Fall 2018 issue JMMLA: "Art and Activism"

deadline for submissions: 
May 15, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association
contact email: 

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

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

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

Topics may include, but are by no means limited to

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

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

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