The Midwestern Conference on Literature, Language, and Media is held at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois. This annual conference occurs each spring, usually in late March or early April. 2014 marks the 24th anniversary of the conference. Graduate students in the Department of English at NIU organize and run the conference, with help from graduate students in the Department of Communication, and with occasional guidance from the English faculty.
In 1992, graduate students Charles Bowie and John Carlberg started the Graduate Conference on Language and Literature. Over the course of the next 10 years, the conference grew to include graduate students and faculty from both NIU and around the country. As the conference grew, academics from around the world submitted and presented papers on an increasing number of topics.
In 2000, the conference became known as the Midwestern Conference on Film, Language, and Literature, or MCFLL. That year, the first "Cyber Session" was also held, focusing on technology, metaphors for the Internet, and the use of computers in teaching (particularly composition). The following years saw the emergence of "Cyber Sunday," and included keynote speakers on technology and virtuality.
Keynote speakers in past years include Victor Vitanza, Sandra Gilbert, Jane Tompkins, Tom Gunning, David Bordwell, Steve Jones, Luke Gibbons, Susan Gubar, Jane Gallop, Leslie Fiedler, James Phelan, Cathy Davidson, Gary Saul Morson, Judith Mayne, Meg Hourihan, Lucien Stryk, and Tom Shippey. The Graduate Colloquium funds many of the keynote addresses. Generous donations from various NIU departments and offices, including the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, also support the conference.