Call for Papers: "Cultures of Collectivity," Short Story Permanent Section of the MMLA

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Midwest Modern Language Association
contact email: 

The Short Story permanent section of the Midwest Modern Language Association seeks paper presentations related to the 2020 conference theme, “Cultures of Collectivity.” 

Despite the publishing industry’s deep commercial investment in the novel, the short story remains ubiquitous and influential in academia, publishing, public reading series and book clubs, and online communities of writers and readers. The form is widely anthologized to provide readers—both inside and outside academe—with access to a diverse range of writers and storytelling conventions. In classrooms, the short story enables instructors to easily contest notions of canonicity and narrow presumptions about narrative fiction. In workshops, the short story (like the poem) functions simultaneously as a pedagogical tool and as a means of fostering a community of writers. 

In conversation with the 2020 MMLA conference theme, we particularly seek papers that engage with the short story and its capacity to build communities. We are interested in papers that explore this concept in terms of the literary form, its history, and its intersections with historic (and contemporary) literary, cultural, and political movements. Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Literary movements and the history of the short story form
  • Reappraisals of short story writers, read in the contexts of particular literary, political, or cultural movements
  • Contemporary experiments in form, including but not limited to micro-fiction, flash fiction, and hybrid-form fiction
  • The short story collection versus the novel-in-stories
  • The short story as community-building tool in creative writing workshops
  • The short story and representation in the classroom
  • The short story, literary magazines, and writing communities

The 2020 MMLA conference will take place in Milwaukee, WI, from November 5-8, 2020.

Please send abstracts of no more than 300 words to Patrick Henry at by May 31, 2020. Please include your name, professional affiliation, e-mail address, and paper title.