The 28th Annual MELUS Conference & The Ralph Ellison Centennial Symposium
March 6-9, 2014
Downtown Oklahoma City
Sponsored by Oklahoma City University
Conference Program

Going to the Territory: Cultural Geographies of Ethnic American Literature                        

In his essay “Going to the Territory” (1980), Ralph Ellison wrote that “[i]n the United States all social barriers are vulnerable to cultural styles.” This was so, Ellison recalled, even in the Oklahoma of his youth, where many arenas of public and private life were racially segregated. Although black Oklahomans lived under conditions of “social and political unfreedom,” they enjoyed more than a little cultural freedom: the freedom to give to, take from, and adapt other U.S. and world cultures.

Please join us as the 28th Annual MELUS Conference brings together scholars and creative writers to answer some of the questions raised by Ellison’s essay. How have “social barriers” shaped culture in the U.S.? In what particular ways have ethnic literary cultures crossed social barriers in particular locales and regions, or in the nation at large? And how have these crossings transformed regional, national, and global cultures?

The deadline for proposals has passed. All presenters, chairs, and moderators must be members of MELUS. Membership information can be found on the MELUS website at

Confirmed Speakers include:

Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (off-site event, transportation provided)

Poets Joy Harjo and Joe Nevaquaya
Danielle Allen
Phyllis Bernard
Adam Bradley
Al Brophy
Robert O’Meally
Arnold Rampersad
Amrijit Singh
Eric Sundquist
Steven Tracy
Cheryl Wall
Kenneth Warren
Todd Bryant Weeks

Conference schedule

MELUS 2014 / Ralph Ellison Centennial Symposium Conference Site

The Historic Skirvin Hotel
1 Park Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK 73102, Tel: 405-272-3040

Deadline for conference rate rooms: passed
Early conference registration deadline: passed
To register, please follow this link:

We send our apologies to those who were not able to get a room at the conference hotel before it sold out.

We have been trying for over a week to get a discount group rate room block at a nearby hotel; unfortunately, with the demand for rooms that weekend downtown, we were not able to negotiate a rate that was better than what you can find through online booking on your own. We recommend booking as soon as possible at one of the following hotels:

(listed in order of proximity to the Skirvin)

Renaissance Marriott


Historic Colcord Hotel (6-minute walk)

Bricktown Hotel and Convention Center (15-minute walk + has a free area shuttle) + BEST PRICE: approx. $102 night/single

Hampton Inn and Suites, Bricktown

Please note that it is quite safe to walk at night in these parts of downtown Oklahoma City.
Those interested in finding people to share a room may do so through the member-run MELUS Facebook Bulletin Board:

Shuttle Service from the airport to the conference site can be arranged through this link:
($24 each way, with rates going down if you advance-book in groups of people traveling together)

The average cab fare from the airport is $28.

Additional options and info may be found at this link:


Safe travels to all,
The Conference Committee