Permanent Section Calls for Papers

Permanent Sections address a range of established topics of perennial concern to scholars in our discipline. Because the field is continuously evolving, the MMLA welcomes proposals to establish a new Permanent Section on an emerging topic. Inquiries may be sent to [email protected].

Each Permanent Section has a pre-selected organizer/chair who not only decides whether the panel will be tied to a version of the convention's theme or have an open topic but also drafts its call for papers by the March 15 deadline. The organizer then receives and vets individual paper proposals to build a full, three-paper panel, which may also include a paper of his/her own. 

Individual proposals to a Permanent Section are due to the organizer by his/her imposed deadline but no later than April 15 (please see the calls for papers below for more information). After soliciting, reviewing, and selecting individual proposals, all Permanent Section organizers must submit the following materials to the MMLA by May 01:

  1. Organizer's Name, Email Address, and Affiliation
  2. Panel Title (15-word maximum)
  3. Presenter Names, Email Addresses, and Affiliations
  4. Paper Titles (15-word maximum each)
  5. Abstracts (approximately 250 words each)

The Permanent Section for African Literature of the Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) requests abstracts for this year’s conference which will be in-person in Chicago, Illinois.

This year’s theme is “Health In/Of the Humanities,” and the panel seeks scholarly submissions that will address the theme of health in/of African literature. Not limiting ourselves to the notion of physical health, submissions may also address how African literature portrays psychological and mental health of the people, as well the environmental and economic health of African nations and of the continent itself. Submissions may also consider the health of African literature both on the continent and across the diaspora. Scholars are invited to consider both retrospective and futuristic views of how African literature has aided in the healing and health of the people and the land.

Please send an abstract of 200-300 words should be submitted to Judah-Micah Lamar at [email protected] no later than Friday, April 26.

The African American Literature Permanent Section of the Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) is requesting abstracts from potential panelists for this year’s in-person conference in Chicago, Illinois. As the conference’s theme is “Health in/of the Humanities,” this section is seeking scholarly work that connects literature written by Black authors of the Western Hemisphere to physical, mental, spiritual, individual, and/or communal health.

Some questions your work could potentially address are the following: How have literary representations of individual and/or communal trauma changed in the last four centuries? What has differentiated literary depictions of various illnesses in Black literature from health narratives written by authors from other diasporas? How does gender affect discourses of health, normativity, and pathology in the Black literatures of the Americas? What role do infrastructure and policy play in the representations of community and individual health?

Other possible topics might include:
  • 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

Please send a 200–300 word abstract to Noemi Fernandez Labarga at [email protected] no later than April 25th, 2024.

As historian Kim E. Nielson argues in A Disability History of the United States, the health of the body became metaphorically linked to the health of the nation in the early national period. The nationalist rhetoric of the healthy body politic led to the marginalization of individuals seen as occupying “deficient” or dependent bodies. This panel seeks to explore this dynamic from the perspective of those excluded by this rhetoric. Papers focused on artists, writers, and other art producers who experienced disability during the era are welcome. How did these figures respond to the nationalist mythos, and how did they envision themselves with respect to the body politic? Please email a short abstract and CV to Sarah Dennis, [email protected], by April 15th.

The permanent section on American Literature 1870-Present invites proposals for the 2024 in-person conference of the Midwest Modern Language Association, in Chicago, IL, from Nov. 14-16. All proposals are welcome, especially those that gesture toward the conference theme of "Health in/of the Humanities".

For consideration, please send an abstract of no more than 250 words and a brief bio to: [email protected] by April 15, 2024.

The Antiracism Permanent Section of the Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) invites papers and panels that examine literature and pedagogy that critically engages with race and racism in texts and the teaching of race in the classroom. Also, panels and papers connected to the conference theme of “Health in/of the Humanities” and antiracism are encouraged.

Some possible topics include:
  • the health of antiracist work post-2020
  • antiracist work in literature
  • antiracism and the literary canon
  • the creation of an antiracist syllabus
  • antiracism and institutional resistance
Please send a 200-300 word abstract to Cedric Burrows at [email protected] no later than April 15, 2024.

Climate Change, the Public Medical-Environmental Humanities, and the New Liberal Arts: ASLE Permanent Section CFPs, MMLA 2024

In Universities on Fire: Higher Education in the Climate Crisis, the academic futurist, professor of literature, and exponent of critical university studies (CUS), Bryan Alexander, argues that "liberal arts programs and institutions may be particularly well suited to support [...] interdisciplinary work, given the discipline-crossing aspect of their tradition" (93). Moreover, he speculates on whether the tradition of liberal arts education might reimagine itself to address and adapt to the manifold challenges of climate change – indeed, he posits that the climate crisis could be imagined as the basis for what he calls "the new liberal arts" (93). In response to the MMLA theme “Health in/of the Humanities,” this panel seeks papers from teacher-scholar-activists that showcase and/or imagine public-facing work that dovetails with, draws freely from, and builds upon the tradition(s) and guiding principles of liberal arts education. We also seek papers that advance arguments on how and why intellectual/financial investment in liberal arts education and the interdisciplinary medical-environmental humanities is an investment in student-citizens and, by logical extension, a new “polis” that can—and must—create/produce the big ideas we need to collectively build an equitable and sustainable political economy. In this way, we conceive of investment in the “new liberal arts” as an investment in the collective survival, flourishing, and future of humans, as well as the ecological systems they shape, are shaped by, and depend on.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to:
  • (Representations of) Institutions and Institution-building
  • (Representations of) Infrastructure—Health/care, Education, Ecological, Public
  • Climate Change, Pandemics, Climate Migration and Medical Ethics
  • Water, Food, and Energy Justice • Climate and Language Justice 
  • Urban Design and Public Health
  • Collective Care Networks—Environmental, Health, Education
  • Collective Organizing in the University and Beyond (Healthcare, etc.)
  • Environmental and/as Health Crises; Intersection of Health and Environmental Humanities 
  • Collective Knowledge-Building and Non-Western Knowledge Formations
  • Environmental Aesthetics, Ecopoetics, Cultural Representations of Environmental Change, Ecocidal Logics, Extractivism, Fossil Capitalism
  • Health Humanities and Representations of Health/care in Cultural Production
  • Political Ecologies
  • Nature-Based Solutions and Environmental Organizing
  • Critical Engagements with Liberal Arts and Liberal Arts Education
  • Public Humanities; Digital Humanities
  • Cultural Production—Literature, Television, Film, Visual Arts, Audio Arts, Performance, etc.
  • Material Culture
  • Critical University Studies
  • Political Economies of Education and/or Health Care
  • Social, Educational, and Public Health Consequences of Indebted Life
Please submit a 250-300 word abstract including paper title and a brief bio statement to Brian Deyo at [email protected] by April 15. Queries welcome.

