we ask not only, what does the practice of diaspora look like in
Harlem, but also, what does Harlem look like in the practice of diaspora? We welcome papers on literary texts, visual arts, and performance pieces. Interdisciplinary approaches are encouraged.

Please send a 250 word abstract and short (2-3 sentences) bio to and by June 15, 2014.


The Affects of Cities

Recent turns in psychoanalytic criticism cast individuals as more porous—more permeable to the feelings or psychoses of others—than traditional humanism usually allows. Theorists engaged with this affective turn wrestle with questions of how the “feeling of feelings,” or affects, flow freely between individuals—especially when individuals are found in groups. “The Affects of Cities,” a special session of the 2014 Conference of the Midwest Modern Language Association, themed “The Lives of Cities,” proposes to explore and discuss affect and affective transmission specifically in urban environments.

Urban spaces boast large and diverse populations, are full of crowds—sometimes even
mobs—and are marked by individuals packed together. Cities present problems of not knowing how
to relate to one’s neighbors; families might reside in overcrowded tenements or individual strangers
might cram together into subway cars. In urban space, classes, races, and cultures move together,
mix, and drift apart. Perhaps in other cases, conversely, city life creates an atmosphere wherein
inhabitants inherently do know how to relate to one another, regardless of any cultural, racial, or
class barriers—consider how inhabitants of New York City describe camaraderie as “New Yorkers.”

“The Affects of Cities” will explore how individuals “feel” their own and others’ identities in
urban space, and how individuals might “feel” the identities of the spaces—the affect(s) the city
itself has—for example, Paris is often described as inherently “romantic.” Papers submitted to this
session might answer questions such as: How does affect get uniquely transmitted in cities, where strangers are neighbors? How can one see the transmission of affect in the literature about or taking place in cities? Is there evidence of longing for affective connection outside of the city? Do individuals “feel their feelings” differently in urban spaces and rural spaces? Papers on all literary periods, genres, or attending to any locale are welcome.

Please submit abstracts of 250-300 words to Elizabeth Dieterich at by June 15th.


Representations of Black Women in the City

This panel seeks papers about the role of African American women in “the lives of cities.” Portrayals of the male flanuer of the Harlem Renaissance or the young man caught up in the urban ghetto are familiar literary tropes, but less critical attention has been paid to the representation of Black women in the city. Texts as diverse as Nella Larsen’s Passingand Richard Wright’s Native Son feature tragic Black female characters, for whom the city became an end. Conversely, characters in Langston Hughes’ Little Ham or Alice Walker’s The Color Purple find success and independence in the big city. The complexity of such texts and characters challenges mainstream ideas of race, culture, and gender, and provides an opportunity for rich analysis.

How do these intersections between race, class, and gender affect our understanding of the urban setting, and what can we learn about the life of the city from such an analysis? How have Black women helped to create or reclaim urban spaces? What role do they play in literary texts about the challenges of urban life for people of color or for populations more broadly? Papers may address any time period, and may focus on literary, cultural, or historical representation. Please send a 250 word abstract and a brief bio to Sharyn Emery at by June 15th, 2014.


Prison Literature

Doran Larson asserts that all of the carceral facilities in the United States together comprise a single archipelago “Prison City… with its own language, culture, social hierarchies, currencies, and codes of conduct.” This session will explore the study, teaching, and production of literature in the Prison City. Possible topics include contemporary and historical prison texts as well as teaching literature, theater, and writing in prison. In the spirit of our convention theme, “The Lives of Cities,” we encourage papers that consider the peculiar society and culture of the Prison City. We are especially interested in papers that include and honor the voices of prisoners themselves.

Please send abstracts of 250 words to William Andrews at by June 15th, 2014.



This session will focus on the sensationalizing of London's East End.
From the sensational "Newgate Novels" of the early Victorian period to the spectacle of the "Ripper Murders" during the so-called "Autumn of Terror" (1888), the Victorians were deeply fascinated by the seeming degeneracy and pervasive criminality of the East End. Narrative, journalistic, and investigative accounts of London's "low life" and rookeries in the eastern sections of the metropolis were, in fact, part of the mainstay of middle-class popular culture. The tradition of marking the East End as "darkest London" continued well into the 20th century. But what other function, beside lurid entertainment, did East End slum narratives provide? What were the discursive intersections of culture and class that seemingly necessitated the production and consumption of sensational slum narratives and tales of urban degeneracy, crime, and decay? Moreover, what is the narrative/cultural legacy of sensationalism in regard to the East End? How might the 21st century East End continue to live in relation to its narrated past?

Please send a 250 word abstract and a brief bio to Kevin Swafford at  All submissions are due by June 15.


