MMLA 2018 Irish Studies

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

2018 Midwest Modern Language Association Conference

“Consuming Cultures”

November 15-18

Kansas City, MO

Permanent Section Call for Papers: Irish Studies


This year’s MMLA conference is dedicated to issues of cultural engagement and/versus cultural appropriation broadly organized around a number of provocative 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?

This Permanent Section devoted to Irish Studies seeks presentations that examine the interrelations between consumption and culture inclusive of their affective dimensions (e.g. desires, appetites). As the universe of jostling allusions, literary references, and everyday objects that constitute James Joyce’s representative fictions reveal, the iconoclastic Irish writer’s work is as much a part of mass or consumer culture as are his readers. Put another way, Joyce’s avant-garde art privileges modernist parataxis in all its forms even as it consumes with relish the broad reaches of high art/mass culture. In the “Proteus” episode of Ulysses, Stephen Dedalus declares, “Signatures of all things I am here to read,” but for generations of readers digesting this disaffected Dubliner’s associative mode of thinking is no easy challenge. A perhaps, sweeter more honeycombed account of everyday life comes from Bloom, who remarks in “Aeolus,” prompted by the sound of the Freeman’s Journal printing presses, “everything speaks in its own way.” With Joyce’s account of consumer culture in mind, Jennifer Wicke notes, “while no one would deny the complexity of Joyce’s literary universe, it is also true that in a sense we know how to speak its language, or at least one of its major tongues—the mass cultural language of consumer subjects—because we have been speaking it all our lives. Joyce’s textual world is not hermetic, elitist, arcane, or removed from everyday life: it draws from it and transforms it, without ever abandoning it.”

This panels welcomes proposals from emerging and established academic scholars working in the humanities or cultural media, educators, artists, and activists that consider cultural consumption and the various ways people consume cultures in Irish society. Topics may include, but are by no means limited to:


  • Mass, commodity culture and Irish literature
  • Fashion, consumption, and culture
  • Mass media and the formation of modern Irish culture
  • Modernism/Postmodernism and consumer subjects
  • Globalization and consumer culture in fiction, drama, and poetry
  • Space/places of mass culture and commodity exchange
  • Gender, mass culture, and modernity
  • The artist and/in society
  • Folk culture, working-class culture, and mass society
  • Cultural appropriation and consumption in multi-ethnic contexts
  • Sexuality, identity, and lifestyle choices
  • The Irish language in/and Irish culture
  • Performance and performativity in Irish literature and culture
  • Staging “Irishness” in literature, drama, film, art, music, photography, television, etc.
  • Subaltern concerns, moral subjectivities, and colonial authority
  • Consumption and culture in relation to the traumas and discontinuities of colonization
  • Culinary practices and gastronomy in Irish literature and culture.

 Please submit a brief abstract (100-200 words) and presentation title along with your full name, institutional affiliation (if applicable), and contact details to session chair Dr. Desmond Harding ( by April 5, 2018.