CFP: MLA Roundtable - "Bildung Across Languages"

deadline for submissions: 
March 17, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
Melissa Gelinas and Jocelyn Frelier
contact email: 

Call for Proposals: “Bildung Across Languages”


MLA Convention 2018


New York City

January 4-7 2018


The evolution of the Bildungsroman, or novel of formation, is a fascinating one. The Bildungsroman emerged as a literary genre contemporaneously with the advent of European modernity. As such, the genre has reflected the historical conjuncture that gave rise to the centripetal and exclusionary construction of the nation-state, buttressed by a unitary vision of the subject and her language, among other markers of identity. At the genre’s origins, thus, is a monolingual, unitary, and nationalistic vision of language; one that has traditionally informed and carried representations of Bildung.


This roundtable session asks: How do contemporary narratives of Bildung deploy and/or register linguistic diversity? How does that affect the construction and the interrogation of subjectivity that have been core components of the genre? How do multilingualism and language politics destabilise/shape the genre conventions of contemporary coming-of-age stories? What tensions and opportunities emerge when teaching these texts in the language classroom and beyond? We invite abstracts for 5-7 minute presentations addressing pedagogical, theoretical, and/or multimedia perspectives on these questions.


Interested participants will have until March 17, 2017 to submit their 250-word proposals via email to Jocelyn Frelier ( and Mélissa Gélinas ( Acceptance decisions will be communicated by March 24, 2017. As per MLA guidelines, accepted participants must be MLA members by April 1, 2017. General information on the format of roundtable sessions can be found here.