The Central American Literatures and Cultures permanent section of the Midwest Modern Language Association seeks proposals for the upcoming MMLA Convention in Chicago, Illinois (Nov 14-16, 2024). This section welcomes proposals that analyze and interpret literature, audiovisual productions, and other cultural manifestations from Central America, with diverse methodologies and perspectives, with any national or transnational focus within the region, and also those with a transcontinental or transoceanic connection.cThematic areas of analysis can include, and are not limited to, the 2024 MMLA theme: “Health in/of the Humanities,” as well as any cultural, economic, social and political aspect reflected in the artistic, cultural and literary productions of the seven Central American nations: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama.

Please submit a 250-word abstract (include title) in Spanish or English, and a brief bio-bibliography or CV (include name, institutional affiliation, and e-mail) to David Rozotto at [email protected] by April 15th, 2024.

“Health” in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Cultures

Societal and cultural upheavals can be cause for growth, hope, change, and (r)evolution. Changes and challenges to global, national, and local communities can be difficult to understand and handle as they often transform that with which we are familiar. Such topics have long been addressed in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Culture. Questions may arise such as: What is the role of Children’s and Young Adult Literature within contemporary societal and cultural upheavals? How do events such as war or migration cause reflection and change? We seek papers that explore all aspects of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, as well as those addressing the conference theme of “Health.” Considerations may be given to mental and/or physical health, health as it pertains to community, the environment, audience, war, race, technologies, body image, sexualities, disabilities, politics, literacies, socioeconomics, immigration, rural/urban spaces, post/humanism, regionalism, and any other critical issues in children’s and young adult literature from any period and genre. Panel proposals are also welcome.

The MMLA conference will take place in Chicago, IL November 14-16th, 2024. Inquiries and/or abstracts of 250-300 words should be sent to Amberyl Malkovich at [email protected] by April 25th, 2024. Please include your name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, and paper title in your abstract.

“Writing Illness, Embodiment, and Care in Fiction and Creative Nonfiction” In dialogue with the 2024 MMLA conference theme “Health in/of the Humanities,” the Creative Writing: Prose permanent section seeks creative presentations, craft talks, or hybrid presentations focused on writing about illness, mental health, embodiment, care, public health, and more in fiction and creative nonfiction alike. Creative writers and critics have long debated the approaches that we can take to representing illness, embodiment, and health in storytelling. In her longform essay “On Being Ill,” Virginia Woolf writes that physical illness and mental health concerns alter one’s perspective, and that prose must therefore transform to represent illness. Susan Sontag, in Illness and Its Metaphors, cautions against transforming illnesses, diseases, and conditions into metaphors. In novels like Michael Cunningham’s The Hours or Alejandro Varela’s The Town of Babylon, the health of individual characters creates connections within families, networks of friends, and communities—making the depiction of individual character’s wellbeing a portrait of broader social conditions. In the light of the COVID-19 pandemic, plague novels like Albert Camus’s The Plague or Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven illuminate the illusions of able-bodiedness and the entwined precarity of the individual citizen’s health and the stability of the world at large.

The Creative Writing: Prose permanent section welcomes proposals for fiction or creative nonfiction presentations that explore any aspect of these questions through story telling and narrative craft. Papers will be considered for presentation on the Creative Writing: Prose permanent section panel at the 2024 Midwest Modern Language Association annual conference in Chicago, IL ,from November 14–16, 2024.

For consideration, please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words, along with your current short bio, by email to Dr. Patrick Henry at [email protected] no later than April 15, 2024.

The Creative Writing II: Poetry permanent section of the Midwest Modern Language Association seeks creative, critical, and hybrid proposals that connect to this year’s convention theme of “Health in/of the Humanities.” We are particularly interested in presentations from poets and poet-scholars who engage with health, disability studies, and other medical humanities-oriented poetics and praxis. Questions to consider include: How does (your) poetry and poetic practice engage with the body? How does poetry complicate or redefine health, sickness, and/or recovery? What possibilities and interventions does poetry have to offer when it comes to medical ethics, technologies, etc.? We welcome papers, poetry, and digital poetics projects, and are especially interested in critical-creative works that are socially conscious and politically engaged. Presentations should be approximately 15 minutes in length. 

To submit your work for consideration, please send a 200-300 word abstract and a brief bio to the section chair, Hannah Kroonblawd ([email protected]), by  April 15, 2024. Proposals of creative projects should include a brief sample of creative work (3-5 pages of poetry) along with the abstract. Please include your name, professional affiliation, e-mail address, and paper title in your submission.

“Reading for Wellness”: Taking inspiration from the in/of that joins Health and Humanities in this year’s conference theme, this panel seeks papers that broadly consider the relationship between the short story form and wellbeing.

