City Lights 70 Years: 1953-2023

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Italian American Studies Association (MLA Allied Organization)
contact email: 

Call for Papers for a non-guaranteed session sponsored by the LLC Italian American Forum and Allied Organization Italian American Studies Association at the Modern Language Association (MLA) Annual Convention on January 5 through 8, 2023 in San Francisco, California.

One of the US’s most famous and beloved independent bookstores, City Lights celebrates its 70 birthday this year while we gather for MLA. This special session, a joint venture between the LLC Italian-American and the Allied Organization Italian American Studies Association, celebrates City Lights focusing on book cultures and print communities. 

Possible topics include: histories of City Lights publications; analyses of the printers, publishers, and authors most closely associated with the bookstore; discussions of the historical communities who gathered, published, or performed at City Light; analyses of the “working conditions” for bookstore owners, publishers, or other professional practitioners involved in City Lights; theories or representations of San Francisco print culture, including and beyond City Lights. 

Like Laurence Ferlinghetti, who wrote poetry, published poets, and helped found City Lights, this panel hopes to cover much ground and collect a range of approaches to the bookstore’s business, culture, and social possibilities as a collective good.

Send 250-word abstracts and a short CV to Alan Gravano ( and Sarah Salter ( by March 15, 2022.