MLA 2021
19th- and Early-20th-Century German Forum
Toronto, ON
January 7-10, 2021
Stichtag: 15.03.2020

One can write, print, and read queerly. The papers in this panel series will challenge traditional histories and theories of the book, material and visual culture, and publishing. We are interested in how the colonized, the marginalized, the oppressed, or the deviant mobilized print culture for queer forms of resistance and subversion. Papers may consider what printed materials tell us about the history of gendered and sexual embodiment, as well as how books interact with us, with each other, and with other objects. Queer print culture resists a nineteenth-century tendency toward standardized forms and genres. We seek papers that investigate queer print use, content, publication form(at), typography, and illustrations, especially in relation to gender, race, sexuality, or ethnicity. Who were the communities of makers who produced queer books? What technologies and techniques did they use? Which topics did they choose to print? How was literature written and read queerly in spaces such as the home, schools, barracks, and libraries? We welcome contributions that reveal the queer potential of unauthorized and counterfeit editions, political pamphlets and ephemera, alternative forms of authorship and collaboration, experiments in printing processes and technologies, as well as innovative book-making practices and alternative publishing venues that could reach unintended audiences. Queerness can be a productive way to shed light on the history of censorship, mutilation, vandalism, and the destruction of blasphemous or beautiful printed objects. To what extent did critical editions and institutions erase queer voices and uses of print? Finally, we welcome critical engagement with the use of the term “queer” in the context of nineteenth- and early twentieth-century print culture. Comparative approaches are encouraged.

Please submit 350-word abstracts and a short bio to Vance Byrd ( by Sunday, March 15, 2020. If your proposal is accepted, you must be an MLA member by April 7, 2020. You may only have two roles at the convention.

Vance Byrd
Frank and Roberta Furbush Scholar in German Studies
Associate Professor of German Studies
Grinnell College

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