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12th Annual Undergraduate Conference on Multiethnic Literatures of the Americas

California State University, Fresno

Virtual conference: Friday, March 12 and Saturday, March 13, 2021

This year's featured speakers: Gerald Vizenor and Monica De La Torre

Organizing Committee

Noel Castillón

Alvaro Lozano

Delaney R. Whitebird Olmo

Graciela Sierra-Moreno

Hector Tapía III

Faculty Advisers

Dr. William Arcé

Dr. Melanie Hernandez

Dr. Samina Najmi

About the Conference

Founded in 2010, UCMLA has featured more than 100 undergraduate student presenters.

Mission Statement

The Undergraduate Conference on Multiethnic Literatures of the Americas was founded in 2010 to provide undergraduate students with a professional venue in which to present their research and to foreground the increasingly significant study of multiethnic literatures, particularly the interconnectedness of those literatures across cultures, nations, and languages.

Undergraduate students gain experience in writing abstracts, presenting papers, and engaging in scholarly debate and discussion. The presentation of their research also serves to enhance the curriculum of Fresno State’s English Department.

The conference is organized by the department’s graduate students and faculty advisers.


In 2017, the 8th annual UCMLA conference was dedicated to the memory of Mireyda "Mia" Barraza Martinez and opened with a tribute to her.

Mia was a beloved student, scholar, poet, and activist who believed deeply in the UCMLA mission. As an undergraduate, she presented papers on Wendy Rose (2013) and Andrés Montoya (2014). As a graduate student, she volunteered her time and talent to design the conference programs, and she served on the conference organizing committee in 2015 and 2016.

Mia died in a car accident in November 2016, one semester away from graduating with her MFA in creative writing. She was 29.

Previous Speakers

2021 — Gerald Vizenor and Monica De La Torre

2020 — Erika L. Sánchez and Ishmael Reed

2019 — Maxine Hong Kingston and Elda María Román

2018 — Reyna Grande and Gary Y. Okihiro

2017 — Wendy Rose and Arturo Arias

2016 — Saïd Sayrafiezadeh and Michele Elam

2015 — Manuel Muñoz and Marilyn Chin

2014 — Roxane Gay

2013 — Samiya Bashir

2012 — Hayan Charara and Jorge Huerta

2011 — Cherrie Moraga

Call for Papers

Deadline to submit: Jan. 25, 2021. Download the 2021 Call for Papers. (doc, 30kb)

Focus of Conference

This conference focuses on the multiethnic literatures of North America, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. Students from any major may submit abstracts. We encourage analytical papers on any thematic or formal aspect of a text or group of texts, including film and other cultural productions. The argument should illuminate the work(s) in original ways while drawing on available scholarship to make its case.

We invite current undergraduate students and those who have graduated within the past year, as well as first-year graduate students, to submit a 250-word abstract (summary) of their papers. Students whose abstracts are accepted will present their papers at the conference.

We hope that by presenting at the conference or attending some of the panel discussions, many undergraduates will find themselves interested in the possibility of graduate school and that many others will discover the rewards of being part of a community of scholars.

Deadline for Submission of Abstracts

Deadline for submission of your 250-word abstract is Monday, Jan. 25, 2021.

Submit your abstract to the UCMLA committee by email either uploaded as a Word document or copied and pasted in the body of the email.

For further details, please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

Help with Your Abstract

Need advice or help on writing your abstract? The UCMLA committee offers the following opportunities.

Workshop on writing abstracts:

Friday, Dec. 11, 2020 from 3 to 5 p.m. Online. Email Dr. Melanie Hernandez for the Zoom link.

Graduate students will be available to provide advice and guidelines for writing abstracts, to answer questions, and to provide examples.

Early submission of drafts of abstracts:

If you submit a draft of your abstract by email by Monday, Jan. 4, 2021, you will receive feedback by email and will have time to revise and polish your abstract by the Jan. 25, 2021 deadline.