MELUS Call for Papers for Special Issue

2017 Special Issue (Pedagogy)

MELUS Call for Papers for Special Issue

Teaching Multi-Ethnic Literatures of the United States: Pedagogy in Anxious Times

Guest Editors: Cristina Stanciu and Anastasia Lin

The 2005 MELUS special issue “Pedagogy, Praxis, and Politics” raised a number of questions about the theoretical implications of pedagogical practices in the multi-ethnic literature classroom. From the state of the field in the academy, debates over the canon, to challenges teachers face in various institutional and political contexts, the essays called into question the assumption that pedagogical praxis is divorced from theory. Building on this foundational special issue on pedagogy, as well as recent MELUS panels, roundtables, and conversations on critical pedagogy, this special issue extends these conversations over the last decade to address theoretical, historical, and practical concerns in the teaching of U.S. multi-ethnic literatures.

In the last ten years, which we might call “anxious times,” many of these concerns have continued to resonate and amplify. In a country where racial and ethnic demographics are changing constantly, where programs like “Mexican American Studies” and “Ethnic Studies” continue to come under institutional and community scrutiny, where growing movements such as “Black Lives Matter,” immigration reform groups, and indigenous activists continue to challenge assumptions about a “post-racial” U.S., we live—and teach—in anxious times. At the same time, more than ever before, technology is now shaping important conversations about race, ethnicity, nationality, or indigeneity both inside and outside the academy. We are seeking essays for a MELUS special issue on Pedagogy in Anxious Times (anticipated publication date 2017) that address, but are not limited to, the following questions and topics:

  • How has the state of the field changed over the last decade and how do our pedagogical practices reflect this change? How do we negotiate praxis with the theoretical investments of our respective fields or sub-fields?
  • How does geography/region influence approaches to multi-ethnic literature? (National, international, and transnational approaches are welcome.)
  • Has our approach to teaching the conflicts changed in the age of Obama/in post-Ferguson United States? How do we bring contemporary historical events into the classroom to bear on conversations about race, ethnicity, class, or gender?
  • How do we negotiate the opportunity and anxieties multi-ethnic literature produces in the classroom, especially as we relate it to our historical moment? How does pedagogy meet political action or social reform?
  • Do contemporary technologies or curricular innovations improve our pedagogical practices? How does DH (Digital Humanities) influence our approaches to teaching multi-ethnic literature? What are the immediate advantages of negotiating anxiety in the classroom through new technologies?
  • In what ways do service-learning, undergraduate research and/or learning communities challenge or add to more traditional approaches to multi-ethnic pedagogy in order to foster citizenship beyond the classroom?
  • How do institutional contexts influence our pedagogy? How do we negotiate student (and sometimes community) resistance?
  • What challenges do we as teachers continue to face in the classroom, and what new challenges does our own historical moment create?
  • How does identity (of students, of teachers, or both) shape pedagogical practices, particularly in anxious times?

The editors welcome both theoretical essays and essays that explore pedagogical strategies and praxis. They should be between 5,000 and 9,000 words, including notes and works cited, prepared according to the MLA Style Manual 7th edition. Please do not include the author’s name anywhere in the manuscript. Essays under review at other journals or previously published in any form will not be considered for publication inMELUS. Please also include a 250-word abstract with your submission. All submissions will go through MELUS’s normal refereeing process.

Please submit completed essays to the MELUS online manuscript system: by April 1st, 2016. Please also indicate in the “custom questions” section of the submission that you are responding to the CFP for the Pedagogy in Anxious Times special issue. For questions about the issue, please contact Cristina Stanciu ( or Anastasia Lin (


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