Revised Call for Papers for MELUS 2021

deadline for submissions: 
December 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
MELUS: The Society for the Study of Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States
contact email: 

MELUS 2021 Virtual Conference

April 8-10, 2021

Abstracts due December 15, 2020 to

In 2020, the United States has faced numerous challenges that have wrought chaos and uncertainty. Out of the chaos has arisen a concept of borderlessness, which although paralyzing at times, has also enabled us a new vantage point from which to interrogate and critique the former status quo and imagine new possibilities as we adapt to novel modes of teaching, research, and social engagement.  Similarly, the MELUS 2021 conference must also pivot to a virtual platform. Thus, for our 2021 conference, we invite proposals that explore the way in which ethnic American writers have confronted chaos and uncertainty both past and present. Suggested paper topics may include:

  • Responses to legislative acts and executive orders including the Indian Removal Act, Executive Order 9066: Japanese Internment, Executive Order 13950: Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping
  • Teaching BIPOC literature in the era of Black Lives Matter
  • Borderlessness, borderlands, and border crossing
  • Apocalyptic and postapocalyptic fiction
  • Disease and illness
  • The juxtaposition and blurring of boundaries between past and present
  • Imagined futures


Conference Format

Rather than having presenters read their papers, we ask that they submit their completed essays prior to the conference so that conference attendees can read their papers in advance. This will enable each panel to function in the manner of a roundtable discussion with the active participation of both panelists and audience members. To make this possible, all presenters must submit a copy of their papers by March 25, 2021. Instructions regarding the specifics of paper submission will be explained upon acceptance.


Proposal and Respondent Guidelines

Please send abstracts of 250 words and a short bio to by December 15, 2020 (preferably in a single document).

We also invite senior scholars to serve as panel respondents. To indicate your interest in serving as a respondent, please submit an email with a short CV to by December 15.

Full panel proposals are also welcome; those submitting panel proposals should also include a 250-word panel abstract. Full panel proposals may indicate a specific respondent; simply include the respondent’s CV with your full panel proposal.

MELUS Membership

Note that all those participating in the conference must be MELUS members in good standing by February 1, 2021. If you need to join or renew your membership, please do so by clicking here:



MELUS will offer awards for both graduate students and contingent faculty. If you wish to be considered for these awards, please indicate your status in your bio.