Individual and Collective Wellbeing
Claims made for the humanness of the short story form – its capacity to capture, condense, and convey essential elements if not the Truth of human experience – take on added urgency in an age increasingly characterized as inhuman. Submissions to this panel, then, might
  • interrogate the form’s ability to register and respond to individual, social, political, and cultural change and/or upheaval and to offer its writers and/or readers recognition and/or reassurance, consolation and/or compassion, cathartic confrontation and/or restful retreat
  • consider the extent to which the form’s appeal rests in its connective force – its ability to connect quickly, to connect widely, to connect the apparently disconnected
  • address the affective qualities of the form and/or its place within affect studies
  • examine the form’s capacity for restoration and/or renewal
The Wellbeing of the Discipline Alternatively, panelists might address the interpretive demands works of short prose fiction make and their implications for the health of the humanities moving forward. Papers might explore the extent to which the form
  • models adaptability and/or ensures the survival and/or development of narrative modes of understanding the world and the critical frameworks that accompany them
  • invites cross-disciplinary practice and analysis
  • challenges readers to hone skills critical to navigating a storified age
Abstracts of 250 words with a short bio should be sent by email to Dr. Heather Joyce at [email protected] no later than April 15, 2024.
The MMLA permanent section on Disability Studies invites paper proposals for the 2024 conference of the Midwest Modern Language Association to be held in Chicago, IL on November 14-16. All proposals are welcome, and the conference theme of "Health in/of the Humanities" should be of particular interest to scholars in the field of Disability Studies. Please send abstracts of approximately 250 words and a brief bio to [email protected] by April 22, 2024. John Allen, Milwaukee Area Technical College.

Often an introduction to our discipline, whether as a requirement for majors or as an option for general education programs, the survey of English literature can play several roles. For some, the course may be regarded as a perfunctory obligation, something to “get out of the way” before their “real” work begins. For others, it can be a crucial opportunity to introduce several fundamental questions about our discipline, from how we distinguish literary texts, to how we identify Englishness, to the versions of literary history that we give priority. In reflecting on the survey, we take measure of our discipline, along with our expectations about how undergraduates should approach it. 

This Permanent Section of the MMLA invites papers, which reflect on the significance of the survey course, past present and future. Proposals can address several topics, including (though not necessarily limited to):  

  • Constructions of Englishness 
  • Selecting texts in a period of EEBO-TCP and related digital archives 
  • Literary histories and their histories 
  • Coverage and inclusivity 
  • Fostering student engagement 

The panel is especially welcome to proposals, which address the general conference theme: Health in/of the Humanities. Please submit an abstract of up to 250 words, along with a brief bio to Adam Kitzes, [email protected], by April 15The MMLA convention will be held in Chicago, November 14-16, 2024. Please visit the website for information about the conference.  

“Insiders and Outsiders”: The social and cultural dynamics of “insiders” and “outsiders,” of inclusion and exclusion, are a fundamental preoccupation of 19th century British literature. Generally, “insiders” have power and knowledge, access to resources and privileges; they “belong” and identify with the “order of things”--whereas “outsiders,” apparently, do not. Who were the literary insiders and outsiders of the 19th century? To what extent do their works reveal (or undermine) their positions? This session will consider the various ways in which 19th century British writers represent, embody, and grapple with the insider/outsider binary.

Please send a brief abstract (250 words), bio, and C.V. to Kevin Swafford at [email protected]. Deadline: April 15, 2024.

Immersion: from Expanded Cinema to VR, AR, and Media-Installations 

The phrase immersive media suggests the goal of VR and AR goggles and media installations and it alludes to a history of this modality in uses by artists and visual poetry in the expanded cinema and intermedia experiments of the 1960s and 1970s. The earlier experiments, and the aspiration of recent immersive media, sought to engage audiences in communal and public ways. Is there a new history, poetics, neo-formalism, or other studies of these immersive forms from experimental film to contemporary applications? This panel welcomes papers on any aspect of immersive film/media poetics, histories, or studies. We hope that papers submitted to this panel can be included with other contributions in an eventual publication. Please submit paper proposals by, or before, April 22nd. Please ask any questions to Craig Saper, [email protected] 

Contemporary Film in the Classroom: We welcome proposals that explore how representation is forged in connection with collective acts in contemporary film. How, for example, are cultures created by the gathering together of human subjects? What modes of collectivity, be they formal or informal, arise from culture or have arisen historically? How have directors represented the salient political and social challenges of our time through notions of collective response and collaboration? How does this impact the aesthetic of the film? We seek proposals that wrestle with these (or related) transhistorical questions. Proposals that explore innovative pedagogical methods when teaching contemporary films or documentaries are welcomed. In this session, we also seek to explore how teaching across disciplines can lead to new dialogues or teaching methods/instruction. How does film pedagogy intersect with the work of colleagues in other disciplines? How does it take shape and come to fruition in the classroom?

Topics could include, but are not limited to:
  • Close analysis of film
  • Film theory
  • Film criticism
  • Film history
  • Modes of film studies
  • Methods of film production
  • World film studies
  • Collaborative pedagogy and team-teaching
  • Collaborations in the classroom (i.e. group assignments, collective grading, etc.)
  • Cultures of collectivity
  • Collective communities in film
  • Language, translation, bilingualism
  • History and duality
  • Indigenous cultures
  • Religious discourses
  • Feminisms
  • Border studies
  • African American studies
  • Afro-Latinx studies
  • Queer studies
  • Performance studies
  • Postcolonial studies
  • Cultural studies

Please send proposals of 250 words maximum by April 15, 2024 to Co-Chairs Dr. José M. Medrano [email protected] and Dr. Judit Palencia Gutierrez [email protected]. Participants are welcome to propose papers either in English or Spanish.

