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Call for Essay Proposals for Volume on Foreign Language Teaching and the Environment

Essay proposals are invited for a volume in the MLA’s series Teaching Languages, Literatures, and Cultures, under the title Foreign Language Teaching and the Environment: Theory, Curricula, Institutional Structures, to be edited by Charlotte Melin (University of Minnesota). The goal of this volume is to provide an introduction to teaching sustainability and environmental humanities topics in language, literature, and culture courses, with an emphasis on postcommunicative approaches and content-rich, literacies-oriented curricula. The volume seeks to encourage foreign language programs to reshape courses, pedagogies, and programs by modeling ways in which the integration of environmental dimensions can become a vehicle for the teaching of cultural narratives, values, and perspectives at every level of the curriculum. The collection will advocate a central role for foreign languages within the educational landscape, explore the implications of collaborative interdisciplinary work for language programs, and suggest ways in which pilot initiatives can stimulate curricular innovation that revitalizes foreign language teaching and learning.

The volume is divided into three sections: “Theory and Research Background,” “Curriculum Design,” and “Institutional Structures.” The audience for the collection includes nonspecialists, teachers in a variety of educational settings, and diverse stakeholders in areas related to foreign language education. The volume will open with an introduction by the editor that will orient readers in key concepts, second language acquisition research perspectives, and educational objectives. Recognizing the potential importance of sustainability and environmental humanities initiatives for foreign language programs, the editor, in a final chapter, will consider how the process of curricular change can begin through small pilot initiatives and grow over time to strengthen curricular coherence.

The editor welcomes proposals for essays that will explore intersections among ecocriticism theory, second language acquisition research, and curricular best practices. The editor is particularly interested in essays that represent the many foreign languages taught by MLA members (including non-European, indigenous, and less commonly taught languages). Accounts of curricular initiatives with demonstrated efficacy, broad appeal, and the potential for design transfer across languages and educational settings are desirable.

If you are interested in contributing an essay to one of the three sections, please submit an abstract of 250–500 words. Contributions that describe emerging initiatives, advanced language-learning options, educational partnerships with colleagues in STEM fields, student learning outcomes, and curriculum articulation in relation to foreign languages and environmental topics are welcome. It is important for the volume to include a wide range of examples applicable to the beginning-intermediate and advanced levels and other language-learning contexts (e.g., study abroad, experiential and technology-mediated learning). Submitted essays should not have been previously published.

Abstracts and CVs should be sent to the volume editor by 1 September 2014. Please send inquiries and e-mail submissions to Charlotte Melin ( using the subject line “FL Teaching & Environment.” Surface-mail submissions can be sent to Professor Melin, Department of German, Scandinavian and Dutch, 320 Folwell Hall, University of Minnesota, 9 Pleasant St. SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455.


© 2014 Modern Language Association. Last updated 06/03/2014.