CFP for MLA 2019: Scholarly Making: Pedagogy, Printing, Publics

The MLA Committee on Information Technology invites abstracts on the intersections between research and maker culture for a guaranteed panel at the MLA conference in Chicago from January 3-6, 2019.

The maker movement — a DIY culture of technological tinkering affiliated with Make magazine — has had a significant impact on how many scholars teach, and on how some of us think of our research as well. Maker pedagogy, from website-building to coding to experiments with Arduinos, is on the rise; meanwhile, digital humanists have argued that making things can also be a form of research (the best-known articulation of this being Alan Galey and Stan Ruecker’s “How a prototype argues”). Meanwhile, feminist and critical race scholars have intervened in the definitions of making, seeking to challenge the association of making with fields dominated by, as Leah Buechley bluntly puts it, “rich white guys.” Instead, scholars like Buechley and Debbie Chachra call for the revaluation of the material forms of labour practiced by women and marginalized communities, from knitting and weaving to lowrider cars and DJing.

This panel invites papers that expand our definition of scholarly making by asking what kinds of things we, as scholars, make, from pedagogical experiences to material artefacts to new publics. We also invite resistance to this expansion of making. For example, as Chachra argues, “To characterize what I do [teaching] as ‘making’ is to mistake the methods—courses, workshops, editorials—for the effects.” Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Pedagogy as making
    • What, if anything, do we make as teachers: learning opportunities? classroom environments? critical citizens?
  • Printing as making
    • What kinds of material making are scholars of modern languages and literatures engaged in?
  • Publics as making
    • What kinds of publics are we building — or failing to build?

Preference will be given to proposals that bring together theory and practice in a consideration of what kinds of things we make as scholars, and what we have to contribute to cultures of making.



The panel will be made up of 3 papers of 15 minutes each, followed by a response by the organizers, and then discussion with the audience.

Please submit 250-300 word abstracts by 15 March, 2016, to

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