In accordance with this year’s MMLA theme of “Health in/of the Humanities”, the French I panel solicits papers that engage with the complicated and fascinating history of scientific and philosophical inquiry as they relate to literary culture in the early modern period. Topics of interest include, but are certainly not limited to:

  • New conceptions of life, metaphysics, and mind-body relation in the 16th and 17th centuries
  • The medicalization of scholarly work in the 18th century
This year’s convention will take place at the Hilton Chicago in Chicago, IL from November 14-16, 2024. Please send a 250 word abstract with your full contact information to Eric Wistrom at [email protected] by April 15, 2024 for full consideration.
Taking a wide approach to the theme of “Health”, this panel seeks to look at various questions of health as depicted in the literature of Post Ancien Régime France. The topic of health comes up in many ways across this time period: (un)healthy relationships, mental health concerns, gender-related health questions, physical health, physicians, patients, disabilities, the environment, among other topics. This panel will engage our thinking about the time period and its relationship to health. Please submit by April 15, 2024, abstracts (of approximately 250 words), a brief bio, and any A/V requests to Noëlle Brown, [email protected]

Humanity and Inhumanity in French Medical Imagery: This panel will examine how medical images, in French scientific and literary texts and artistic creations, were used to define humanness and create norms in regimes of gender, race, and political power. In each of these areas, operative differences and distinctions were based on incontrovertible visual evidence. Healthy, perfectly proportioned athletic bodies had featured in paintings, anatomical illustrations, and political imagery since the Renaissance (e.g. the classical “musclemen” and Venuses in the work of Vesalius). Bodies disfigured by war and disease and non-binary bodies defying the categories of male and female also became objects of pathos and political investment. Non-white bodies were forced to reveal the anatomical locus of blackness and negritude under the scalpel of anatomists. The study of medical imagery reveals the progress of medicine but also uncovers many conscious and unconscious ideological and psychological forces. The very category of the human, assumed in the notion of “the medical humanities,” was in play in medical images.

To propose a paper, please email the following materials to Matthew Senior ([email protected]) and Ian Curtis ([email protected]) by April 15:
  • Presenter Name, Email address and Affiliation
  • Paper Title (15-word maximum)
  • Abstract (approximately 250 words)
  • A Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Health, Trauma, and Healing in Gender Studies: "The essence of trauma is that it is overwhelming, unbelievable, and unbearable. Each patient demands that we suspend our sense of what is normal and accept that we are dealing with a dual reality: the reality of a relatively secure and predictable present that lives side by side with a ruinous, ever-present past." —Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score (35)

Moving away from gender essentialism and towards gender expansiveness is the goal in creating an accessible, diverse, and inclusive community. Yet every year the statistics for gender-based violence intensifies every year especially after COVID-19 outbreak with rising numbers of domestic violence and online sexual harassment occurrence. Gender-based violence (GBV) is any form of deliberate physical, sexual, psychological, and or economic harm, or suffering directed against a person based on their gender. According to the CDC, over half of women and almost one in three men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact during their lifetimes. One in 4 women and about 1 in 26 men have experienced completed or attempted rape. Following van der Kolk’s explanation of trauma, this year, Gender Studies permanent panel seeks to address various gendered violence and trauma including colonial, racial, transphobia, transmisogyny, misogyny and more.

This permanent panel welcomes discussions on queer voices and pedagogy on such topics below but not limited to:
  • Activism and political movements
  • Collective Ecologies
  • Discrimination and segregation
  • Drag and Crossdressing
  • Erotica and Pornography
  • Feminist collectives and Transfeminisms
  • Gender characterization in literature
  • Gender in linguistics and its implications
  • Gendered writing and genres
  • Material ownership and publishing
  • Nationality and citizenship
  • Natural science and ethics of care
  • Politics of Representation
  • Popular culture and subgenres
  • Race and ethnicity
  • Sexuality, sensuality, pain, pleasure, and desire
  • Transcultural Literary Negotiation
Please send an abstract of no more than 250 words to Hye Hyon Kim via [email protected] by April 20, 2024.

Submissions addressing German-language literature and film from any period and in any genre are encouraged. Papers that engage with the convention theme of “Health in/of the Humanities” are especially welcome.

Please submit 250-word abstracts and a 50-word bio as email attachments to Bethany Morgan at [email protected] by April 8, 2024.

Submissions addressing the literary texts and lives of German-language women writers from any period and in any genre are encouraged. Papers that engage with the convention theme of “Health in/of the Humanities” are especially welcome.

Please submit 250-word abstracts and a 50-word bio as email attachments to Bethany Morgan at [email protected] by April 8, 2024.

Papers on one or more Palestinian and Israeli film/s (features, shorts, documentaries) that explore aspects of the Palestine and Israeli conflict. Papers can focus also on co-productions of Palestinian and Israeli filmmakers as well as ones that address solidarity movements with other global communities living in conflict situations. Films such as Budrus, Five Broken Cameras, Promises, Salt of this Sea, among others.

Please send a brief CFP (250 words) and a short bio (50-100 words) to Khani Begum at [email protected] by April 26th.

Papers that explore how global/international interest in the genre of the Western has led to new iterations in the US and globally of Westerns engaging in genre mixing to incorporate and express contemporary feminist, LGBTQ, and racial issues. For example, films like Jordan Peele's Nope, TV series Yellowstone, Brokeback Mountain, and Power of the Dog, among others.

Please send a brief CFP (250 words) and a short bio (50-100 words) to Khani Begum at [email protected] by April 26th.

The International T.S. Eliot Society is accepting proposals for a panel at the 2024 Midwest MLA conference in Chicago, IL to be held November 14-16, 2024. Any proposal on a subject reasonably related to Eliot studies will be considered. Papers drawing from relatively recently released materials from the Hale correspondence, The Complete Prose, or Letters would be especially welcome.

If you are interested in participating, please send abstract proposals (250-300 words) to Professor Edward Upton ([email protected]). Submissions must be received no later than April 15, 2024. For more information on MMLA 2024, please see https://www.midwest-mla.org/convention. Please note: the Society does not provide funds for travel to and from the conference.

Disease, Health, and Identity in Irish Literature:

The relationship between the humanities and health provides a broad and multifaceted thematic framework for the 2024 conference of the Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA). The Irish Studies Panel not only complements the conference theme but also provides a counterweight insofar it considers the ways in which both health and disease are recurrent themes in Irish literature, reflecting the societal, cultural, and individual experiences of illness and well-being.

