MMLA 2014 Special Session: The City, the Country and the Classroom (11/13-16; due 6/15)

full name / name of organization: 
Midwest Modern Language Association

The Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA) will hold its 56th Annual Convention in Detroit, MI at the Double Tree Hotel by Hilton from November 13th-16th, 2014. The informal convention theme is "The Lives of Cites."

This panel seeks papers that explore "the lives of cities" in a pedagogical context. Panelists are invited to offer insights on teaching "the lives of cities" to students who have not grown up in urban settings. Rural students' beliefs about the city are typically shaped by pop culture stereotypes that simplify and flatten the realities of urban life. In the classroom, therefore, we face the challenge of revising and complicating these notions. What are the challenges of teaching urban literature in rural settings? What can instructors do to make urban concerns seem relevant to students from rural backgrounds?

Also welcome are papers that explore "the country" in urban and suburban classrooms. Much as the city can seem faraway to rural students, "the countryside" can feel distant at urban universities. Mythologies attached to the countryside often distort rural life; media images romanticize agriculture and rural towns, eliding the profound social and economic problems facing rural America. How, then, do we interest urban and suburban students in rural concerns? What texts, critical concepts, and approaches might bring "the countryside" home to the city?

Papers are welcome on teaching "the lives of cities" with any text, from any historical period—including both literary and pop culture artifacts.

Please submit 300-word abstracts including a paper title to Dr. Bonnie Erwin,, by June 15th.