DEADLINE EXTENDED: African American Literature Permanent Panel

deadline for submissions: 
May 31, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
MMLA - Midwest Modern Language Association
contact email: 

2023 Call for Papers:

The African American Literature permanent section invites proposals for in-person presentations at the 2023 meeting of the Midwestern Modern Language Association taking place in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 2-5. The conference’s theme this year is “Going Public: What the MMLA Owes Democracy,” and papers addressing literature’s connection to and challenge of democracy will be given preference.

African American authors have had a fraught relationship with American democracy, a point poignantly articulated by Frederick Douglass in his famous speech “What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?” This question has been taken up over the years, its answers shifting according to the zeitgeist, but never truly arriving at a satisfactory place.

Recent attempts have been made to further obfuscate the relationship between African American literature and history to democracy, whether that be through anti-CRT legislation or by limiting curriculums. Therefore, it is imperative that scholars foreground this connection, make it visible, and insist that we reveal and articulate its complexity.  

We welcome papers that engage with African American literature in its broadest conception, meaning that national borders should not curtail the breadth of this topic. Papers may engage with literatures from any diasporic location. Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words and must be sent to Noemi Fernandez Labarga at by May 20th, 2023.