Irish literature has long reflected the cultural attitudes and beliefs surrounding health and disease. Though not a medical professional, Irish playwright and critic George Bernard Shaw, often explored themes related to health, medicine, and societal attitudes toward illness in his plays, essays, and public statements. In The Doctor's Dilemma, for example, Shaw satirizes the medical profession and the complexities of medical ethics. Elsewhere he explored the impact of societal factors on health, such as poverty, class disparities, and the influence of the pharmaceutical industry. More recently, writers like Anne Enright, Sebastian Barry, and Donal Ryan have examined the complexities of mental health, including depression, anxiety, and trauma, their works often highlighting the stigmas surrounding mental illness and the challenges individuals face in seeking help and acceptance.

While traditional practices, folklore, and superstitions related to healing and illness are also woven into Irish narrative practices, writers often situate health and disease within historical contexts, such as the Great Famine, epidemics, or conflicts—or even within specific geographical locations such as Dublin, which for James Joyce represented “that hemiplegia or paralysis which many consider a city.” By extension, authors such as Emma Donoghue and Joseph O'Connor explore how traumatic events and their survival have shaped public health, altered communities, and affected individual lives. Through historical fiction, they offer insights into the resilience and vulnerabilities of Irish society.

And yet despite the challenges depicted in Irish literature, many writers also celebrate moments of healing, resilience, and redemption. Characters undergo journeys of self-discovery, find solace in relationships, or reclaim agency over their health. Indeed, works by authors such as Dermot Bolger and Sara Baume offer narratives of hope, inclusivity, and transformation amid adversity.

Topics of interest for this panel include, but are not limited to the following:
  • Representations of illness and wellness in Irish literary works.
  • The role of illness narratives in shaping Irish cultural identity.
  • Explorations of mental health and psychological well-being in Irish literature.
  • Historical perspectives on disease outbreaks and their impact on Irish society.
  • Gendered experiences of health and illness in Irish writing.
  • Disability studies and the portrayal of disability in Irish literary texts.
  • Environmental health and ecological concerns in contemporary Irish literature.
  • Comparative analyses of Irish literature with other literary traditions on themes of health and identity.
  • The politics of health and healthcare access in Irish literary discourse.
  • The intersection of race, ethnicity, and health in Irish literature.
Submissions should include a title, an abstract (250-300 words) along with a brief biography that includes your full name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), and contact details. Please email your submission to Dr. Desmond Harding ([email protected]) by April 22, 2024.

In his 1921 poem “America,” Claude McKay described American racism and capitalism as “[s]tealing my breath of life.” He invokes the threat to his health by forces of exploitation and oppression as a metaphoric and real fact of life. His personal pronouns name a Pan-African collectivity, and his poem’s conclusion predicts a necessary revolutionary struggle against those forces as the means to reverse the unhealthy order.

A historicist methodology that locates McKay the author and the social objects that anchor his words is required to elicit an expansive reading of that poem (Maxwell). The poem’s internal contradictions of love and hate, the inside and outsideness of the speaker, enervating and invigorating forces, a rebel confronting a king, along with the sonnet’s dialectical form, put into historical motion the “sinking” of monuments to power. The poem’s ideology critique denies “America” a claim to the commonly held and deployed ideologeme that fuses purported foundational idealism of equality and democracy to a future (never reached) perfectibility. Instead, it predicts a necessary destruction. Without such techniques of literary criticism, the work of the critic might reduce the poem to a partial, even opposite version of itself that subjugates “America” and McKay to the violence of submission his rebellious speaker resisted. Indeed, the preservation of the health and life of the speaker depends on the persistence of this rebellious and, from the perspective of the white supremacist ruling class, destructive cause. The prospect of life itself and a healthy being depends decisively on collective struggle and ultimate radical social change. (Of course, these comments are meant to be provocative rather than definitive.)

This call for papers emphasizes literary criticism’s methodologies and theoretical frameworks. The goal is to solicit papers whose topics are related to the “Health” theme of this year’s conference, and which stress the methodological process used in the critical analysis work. Papers may explore techniques listed above, or demonstrate others such as mediation (Foley), network theory (Moretti), cognitive mapping and political unconscious (Jameson), vernacular (Baker or San Juan), ruptures and crises (Hong), psychoanalytical categories (Spillers), minority formalism (Lee), subjection or subjectivity (Ahmed or Hartman), globalectics (Ngugi), national allegory (San Juan or Ahmad), dialectics of situation and transformation (Mulhern), fugitive sociality (Moten), or other methods and theories not named here.

Please submit abstracts for this permanent section to [email protected] by April 15, 2024. General topics sought are drawn from the 2024 MMLA conference CFP, which encourages 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

Labor, Leisure, and Idleness in Luso-Brazilian Cultures:

“Ai, que preguiça!” Macunaíma’s catchphrase has become such a commonplace that bringing it up once again may inspire a feeling of exhaustion. Yet its continuing prevalence in Brazilian culture suggests that it expresses something important. Is it a slogan, a manifesto, a cipher, a critique? What does it say about Luso-Brazilian imaginaries of work and idleness? What cultural and intellectual histories can this short phrase help unveil? These questions inspire our call for contributions on the figurations of labor, idleness, leisure, and exhaustion in Luso-Brazilian cultures. Macunaíma’s phrase is just one resonant example in a rich archive of representations of work and its opposites across different media, historical periods, and discursive contexts, the exploration of which still has much to offer. We welcome presentations on topics that include, but are not limited to: Slavery, labor, and resistance to labor; Forms of labor: rural, urban, intellectual, domestic, emotional, etc.; Figurations of leisure and idleness; Labor and rest in the medical humanities; Unwillingness or incapacity to work in disability studies and mad studies; Labor in economic, social, and cultural histories; Racialized and gendered forms of labor; Cultural archetypes of labor and idleness in their racialized and gendered representations (candango, empregada doméstica, caminhoneiro, sem-terra, boia-fria, malandro etc.).

Please send your abstracts by April 15, 2024 to Isabela Fraga ([email protected]) and Thomaz Amancio ([email protected]).

