Pre-Organized Panel Calls for Papers

A Pre-Organized Panel is a three-paper presentation coordinated by an organizer based on a unifying subject, which may or may not be related to the convention theme. While not required, should the organizer be so inclined, a Pre-Organized Panel with three papers may include a respondent. The organizer also has the option to include a paper of his/her own on the panel.

Individual proposals to a Pre-Organized Panel 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 organizers must submit a Pre-Organized-Panel proposal to the MMLA by May 01. The following materials are required for consideration:

  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)

This panel wishes to explore the broad notion of the philosophy of narrative in film with narrative aspects of literature. There is great value in paying close attention to the form, content, and thematic aspects of individual films and filmmakers (in front of and behind the camera), coupling certain films styles with their literary counterparts as a way of exploring investigating philosophical ideas.

This panel seeks contributions from a variety of scholarly fields to foster interdisciplinary discussions and exchange of ideas among participants. A variety of approaches will be considered. Papers that deal with tangling / disentangling narrative confusions, reflective critical inquiry on juxtaposed features of narrative, explorations of the philosophy of narrative are welcome. Also welcome are non-systematic philosophical engagements with individual or a particular work, subjects, objects, ideas, events and/or situations in the narrative history of film as related to literature.

To propose a paper, please email the following materials to Michael Modarelli ([email protected]) by April 15:

  • Presenter Name, Email Address, and Affiliation
  • Paper Title (15-word maximum)
  • Abstract (approximately 250 words)
  • A Curriculum Vitae (CV)

Narratives of nursing during times of war are a reminder that, as Simone de Beauvoir wrote, “the body is not a thing, it is a situation.” Narratives construct these situations through seeing or denying the seeing of them. As Carol Acton and Jane Potter both note, “seeing… [is] an important metaphor for revealing what is hidden, especially what cannot be entirely comprehended or described, and articulating it to the writing self as well as bringing it to the attention of a public audience.” The narrative problems of nursing are those of seeing the situation of bodies and registering that situation at the level of language.

This panel thus seeks papers that examine the intersection between narrative work and care work, to deepen the understanding of the situation of nursing in wartime as narrative situations in affective terms. Papers that are oriented toward trauma theory as the incitement or foreclosure of narrative, or papers that are oriented toward affect theory, as the study of narrative’s conjunctural situation, are appreciated.

Paper topics may include:
  • The nurse as the preserver of façades (the hospital as sanctuary, etc.);
  • The nurse’s role as a conduit in medical power;
  • The nurse as an attender to injury, especially in a setting in which injury is a criterion for return to the battlefield and the possibility of further, mortal injury;
  • The nurse as carer and the affective complexity of caring in times of war;
  • The nurse’s attention to the situation of bodies and the nurse’s own body as a situation;
  • The nurse as narrator: as seer, denier, framer, focalizer, teller of stories.

250-word abstracts and CV are due Joshua Gooch ([email protected]) and Douglas Dowland ([email protected]) by April 15.

This panel will explore cinematic narratives of collective traumatic events such as wars, natural disasters, the Holocaust or other genocides, life in repressive dictatorships, and pandemics, which may be portrayed directly through shocking images, or indirectly through allusions to such events, symbolic objects, or discreet flashbacks. The traumatic event or situation may also serve as a haunting memory in the present or a framing event to a contemporary story. Some films such as Michael Haneke's film Cache intertwine a personal traumatic relationship with a collective one, the killing of Algerians in the 1961 Seine River Massacre in Paris and, by association, the French/Algerian War and colonialism. A variety of approaches and interpretations will be considered.

To propose a paper, please email the following materials to Margarete Landwehr ([email protected]) by April 22:

  • Presenter Name, Email address and Affiliation
  • Paper Title (15 word maximum)
  • Abstract (approximately 250 words)
  • A Curriculum Vitae (CV)

This panel invites paper proposals that consider how Iberian and Latin American cultural production has engaged with the overlap of ecological crisis and the biopolitics of birth, parenthood, and reproduction. The relation of parent to child, as with the human being to the world, are similar to the extent that both are, in the philosopher Roberto Esposito’s thought, unities of shared difference that become exposed to political, social, and scientific impositions. This panel will attempt to capture the wide range of literature, film, and other visual media in the Iberian and Latin American contexts that think through topics such as reproductive health, inheritance, paternity/maternity, and the science of genetics in relation to techno-ecology and the human being’s orientation toward other-than-human life and the Earth. Proposals that explicitly engage with the conference theme, “Health in/of the Humanities”, are appreciated.

Please submit proposals to [email protected] by April 15th.

In a period shaped by quarantines, experiences like study abroad programs provide students with effective tools to break through isolationism and to be prepared for an increasingly global job market. We know this. However, administrations continue to require a multitude of demonstrations which justify any added financial expenses. In our post-pandemic society, study abroad programs focusing on language and culture must adapt for a large number of difficulties when it comes to traveling abroad with a group of students: length of abroad, language courses offered and content methodology, exciting locations, rising cost of flights and other expenses, among others. Study Abroad programs for languages and cultures are facing more criticism from administrations with the added pressure of justifying expenses and experiences.