The Health of Cities

From Thomas Jefferson's early condemnation of cities as detrimental to the moral and
physical well-being of the American body politic, to contemporary ecocritical considerations of
the environmental risks of urban space, cities have long been implicated in discourses of sickness
and health. Recent works such as Julie Sze's Noxious New York: The Racial Politics of Urban
Health and Environmental Justice (2007) and Simon Finger's The Contagious City: The Politics
of Public Health in Early Philadelphia (2011) explore the historical rhetoric of contagion and
contamination for urban populations in the United States. Building from these intersections of
cultural studies, ecocriticism, and the history of public health, this panel seeks to interrogate the
connection between cities and sickness. In what ways and to what ends have cities—particularly
after John Snow's 1854 medico-cartographical project mapped the spread of cholera across
London—been subject to epidemiological scrutiny? What demographics have been targeted and
impacted by urban public health initiatives, and in what ways? How have factors including race,
gender, and sexuality contributed to critical assessments of the health of citites? This panel is
interested both in literal manifestations of urban public health initiatives, and—particularly given
MMLA's 2014 location in Detroit—in the metaphorical language of illness, health, and
recuperation applied to the “sick” or “ailing” city.
Please submit 250-word abstracts to Emily Waples at by June 15.


The City, the Country, and the Classroom

This panel seeks papers that explore “the lives of cities” in a pedagogical context.  Panelists are invited to offer insights on teaching “the lives of cities” to students who have not grown up in urban settings.  Rural students’ beliefs about the city are typically shaped by pop culture stereotypes that simplify and flatten the realities of urban life.  In the classroom, therefore, we face the challenge of revising and complicating these notions. What are the challenges of teaching urban literature in rural settings?  What can instructors do to make urban concerns seem relevant to students from rural backgrounds?    

Also welcome are papers that explore “the country” in urban and suburban classrooms.  Much as the city can seem faraway to rural students, “the countryside” can feel distant at urban universities.  Mythologies attached to the countryside often distort rural life; media images romanticize agriculture and rural towns, eliding the profound social and economic problems facing rural America.  How, then, do we interest urban and suburban students in rural concerns?  What texts, critical concepts, and approaches might bring “the countryside” home to the city?

Please submit 300-word abstracts including a paper title to Dr. Bonnie Erwin,, by June 15th.


The Intersecting Landscapes of Art and Literature in Romantic-Era Paris (Sponsored by the Midwest Art History Society)

            This panel solicits papers investigating the intersecting worlds of art and literature in early 19th-century Paris (circa 1815-1848).  Possible topics to be investigated include: interactions of artists and writers in Romantic-era Salons and cénacles; artistic and literary collaborations; the intersecting commercialization and/or popularization of art and literature in early 19th-century Paris; artistic and literary topographies of Romantic-era Paris; convergences and divergences in Romantic art and literary theory; artistic representations of writers and/or literary representations of artists; Honoré de Balzac and the visual arts; Romantic theatre and the visual arts; artistic and literary constructions of the dandy; artist and literary Orientalisms; the overlapping careers of literary and art critics. 

Please submit 250-word abstracts to Andrew Shelton (Department of History of Art, Ohio State University) at by June 15.


City Science and City Craft
 Finding a coin in a street gutter, the protagonist of Charles Reznikoff’s 1930 novel By the Waters of Manhattan concludes, “If there was woodcraft . . . he was master of a new science, citycraft.”  Though his sense of mastery is short-lived, the language of his expression points toward a method of grappling with the economic realities of modern city life that aligns with what Tim Armstrong identifies as a conflict between the modern and the inherited.  But the relationship between modern science and inherited craft is complex: at times dialectical, at times intertwined, at times synthetic, artists, workers, and scholars still inquire after the intersecting skills, practices, and perspectives of modern science, social science, artisanal trade, and literary craftsmanship.

This panel seeks papers that explore the ways in which writers in the 20th and 21st centuries have utilized concepts of science, craft, and art in their attempts to understand, depict, and make life livable in the modern and contemporary city.  How, for example, do family trades inform artwork?  How do contemporary (or past) postulates of social scientists affect depictions of city life?  Where do the discoveries—and the fears—of modern science and medicine appear?  Can one use such crafts to foster the development of true individuality? Keywords for papers on this panel might be as diverse as contagion, labor, rail, electricity, mass/masses, and circulation—but they will all be united by the common conceptual network of “citycraft.”

Abstracts of approximately 250 words should be sent to Joshua Wall at by June 15, 2014.


"Terror and the City"

This panel seeks papers that address the intersection of terror and the city.  Since 9/11, the topic of terror has acquired a heightened profile. But terror is nothing new, being associated with such historically disparate phenomena as the plague, the Spanish Inquisition, the French Revolution, gothic literature, and V2 rockets during World War II. How might these and other instances of terror be contemplated in the specific context of metropolitan experience?  At the intersection of these critical concerns a number of questions present themselves: What kinds of terror are particular to the city? How are cities affected by terror? What evokes terror in cities? What about urban life specifically shapes the experience of terror and how? This panel encourages a variety of approaches concerning a range of historical instances of urban terror.
Topics might include:
Terror and the metropolis
Terror as political weapon
Terror and the urban sublime
Terror as urban affect
Terror and urban disaster
Terror and disease/plague
Send abstracts of 250 words to Professor Mark Freed in the Department of English Language and Literature, Central Michigan University, by June 15.