Exploring Physical and Mental Health Topics in the Works of Margaret Atwood:

This panel aims to explore the often nuanced portrayals of mental and physical health in the works of Margaret Atwood. Papers discussing works of any genre and era of Atwood’s career are welcome, as are discussions of adaptations. Topics may include representations, stigmas, and societal attitudes of mental health; medicalization and technological & scientific advances, including their ethical implications and consequences; identity & body image; and trauma & resilience. Other related topics will be considered.

Submit a 250-word abstract to organizer Denise Du Vernay, [email protected] by Wednesday, March 13.

Dome-Poetics from Buckminster Fuller, 1954, to Fulldome Projections, 2024 Seventy years ago, Buckminster Fuller received a patent for the Geodesic Dome design, and working with Shoji Sadao, they designed the U.S. Pavilion at Expo 67 in Montreal and the dome shape became a poetic object, and they also designed the dome for Southern Illinois University's Center for Spirituality & Sustainability as a poetic analogy for a "transparent replica of planet Earth." Recently, planetarium and other fulldome systems allow for video formats (like mp4 or .mov) projections outside of pre-set astronomy projections (that showed star constellations and other astronomical projections). This small change has once again opened dome projections to non-astronomy productions in the arts, literature, and visual poetry and music. This new opening up of projections also looks back to the idea of poetry and poetics of dome projections using versions of Buckminster Fuller’s domes especially including Stan VanDerBeek's "moviedrome" in which he projected multiple 16mm films on the inside of a series of geodesic domes he constructed. This panel welcomes papers on any aspect of fulldome poetics, histories, or studies from Southern Illinois University's domes to Montreal's SATisphere (a fulldome arts and culture projection venue). We hope that papers submitted to this panel can be included with other contributions in an eventual publication.

Please submit paper proposals by, or before, April 22nd. Please ask any questions to Craig Saper, [email protected]
The Native American Literature Permanent Section of the Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) seeks proposals for papers addressing the conference theme of “Health in/of the Humanities,” with a focus on representations of health in Native American literature. Abstracts addressing any aspect of the conference theme in text(s) of Native American literature will be considered. In particular, papers may explore literary treatments of individual physical or mental health or of social, cultural, or environmental health 
Please send an abstract of 200-300 words by April 15, 2024 to Kate Beutel, at [email protected]. 

This year’s theme of "Health in/of the Humanities" has broad possibilities within the languages, literatures, histories, and cultures related to Old and Middle English. This panel welcomes papers that address the presence, importance, and/or relevance of health, medicine, and/or science in Old and Middle English works of any kind, as well as explorations, arguments, or discussions of the relevance or importance or perceptions of these texts and ideas in both the medieval and the modern world.

Possibilities include but should not be limited to humor and the humors, science and fiction, alchemy and natural magics, spiritual health and sickness, medical values or characters or metaphors or practices, mental health, bodies spiritual or physical or literary, nutrition and consumption of food and drink, or the health of the field (or any relevant subfield) and introducing new generations of students and scholars to the medieval and medievalism.

Please send abstracts of approximately 350 words, along with a cv or brief biographical statement, to Dr. Kathleen Burt at [email protected] by no later than April 15, 2024.
The Midwest Modern Language Association welcomes, especially but not exclusively, proposals dealing with any aspect of the theme "Health in/of the Humanities" for the 2024 conference. Our permanent panel--Peace, Literature, and Pedagogy--will explore this theme at the intersection of peace studies, the cultural value of literature and related media, and methods and outcomes of reading/interpreting those media in the classroom. The list of topics provided by MMLA is a good starting point for us as well, for the interplay of peace studies, literature, and pedagogy opens many lines of inquiry. Here are some others to consider:
  • classroom and community in higher education
  • the impact of community on interpretive practice
  • the role of the writer/teacher/student in a collective space
  • active citizenship as a product or motivation of teaching and learning
  • satire as an instrument of resistance/change/revolution
  • protest literature and the literature of protest
  • liberal arts education in contemporary society
  • art, social advocacy, and cultural institutions
  • the literature of collective witness
  • environmental literature and criticism
  • gender and LGBTQ studies
  • identity and cultural power
  • feminism and womanism
  • shifting literacies and modes of production
  • pop culture in the college classroom
  • rhetoric and cultural participation
We encourage submission on these topics or others that promote discussion of (a) peaceful conflict resolution, (b) literature (media) about peace or its absence, and (c) pedagogical issues that influence or emerge from peace studies. We are especially interested in proposals that explore the intersection of all three. Please submit a Word document, electronically via email attachment, containing an abstract (250–400 words), your name, institution, email, and paper title, a short-bio, and A/V requests to Dr. Alex Johns ([email protected]) by April 15, 2024.

The Postcolonial Studies Permanent Section of the Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) seeks abstracts in line with this year’s conference’s theme: “Health in/of the Humanities.” We seek scholarly work within the realm of postcolonial studies that intersects with the topics of physical health, mental health, disparities in access and care, communal health, and racial disparities.

The following questions are areas of interest for the section:

  • How does the power imbalance between the Global North and Global South affect one’s access to and quality of one’s healthcare?
  • How do these factors impact one’s health outcomes?
  • How does race disrupt the availability and/or quality of care?
  • What can be done to effect change in the face of inequality?
  • What are the bigger issues that gird current paradigms of subalternity?

Other possible topics might include:

  • 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
  • Representations of Public, Private, and Global Health
  • Environmental Health
  • Mental/psychological health
  • Psychoanalytic approaches to health
  • Approaches to health in the Digital Humanities
  • Privacy and confidentiality
  • Medical technologies
  • Health professions/institutions/workplaces
Please do not feel limited by the above questions and topics. The section welcomes interdisciplinary approaches that intersect the conference’s theme and postcolonial studies. For consideration, please send a 200–300 word abstract to Jose Intriago Suarez at [email protected] no later than April 22nd. div>
This section invites papers that examine the production, teaching, study, and performance of literature in historical and contemporary carceral institutions. In the past we have hosted panels on a wide range of topics, such as:
  • Writing centers in prison
  • Second-language instruction in prison
  • Teaching poetry in prison
  • Publication of prison writings
  • Theater in prison
  • Critical studies of historic and contemporary prison writings
These are merely suggestions and not intended as limits. We also welcome studies of fictional accounts of imprisonment and encourage proposals that engage the convention theme. Please send abstracts and questions to William Andrews at [email protected] by May 1, 2024.

