Religion and Literature Permanent Section (MMLA 2018)

deadline for submissions: 
April 6, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Midwest Modern Language Association
contact email: 

In keeping with the MMLA conference theme, “Consuming Cultures,” the Religion and Literature permanent section welcomes proposals that address works and writers who explore the ways in which religion and consumerism and consumption intersect. This topic could be considered in a multitude of ways. Religious practice often involves food—both in preparation and consumption—as the center of observance and practice. On the other hand, consumerism, specifically the purchase and/or display of products, is also present in many expressions of 20th and 21st Century religiosity. This is perhaps best depicted in the “megachurch,” but also in the ever-broadening “religious” sub-genres of fiction and film. This panel seeks papers that broadly examine how literature seeks to illuminate and explore the junction of consumption and religion, and proposals may consider the concept of “consumption” in either—or both—of the above described ways. Proposals might consider (but not limited to): How and why do writers depict the ceremonial or observational meal? How does the tradition of the ceremonial, observational or festive meal extend beyond the religious to the secular? How does late-capitalist consumerism reverberate in religious expression? In what ways does (either food or product) consumption drive religious devotion? How does consumption affect or dictate religious or secular identity? Papers may look at the ways in which writers have examined these issues of consumption as religious practice, or look at the products of a consumer-driven religious culture.


Please send 250-word abstracts with paper title to Dr. Seth Johnson at, by April 6th, 2018.