MMLA 2024 Call for Papers

"Health in/of the Humanities"

Please Note: MMLA 2024 will be fully in person. No virtual or hybrid panels will be scheduled.

14-16 November 2024
Hilton Chicago
720 South Michigan Avenue

Chicago, IL 60605

“We are healthy only to the extent that our ideas are humane.” So reads an inscription on the tomb of the fictional author Kilgore Trout in Kurt Vonnegut’s 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions. While speculative and darkly serio-comic, the novel’s exploration of how “ideas or the lack of them can cause disease” raises key questions about the relationship between the humanities and health that will provide the thematic framework for the in-person 2024 conference of the Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA), hosted in Chicago, IL.

Long before the COVID-19 pandemic brought the cultural, political, and public dimensions of health into stark relief, researchers were seeking new interfaces between the humanities and health sciences in clusters like the medical humanities, health humanities, and narrative medicine. And even earlier - stretching back centuries to discourses of humourism – contacts between the humanities and health sciences have reliably generated valuable interpretations of individual works, genres, and practices of reading, writing, and speaking that directly impinge on the lived bodily experiences of particular communities.

For the 2024 conference of the MMLA, we encourage submissions that contribute new insights into the evolving relationship between health and the humanities, and what this relationship might tell us about the health of the humanities. We encourage submissions that address the following topics:

  • Narratives of health, sickness and/or recovery
  • Health subcultures
  • Disability studies
  • Food studies
  • Religion and health
  • Women’s studies and health
  • Medical Humanities, Narrative Medicine, Health Humanities
  • Health Science Writing
  • Representations of Public, Private, and Global Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Mental/psychological health
  • Psychoanalysis
  • Digital Humanities/modeling approaches to health
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Medical technologies
  • Health professions/institutions/workplaces