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CFP for the 2022 MLA Annual Convention--Multilingual Black Meccas (MLA)

Organization: The Langston Hughes Society
Event: MLA
Categories: Lingustics, African-American, 20th & 21st Century
Event Date: 2022-01-06 to 2022-01-09 Abstract Due: 2021-03-15

Multilingual Black Meccas

CFP for the 2022 MLA Annual Convention

January 6-9, 2021 | Washington, DC

The March 1925 cover of the Survey Graphic proclaims Harlem as “Mecca of the New Negro.” A term used to refer to bustling predominantly Black cities in the U.S., Black meccas serve as sites of diversity within themselves by way of education, class, and not to mention, residents’ geographic origin and first language. Langston Hughes gestures towards the language diversity present within Black communities in his humorous 1953 Jesse B. Simple story “Simple Says Puerto Ricans Must Have Poro In Their Blood” when Semple states: “I am stymied—just because I do not speak Spanish” (11). However, countless other prominent Black writers and leaders were also testaments to the value of language diversity in establishing these centers for black culture, including Zora Neale Hurston and Arthur Schomburg, for example. Drawing on the Modern Language Association’s 2022 presidential theme of “Multilingual U.S.,” the Langston Hughes Society welcomes papers for the 2022 Modern Language Association Convention (to be held January 6-9, 2022, in Washington, D.C.) that probe the following questions:

  • How does language diversity appear in African American literature, and under what circumstances?
  • How is black futurity represented in African American literature that depicts diversity within black communities?
  • How do writers based in Black meccas other than Harlem address language diversity?

While papers need not be centered on Langston Hughes or thinkers of the Harlem Renaissance era and while we encourage interested participants to consider how these issues unfold in the African-American literary tradition at large, special consideration will be given to proposals with an emphasis on the work and/or legacy of Hughes. This is a guaranteed session.

The deadline for abstract submissions for this panel is Monday, March 15, 2021. Please send, as an attachment, an abstract of no more than 300 words, a brief CV, and a 100-word biographical statement to Dr. Christopher Varlack, President (lhsociety.president@gmail.com), Dr. DeLisa D. Hawkes, Vice President (lhsociety.vp@gmail.com), and Dr. Richard Hancuff, Secretary (lhsociety.secretary@gmail.com)

Note also that in addition to the membership and registration fees required for MLA, presenters on this session must also be current members of the Langston Hughes Society by the time of the conference in order to present. 

For more information on the Langston Hughes Society and our mission, please visit us online at www.langstonhughessociety.org. 


Christopher Allen Varlack