The Race, Gender, and Subalternity Permanent Section of the Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) invites abstracts for this year’s MMLA convention in Chicago, IL. The 2024 convention’s theme is “Health in/of the Humanities,” so this Permanent Section encourages scholarly work that connects the topics of Race, Gender, and Subalternity to issues of health, whether that be human health, the health of the humanities, or both health issues in combination.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
  • Exploring the Intersection of Race and Health: Historical Perspectives and Contemporary Challenges.
  • Gendered Narratives of Health: Unveiling the Cultural and Social Dimensions.
  • Subaltern Health: Voice from the Margins.
  • Decolonizing Health Practices: Reclaiming Indigenous and Traditional Knowledge
  • Health Disparities Among Racial and Gender Minorities: Addressing Structural Inequities.
  • Queering Health Narratives: Intersections of Gender, Sexuality and Well-being.
  • Medicalization of Race and Gender: Examining Power Dynamics in Health Care.
  • Body Politics: Embodiment, Identity, and Health in Diverse Communities.
  • Racialized Medicine: Impacts of Biomedical Research and Practices.
  • Resilience and Resistance: Subaltern Voices in Health Advocacy and Activism.
  • The Healing Power of Art: Exploring Therapeutic Interventions in the Humanities.
  • Narratives of Illness and Identity: Examining the Role of Storytelling in Health.
  • Ethical Dilemmas in Representing Health: Challenges and Responsibilities in the Humanities.
  • Environmental Dilemmas in Representing Health: Challenges and Responsibilities in the Humanities.
  • Medical Humanities in Medical Education: Integrating Humanistic Approaches in Healthcare Training.
  • Environmental Humanities and Public Health: Intersection and Implications.
  • Psychosocial Perspectives on Health: Insights from Literature, Film, and Media.
  • Cultural Competence in Healthcare: Leveraging the Humanities for Effective Practice.
  • Historical Perspective on Health and Healing: Lessons from the Past for Contemporary Challenges.
  • Technology, Ethics, and Health: Exploring the Impact of Digital Humanities on Healthcare.
  • The Body Text: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Understanding Health and Embodiment. 
Please send abstracts of 250-300 words by April 22, 2024 to Tamara Hill at [email protected].

The Religion and Literature permanent section invites proposals for the 2024 Midwest Modern Language Association convention in Chicago. Those aspiring to be on the panel should feel empowered to offer proposals that interpret the concept of religion rather loosely by potentially including the humanities and health as faith driven institutions. Maintaining a broad interpretation of religion to include all intersections of faith, folklore, belief, and literature; expressions of belief may include creeds, mottos, mission statements, charters, manifestos, doctrines, etc.  We are accepting all proposals that explore the intersection of religion and literature. Papers that engage with the convention’s theme of “Health in/of the Humanities” are particularly welcome.

Please submit abstracts with title of no more than 250 words and a 50-word bio to Dr. Seth Johnson at [email protected], no later than April 15, 2024.
Chaired by Nesrine Affara (Carnegie Mellon University Qatar- Biology) and Jeffrey Squires (Carnegie Mellon University Qatar- English)

CFP deadline: 15 April 2024

In regards to this years Midwest Modern Language Association conference theme, Health in/of the Humanities, we invite papers that consider how health materializes in various facets of academia. We’re particularly interested in the discursive modes by which health is defined, represented, and mobilized in and between disciplines. Science and Fiction panel welcomes papers that interrogate disciplines, exploring how representations change or impact the general notions of health and health outcomes. Consider the following as generative questions: How do physicists understand the health of the body? How might the ‘disabled’ or ‘infected’ bodies materialize in scientific narratives? How does narrative materialize without our notions of health protocol, social justice, or therapy practices? What role do posthuman notions of health play in speculative fiction? How does the posthuman emphasis on enhancement materialize in/on the body? All topics are welcome; however, we prefer interdisciplinary projects that seek to nuance the disciplinary ways that we approach health. Themes might include (but are not limited to) the following:
  • Cross-disciplinary notions of health in science and humanities
  • Women’s health as site of conflict
  • Augmentative technology’s impact on the body/body’s health
  • Augmentation within/outside particular cultures or communities of practice
  • Completing ethnic or cultural augmentative/health/medical practices
  • Speculative changes to health and its relationship to current/future technology
  • Drug use as augmentation or enhancement of health (or the inverse, effecting degradation)
  • Speculative/virtual witnessing of health in science and/or science fiction.
  • "Health” in/outside the life sciences Deviations between “life” and “health” in discourse
Deadlines: Please submit your abstract (250 words) and bio (50 words) to this Submission Form no later than 15 April 2015. Deadline may not be extended. Please feel free to email [email protected] for inquires and suggestions.

Shakespeare: Disease, health, and the human: In keeping with the conference theme “Health in/of the Humanities” the permanent session of the Shakespeare and Shakespearean Criticism panel is soliciting presentations that address illness and health in the work, criticism, or teaching of Shakespeare. The panel welcomes papers that approach illness and health expansively, including mental health, the body politic, and the place of Shakespeare (without presupposing there is one) in the health of the humanities.

Please submit an abstract of no more than 250 words and brief bio or c.v. to Jeanette Goddard at [email protected] by April 15th.

The Relationship of Visibility, Silences, Power, and Sickness in Midwestern Literary Texts In Winesburg, Ohio Sherwood Anderson explores a town filled with invisibility and silences which harm and traumatize its inhabitants. What other Midwestern literary texts brilliantly explore the relationship of visibility, silences, power, and sickness? Through their content and/or form, what do they add to the conversation about Midwestern literature?

