MMLA 2018 Conference - Consuming Cultures

deadline for submissions: 
April 5, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Midwest Modern Language Association
contact email: 

Call For Papers

2018 MMLA Conference - "Consuming Cultures"

November 15-18, 2018

Kansas City, MO


Our current moment is rife with tensions surrounding ideas of culture. The consumption of culture, in particular, both excites and threatens us, as the meanings associated with that consumption have become increasingly multivalent and complex. For instance, Kyla Wazana Tompkins discusses racism in nineteenth century U.S. literature in terms of food cultures. Looking at the disturbing correlations of "food and flesh," she notes, "the evolution of eating cultures across this period opens up new areas of inquiry into the alignment between bodies and bodies politic" (7-8). In this year’s conference, we wish to focus very closely on the two themes of consumption and culture. We are interested in issues of cultural engagement and/versus cultural appropriation. To that end we seek to analyze this topic by asking a number of questions: What is meant by culture, by consumption? How does one consume multiple cultures? What is it to have a culture of consumption? How do issues of class play out in who consumes and what is consumed? How can we consume sustainably? What is the future of consumption?


Topics could include, but are by no means limited to:

Studies in food, agriculture, animals, and plants; intersections between postcolonialism, imperialism, and capitalism; the co-opting of culture as a consumable good; ecocritical readings of consumption; transcultural identities; activism; varying methods of consumption: digital, etc; disability studies in culture; issues of feminism and womanism; cultures of non-consumption: asceticism; consumption vs. production.


We welcome papers and panels that explore these ideas beyond our contemporary moment, using the long lens of literary history to consider these ideas.



Proposals from faculty and graduate students may be for:

1) Special Sessions related to the conference theme:

Special Sessions do not require a full slate of papers, but instead, if accepted, assume that the session organizer (who may also give a paper) will serve as panel chair. Accepted Special Session Calls for Papers are posted on the MMLA website and will require that the organizer receive proposals directly and vet them to build the full panel.

Special Session Calls for Papers should include the following information: organizer name, contact information, session title, and a Call for Papers indicating the organizer's preferred proposal length and deadline of April 15th for proposal submissions.

Special Session Calls for Papers are due February 20th via e-mail to Individual proposals to Special Sessions are then due to their organizers April 15th.


2) Permanent Sections of the MMLA that organize panels annually:

Permanent Sections are typically tied to some version of the conference theme. Proposals to Permanent Sections are due to their organizers April 5th


3) Complete Panels or Individual Papers that do not tie into the conference theme.

Submissions should include the following information: presenter name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, paper title, a 250-word abstract, and a CV.

Proposals for Complete Panels should be submitted together as a unit.

Individual Papers that are accepted will be grouped into sessions; as a result, 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, Francophone Literatures, Hispanophone Literatures, Genre Studies, German Literature, Interdisciplinary Approaches, Italian Literatures, Teaching, Medieval, Renaissance/Early Modern, Eighteenth Century, Nineteenth Century, Twentieth Century, Contemporary Literature, Colonial, Postcolonial, Travel, the Midwest.

Individual Paper and Complete Panel proposals are due April 30th via e-mail to

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Proposals from undergraduate students will be considered for the Undergraduate Symposium by the program committee.  

Undergraduate submissions should include the following information: presenter name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, paper title, the Faculty mentor's name, and a 250-word abstract.

Proposals for the Undergraduate Symposium are due April 30th via e-mail to


While the MMLA welcomes papers across languages and literatures, proposals must be in English unless submitted to a Permanent Session that stipulates proposals are welcome in languages other than English.

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Each Fall issue of the Journal of the Midwest Modern Language Association will be devoted to papers that build upon the conference theme from the previous year; the Fall 2019 issue will thus extend “Consuming Cultures.” Fall issue submissions are due by the preceding April 15.