MMLA “Artists and Activists” Undergraduate Research Symposium in Cincinnati, Ohio on November 9-12, 2017
The Midwest Modern Language Association is a regional affiliate of the Modern Language Association. Our annual conference hosts professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students who give presentations on their literary research. We invite proposals for the Undergraduate Research Symposium for the 2017 conference in Cincinnati, Ohio on any topic, yet participants are particularly encouraged to consider this year’s theme “Artists and Activists.” This is a professional development opportunity, particularly if you are interested in graduate school.
To apply, please submit an abstract of 250 to 300 words along with your name, year in school, and institution to firstname.lastname@example.org by 5/12/17. The abstract should summarize a paper of 8-10 pages; if accepted, you will deliver your paper in a 15-20 minute oral presentation in a panel with other presenters.
In the spirit of supporting undergraduate research of the highest caliber, we accept papers on any literary topic and time period, regardless of its relevance to the theme.
Artists and Activists
While this year’s theme brings to mind and is meant to inspire reflection on recent events – such as the Black Lives Matter movement, the presidential election, and the selection of Bob Dylan for the Nobel Prize in literature — the conference also intends to encourage literary and cultural-historical consideration and analysis of the balance of activism and art. From the ancient philosophers to the modern commentators, literary critics have long debated the role of the artist in society. Are writers, as Percy Bysshe Shelley insists, “the unacknowledged legislators of the world” or should they bring, as Matthew Arnold proclaims, “sweetness and light”? These particular figurations of the poet in society, however do not necessarily account for the place that the artist has in social movements: these nineteenth century writers speak in abstractions, not quite leaving space for potentiality of the artist in social movements.
This conference will explore the ways that writers and artists across the centuries and across the globe have voiced support and opposition to social change, while others have even advocated against the notion of artistic involvement in that social change. In our conversations, we hope to think about the place of literature and culture in the lives of all people.
Topics could include, but are by no means limited to:
The role of the writer in society; satire as social statement; the place of (liberal) arts education in contemporary society; the co-opting of art and social advocacy by dominant cultural institutions; the literature of witness; environmental literature; trans- identities and activism; alterity; ethnic identities and activism; feminism and womanism; digital literacies and shifting modes of production; disability studies; free speech
Find the call for papers at: http://www.luc.edu/mmla/convention/undergraduateresearchsymposium