Friday, December 20, 2013

Call for Papers

This year I'm co-chairing the committee to organize Northern Illinois University's annual English Department Conference.  We call it the Midwest Conference of Literature, Language, and Media: MCLLM.

I know I have some grad student readers, so I wanted to post the CFP here and I hope you'll consider submitting.  You already know someone who's gonna be reading those submissions!  This is definitely a starter conference, so you can get your C.V. fleshed out a bit.  But even though we're easy, we're fun and professional too. We've got professors who come back to present every year, and someone is always in the crowd looking to hire talented presenters who are PhD'd (or almost there).

If you're totally new to this, don't worry. We will even give you tips to revise your proposal so that we can accept it. No kidding.

If you're an old hand... submit anyway!  The variety of panel topics will keep you busy all day, and you will meet some of the most friendly Midwesterners in the land.  This is a low-pressure, supportive conference.  We want to recognize talent, and foster fun and engaging conversation.  With beer too.

The theme of our conference is down to earth and practical this year.  "What do we do?" is the question we asked ourselves.  This whole "studying English" business is weird. How do we define it?  Especially in an age when books and language are always slipping away?  Especially when everyone's answers are supposed to be "BECAUSE SCIENCE."  Well what about "BECAUSE NOVELS"? (So the official theme is "What we do" because the faculty didn't want us to leave it as a question.  You're supposed to have some kind of answer. Be able to explain yourself. Maybe.)

Faculty also didn't want us to write "mount a conference" when we mean "organize a conference."  We keep trying to sneak in sexy action words, e.g. your paper should "tackle" something.  It's a graduate-run conference, so we'll mount and tackle all we want. (I must say that besides the word-splitting, our advisors are very helpful. We wouldn't know what the hell we were doing without them.)

The "What we do" theme for this conference is just a suggestion, something to get you thinking.  We welcome papers on everything under the sun, if you can call it L, L, or M (per the acronym).  For instance, one panelist is writing about jazz music in literature. He thought we would turn him down. We said bring it on.

Without further ado, here is the official CFP as sent out to universities across the country, with submission email at the bottom:


What We Do: English and Communication in Theory and Practice

Conference Date: March 28-29, 2014
Deadline for Proposals: January 31, 2014

The 22nd annual Midwestern Conference on Literature, Language, and Media (MCLLM) at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL is currently accepting proposals for 15 minute papers from individuals and panels. MCLLM welcomes proposals from a wide range of studies in the English and Communication fields. Some possible topics for investigation may include: literature and poetry, creative writing, linguistics, written and visual rhetoric, journalism, narrative and documentary film, games/video games, television, radio, new and social media, and pedagogy in these fields.

We are particularly interested in exploring the changing theory and practice of "What We Do" in our field(s) in the 21st century. For instance, how has the historical concept of a text changed in relation to evolving media? How has our use of technology and the Internet altered our research methods?

Please submit 200-250 word proposals by Friday, January 31, 2014 to including name, institutional affiliation, email, and phone number of each author. Panel proposals should include a brief overview of the panel's theme and purpose, along with a 200-250 word abstract for each paper.

The theme of this year's MCLLM is inspired by the work of Robin Valenza, Ph.D., associate professor of English at University of Wisconsin - Madison. Her research interests include the digital humanities and the history of academic disciplines. She is the author of Literature, Language, and the Rise of the Intellectual Disciplines in Britain, 1680-1820. Valenza will be presenting a talk entitled "What is Digital Humanities and what can I do in it?" on March 28.

The MCLLM Committee