In his article, “Decolonizing Fairy-Tale Studies” (2010) Donald Haase cautions against the “limited horizon of much contemporary fairy-tale research” and advocates developing “effective intercultural or transcultural model[s] for understanding the fairy tale,” in order to “create a disciplinary or interdisciplinary space that can accommodate the genre in its many manifestations.” A few recent, exemplary studies indicate the rich theoretical possibilities for fairy-tale scholarship: Jack Zipes draws on cognitive science and evolutionary biology in The Irresistible Fairy Tale, and Cristina Bacchilega’s Fairy Tales Transformed? frames fairy tale adaptations as “ideologically-variable desire machines” entangled in a hyptertextual age of wonder and magic.

This panel is interested in exploring new theoretical spaces of the fairy tale with a preference toward less canonical writers and texts. Potential papers might consider, but are not limited to, the following: material culture readings emphasizing the “thingness” of fairy-tales; marginalized fairy-tale texts and films; fairy tales and (post)colonial discourse; fairy tales and queer theory; fairy tales and post/trans-humanism; and fairy tales and eco-criticism. We welcome paper proposals from any historical period of fairy-tale cultural production and in any form: from the theatre of seventeenth-century French contes des fées, to Victorian chapbooks of fairy-tale figures, to contemporary television shows like Once Upon a Time and Grimm.

Papers dealing directly with the 2014 conference theme, “The Lives of Cites”, are particularly encouraged, especially those engaging with the mental and physical landscapes, as well as the rural and urban settings of the fairy tale and its modern incarnations.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words and a 1-2 page curriculum vitae to Ryan Habermeyer at no later than June 30, 2014.


*topias: 1400-1800

The Wayne State University Group for Early Modern Studies (GEMS) invites papers on various *topias (utopias, dystopias, etc) in the Middle Ages, Renaissance, and Eighteenth-Century.
Papers for this session will investigate the conference theme “The Lives of Cities” by investigating place(s) and space(s)--real and imagined--through the pre-modern lens of the *topia. How did ideas of space change in the long early modern period, and how did they interact with and reflect the needs or interests of the authors conceptualizing new and/or different kinds of spaces? What can we learn from representations of place in literary and cultural texts from these periods? We are especially interested in work related to: utopias, dystopias, new cities, (re)making the city, underworlds, transformative spaces, publics and counterpublics, rural vs. urban spaces, and public vs. private spaces.
Please send 250-word abstracts and brief academic bio to Simone Chess,, by June 15, 2014.


The Diseased Masses: Illness' Impact on City Life

This panel will address the issue of diseases which run rampant in city-life from eighteenth century America and sixteenth century England to the present day. A focus on psychosomatic or physical ailments should be present in one's paper. Fad illnesses such as dyspepsia, consumption, and hysteria as well as their accompanying diagnoses and relationship to the life of a city are suggestions for topics, but not requirements. Ideas can be explored through multiple critical and theoretical lenses provided they return to the idea of disease and its presence in any number of populations experiencing city life. Paper abstract submissions (no more than 250 words, please) are due by June 15 to


Hispanic Cartographic Imaginaries

This panel seeks papers on the construction of or the discussion of space and the city within the Hispanic world. Cultural and Literary Studies from both Latin America and Spain are encouraged. Topics may include papers focusing on urban/rural studies, construction of space within literature and film, as well as other cultural objects that inform how we conceive cartography, space and the city in the Hispanic world. Abstracts of 250-300 words as well as contact information and proposed paper titles should be sent to Matt Wild ( by June 15th.


Rethinking Cold War Girls’ Literature

Both “Cold War” and “girls’ literature” have been criticized as terms that obfuscate the complexity of the concepts they represent. “Cold War” has been described as limiting, or too narrow to encompass all facets of American cultural production during its era. “Girls’ literature,” similarly, has been criticized for suggesting uniformity in readership (and editorial intent) that creates a false canon of texts. This panel investigates the intersection of these broad terms to rethink the misleadingly simple question: what is Cold War girls’ literature?

Papers may investigate any aspect related to Cold War girls’ literature (broadly defined), including:

  • silences or articulations of Cold War politics within texts for girls
  • the gendering of Cold War era texts for children or young adults
  • cultural materialist examinations of textual production during the postwar/ Cold War era
  • Cold War girls’ literature in international context
  • Cold War era book challenges in schools and libraries
  • impact of federal initiatives in education on a canon of “girls’ literature”

By June 22, 2014, please submit a 300-word abstract, a short bio, and A/V requirements to Amanda K. Allen, Eastern Michigan University, at


Urban Environments in Young Adult Literature

Cities have the ability to set standards, enforce conformity, and dispense punishment to those living in or around urban areas. This ability creates a distinct physical and psychological urban environment. This session will examine how city structures create urban environments and how they are represented in young adult literature. How do these cities act as a unit? How does young adult literature portray cities and their effects on the environment and characters? How do these urban environments affect character development? Papers might address topics such as the development of urban environments, the role of nature in urban environments, or the effects of urban environments on characters and development in young adult literature. Paper abstract submissions of 250 words are due by June 15 to Britni Williams at