Call for Papers: Michigan College English Association Conference Oct. 17-18, \’20

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    Janet Ruth Heller

    Theme:  Coping with Change Guest Speaker & Workshop Facilitator: Laura Apol, Lansing poet laureate Location:  on-line, through Zoom (as hosted by Michigan State University writing faculty)Since our last conference in October 2019, COVID-19 has struck, changing our lives and disproportionately affecting people of color. Then there was the killing of George Floyd, which catalyzed nationwide protests and shed light on systemic racism and practices of police brutality. As we move forward into uncertain times, questions emerge about how both COVID-19 and recent racist incidents have impacted our lives as writers, teachers, and scholars.  What kinds of fall classes do we now face, and how might we teach them?  How can we best support our students, especially those of color, and others adversely affected by the virus? How might we incorporate anti-racist pedagogies and stances into our teaching and writing? What forms of teaching—on-line, hybrid, face-to-face, synchronous, asynchronous—are we being asked to do, and what kind of support are we receiving? How have more precarious forms of academic labor been impacted? How are we writing about our lives as we “shelter in place”?  How has the pandemic disrupted our research, or in some cases, created new opportunities?  How are such themes depicted in the books that we read, study, and/or teach, the poems and stories we write? How does literature or critical theory provide the language or catalysts for us to conceptualize new ways of surviving, of coping, of re-making ourselves to meet the needs of this moment?  The Michigan College English Association invites proposals for individual papers and for complete panels for our Fall 2020 Conference. We welcome proposals from experienced academics, young scholars, and graduate students. We encourage a variety of papers, including pedagogical work, scholarly essays, creative writing, as well as workshops, crafting circles, and other activity-directed sessions. Here are some possible areas for presentations:

    fiction, poetry, drama, creative non-fiction               professional expectations/evaluation/assessment        classroom management

    teaching composition, literature, linguistics              preparing students for the work world                      English departments and our society

    curriculum development                      the creative process                 computer or on-line instruction                           union/administration differences


    race, class, and gender studies                         film studies                     literacy                                                          textual analysis

    Format: We will Zoom the conference starting Saturday morning, and continuing through Sunday afternoon, holding no more than one such meeting per session (i.e., 10-11:30, 1-2:30, and 3-4:30).  To recognize the reality of “Zoom fatigue” and to engender robust discussion, we will ask presenters to limit their talks to no more than 12 minutes.  Zoom links and passwords to each section will be provided in the on-line conference program. Guest Speaker: Lansing poet laureate and MSU professor Laura Apol will open up the conference Saturday morning with an on-line poetry workshop; all registered conference participants are invited to attend, and then share their resulting work at the conference poetry reading to be held Sunday night. Dr. Apol will preface Sunday’s reading by sharing her thoughts about the challenge of writing and teaching poetry, along with being poet laureate, in the middle of a global pandemic.Conference proposals are due by October 1, 2020.  Early submissions are welcome.  Please send your name, university affiliation, e-mail address, AV requests, time/day preference, and a 200-word abstract or sample of creative writing to Ilse Schweitzer and Curtis VanDonkelaar, Program Chairs, via email at and .  To submit a panel proposal, please include the information for all members (4 maximum participants) in the same proposal.

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