What is the Every Day? - MLA 2024

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Molly Young and Noa Nikolsky / University of Pennsylvania
contact email: 

Literary, theoretical, and philosophical engagements with “the everyday” have a broad, transhistorical scope—from stoic philosophy to canonical hours, or medieval books of precepts; from Locke and Kant in the eighteenth century to Wittgenstein, Austin, and the ordinary language philosophy of the early twentieth century; from Henri Lefebvre and Michel de Certeau to Toril Moi and Stanley Cavell; from considerations of the realist novel of the nineteenth century to the modernist novel of the twentieth (and beyond). 

This session is interested in textual engagement with the everyday across historical periods, from literature and philosophy to history and science. Some possible topics include (but are not limited to): how do texts engage with repetition, boredom, attention, and commonness? How are everyday bodies and minds depicted in texts? What is everyday language and where is it found?

This panel explores both depictions of everyday life, habits, and practices in textual culture, and theoretical and philosophical engagement with the concept of the ‘every day.’ 

We welcome papers on any historical period and any genre of text. We encourage both proposals that draw on philosophy and theory and those interested in literature (broadly construed). Please submit abstracts (~250 words) to noanik@sas.upenn.edu and mryoung@sas.upenn.edu by March 15.