Please send your 1-page abstract and CV to Marilyn Atlas [email protected] by April 15, 2024.

The Spanish Cultural Studies permanent section of the Midwest Modern Language Association seeks proposals for the upcoming MMLA conference in Chicago. Proposals related to any aspect of Spanish Cultural Studies are welcome, but we encourage submissions that explore the conference theme of "Health In/Of the Humanities."

Please submit a 250-word abstract and a brief bio to Dr. Kathy Korcheck at [email protected] by April 22nd, 2024. Presentations may be in Spanish or English.

The Spanish I (Peninsular Literature before 1700) permanent section of the Midwest Modern Language Association seeks proposals for the upcoming MMLA conference in Chicago (November 14-16, 2024). Proposals on any topic related to Medieval and Early Modern Spanish Literature are welcome. Also, we seek proposals that specifically engage with the MMLA conference theme of “Health in/of the Humanities.”

Please submit a 250-word abstract and a brief bio (or brief CV) to John Giblin at [email protected] by April 15th, 2024. Papers may be in Spanish or English.

This panel invites presentations of any topic related to Spanish Peninsular Literature After 1700. However, proposals that specifically explore and engage with the 2024 MMLA Conference theme “Health in/of the Humanities” will be given special consideration.

Topics could include, but are not limited to:
  • Feminisms and transfeminisms
  • Literature and the environment
  • Pop culture and visual arts
  • Queer identities
  • Cultural and literary studies
  • Environmental and cultural sustainability
  • Indigenous cultures
  • Disability studies
  • Postcolonial studies
  • Race, gender, and subalternity
  • Religious discourses
  • Nationalisms
  • Transatlantic studies
  • Travel writing and networks
  • Women studies
  • Interdisciplinary work and the humanities
  • Language communities
  • Cultures of diaspora
  • Minority cultures
  • Ecocritical approaches to literature and cultural studies
  • Transcultural identities
  • Memory studies
  • Trauma studies
  • Digital Humanities
Please send proposals of 250-300 words and a short bio by April 15, 2024, to Dr. Yenisei Montes de Oca at [email protected]. Participants are welcome to propose presentations either in English or Spanish.

This panel welcomes proposals analyzing literary or cultural manifestations of Latin America. Abstracts relating to the MMLA Conference theme "Health in/of the Humanities" will receive further consideration.

Please send abstracts of 250-300 words by April 15, 2024 to Chris Schulenburg at [email protected]. Submissions may be in Spanish or English.

Conjuring Decolonial Alternatives within the Context of French Studies: Subversive Navigations of Transnational Colonialisms

In the midst of contemporary global transformations, where power relations are being reshuffled and dynamic shifts are occurring, our understanding of transnational colonialisms is continuously evolving. Colonial rule, with its varied manifestations within distinct imperial contexts, has deeply influenced the intricate relationship between the postcolonial and the transnational. While colonial imaginings and practices have given rise to various forms of independence, often within the niche of postcolonialism, the persistent presence of transnational colonialism in our world has spurred calls for "decolonial" alternatives and practices to challenge power dynamics and scrutinize its numerous discontents.

It is no surprise, then, that "decolonial thinking" has been proposed as a means to offer novel and subversive substitutes to the Western manifestations of modernity imposed globally through colonialism. Scholars such as Anibal Quijano and Walter Mignolo have emphasized the necessity for a "decolonization of knowledge" and a disentanglement from the "colonial matrix of power", highlighting the importance of moving beyond simply removing the colonizer from the territory (Mignolo, The Darker Side of Western Modernity 2011, 54).

Inspired by Mignolo's insightful perspectives, this panel aims to engage scholars and researchers in an exploration of potential decolonized futures, challenging conventional knowledge-power relations and addressing the local, global, and glocal neo-colonial powers. Through a subversive dialogue on established theories of colonialism, our goal is to examine diverse perspectives, voices, and contexts prevalent in different parts of the world, with a particular focus on the experiences and agency of women within the realm of French studies.

We invite papers that interrogate, but are not limited to, the following themes:
  • Anti-colonial movements and theories, and practices of resistance.
  • Settler colonialism from a transnational perspective.
  • The dynamics of "data colonialism".
  • The social institution of patriarchy as a dark aspect of colonialism.
  • Gendered negotiations of power between the Global South and Global North.
  • Decolonizing gender studies within the context of French studies.
  • Strategies for subversion and decoloniality with a focus on women's agency.
  • Decolonizing pedagogy and teaching within French studies programs.
  • The university as a platform and engine of decolonization, particularly regarding women's experiences.
  • Globalization from a decolonial perspective.
  • Mobility within a decolonial context Ecological legacies of colonialism.
  • Nation-State Indigenous epistemologies
Abstracts of 200-250 words should be sent to Prof. Nevine El Nossery at [email protected] before April 15th, 2024 (please add a short bio note of 50 words).

Keeping in mind the theme of MMLA 2024, “Health in/of the Humanities,” the Women in Literature panels seek ways to explore the intersection of Medical Humanities and women in literature. Particularly, it aims to highlight the variety of representations and embodiedness of queer and women’s health, dis/abilities, illness, and motherhood in multiple sites and through various forms of media, including popular magazines, newspapers, television and film, fiction, advertisements, and medical records. In terms of temporal and geographic scope, the panel solicits contributions focusing on the late-nineteenth, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries, with no geographical restrictions.

Some of the questions that this panel seeks to respond to, but are not limited to, are:
  • How can an interdisciplinary approach help explore the ideas of agency in conjunction with power relations and social hierarchies?
  • How is the framework of care interlaced with power matrices?
  • How can a postcolonial, Marxist, feminist, and queer critique contribute to the reframing/contesting of dominant narratives of modern medicine?  
  • What is the politics of visualization, narrativization, and stigmatization of bodies of illness?
  • Who determines whose body is to be stigmatized and how?
  • What is the future of Medical Humanities and Graphic Medicine within Humanities?
Please send a 400-word abstract to Sayanti Mondal ([email protected]) by 20 April 2024.