Cities and the Social Contract in Literature, May 30; Nov. 13-16, 2014

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Midwest Modern Language Association
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"Cities and the Social Contract in Literature" – MMLA annual convention, Detroit, Nov. 13-16, 2014

In urban spaces, our social and communal structures and interdependencies are most conspicuous, perhaps most challenging, most inescapable, and perhaps most stimulating. This session will examine writers who engage with the ways that city life reduces private space and thrusts people together in public space, forcing people to engage with the social contract and their implied identities as fellow citizens (and not necessarily in strictly political ways). What is the social contract in cities and what are those obligations of citizenship when living there? How does literature represent and respond to the constraints of city spaces and to the constant reminders of our membership in a crowded society? This session might address such topics as representations of urban communities, the arts of their contact zones, the intersection of urban life and social/political activism, or investigations of the personal and/in the public.
250-400 word abstracts to by May 30.