How do our programs propose to confront this surplus of challenges? What are some effective strategies to better enable students to take advantage of this type of study abroad program? Looking at the topic of Health in the Humanities more largely, this session focuses both on factors threatening study abroad programs with a focus on language and culture as well as potential creative solutions. What needs to change and what should be preserved in order to maintain the health of our language programs and departments?

Please submit by April 15, 2024, abstracts (approximately 250 words), a brief bio, and any A/V requests to Noëlle Brown, [email protected]

Michel Foucault defined the dispositif as “a thoroughly heterogenous ensemble consisting of discourses, institutions, architectural forms, regulatory decisions, laws, administrative measures, scientific statements, philosophical, moral and philanthropic propositions–in short, the said as much as the unsaid.”1 Foucault specified further that the dispositif was a strategic response to a specific problem or crisis such as the large number of vagrants, the mentally ill, and prostitutes rounded up as part of the “great confinement” during the seventeenth century, another example being the combination of spatial, medical, and legal measures enacted to control an outbreak of plague in early modern England.

This panel will study ways in which the delivery of medicine—its therapeutic effectiveness and subject-forming effects—are the result of particular medical dispositives: heterogenous and provisional combinations of scientific knowledge, material practices, performances of visibility, and spatial configurations.

To propose a paper, please email the following materials to Matthew Senior ([email protected]) by April 15:

  • Presenter Name, Email address and Affiliation
  • Paper Title (15-word maximum)
  • Abstract (approximately 250 words)
  • A Curriculum Vitae (CV)
How might literary narratives of gendered and sexualized violence help us to theorize or analyze public or private health, individual or social health, literary or artistic health? Violence perpetrated against women, girls, queer, and trans people is fundamental to both plot and theme of many literary narrative, and the revelation of that violence can be central to the work’s development—as a mystery for the reader or characters to uncover or a secret around which silence must be broken for individuals or their broader communities to start working toward healing. This panel invited proposals that explore the impacts of this breaking of silence and the articulation of narratives of violence, within the fictional world and beyond. How do literary depictions of gendered violence defamiliarize or normalize it? Resist or commodify it? What paths toward healing does the breaking of silence offer? To propose a paper for the panel, please email the following to Kristin Pitt([email protected]) by April 15:
  • Presenter’s Name
  • Email, and Affiliation
  • Paper Title
  • 250-word abstract
  • Brief Bio

In the preface to the second edition of Elsie Venner: A Romance of Destiny, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr. refers to his work as a “medicated” novel. He also claims to have written his “medicated” work to provide a meditation on the doctrine of “original sin,” wondering whether the eponymous character is morally responsible for her amoral nature. With a background in the medical field, however, Holmes approaches the concept of morality and amorality from a purely physical point of view, forcing his readers to confront both the fact of the impressionable nature of the human body as well as the potential long-term effects on human psychology of disability induced by bodily trauma.

As Dawn Keetley and Matthew Wynn Sivils quite rightly observe in their introduction to 2018’s Ecogothic in Nineteenth Century American Literature, “Holmes depicts his heroine as entrapped and cursed within a natural environment that is much wider than the castle or the ruined abbey: it is an environment of mountains, rocks, and snakes—of predator and prey, reproduction and extermination, and the inevitably interwoven fate of humans and nonhumans.” Elsie’s literal entrapment in the natural world and in her poisoned body reminds readers that they too are entrapped in a vulnerable physical body that must be protected by the science of medicine.

This panel seeks presentations that analyze how mid-nineteenth-century American authors grappled with the medically vulnerable human body in their texts. Special consideration will be given to those who work with Holmes or other authors he interacted with, such as Martin Delany, but any presentation on a work published between 1840 and 1900 in the United States is welcome. Paper topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • The representation of medicine and/or poison
  • Medical practice and malpractice, hoaxes, and folk medicine/herbalist practice
  • Pregnancy, pre-natal, and post-natal care, as well as abortion and contraceptive practices
  • The Ecogothic • The boundary between human and nonhuman
  • Scientific racism or other medical approaches to race
  • Discourse on sexuality and sexual attraction as naturally occurring phenomena
  • The “medicated” novels of Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • Depictions of disability and historical discourses on disability

For consideration for this panel, please submit an abstract (250-350 words) to Joe Hansen ([email protected]) via an email with the subject “MMLA Abstract” by April 15, 2024. Current membership in the Midwest Modern Language Association is not required to submit, but all presenters must be members by the time of the convention. The Midwest Modern Language Association Convention, “Health in/of the Humanities,” takes place November 14-16, 2024, in Chicago, IL at Hilton Chicago. The convention is 100% in-person. Please see for more information.