CFP: Literature and the Video Essay

CFP: Literature and the Video Essay. Researching and Teaching Literature Through Moving Images

Editors: Adriana Margareta Dancus (University of South-Eastern Norway) and Alan O’Leary (Aarhus University)

This special issue explores how the video essay can function as an academic and pedagogic resource in the study and teaching of literature.
The project seeks to bring together literary and film studies in a new way and targets children’s and youth literature.

Literature and literature instruction are central components in the language subjects. In this special issue, we use the term ‘literature’ in a broad sense to encompass narratives in different genres and media, including picture books, comics, feature and documentary films, narrative apps, and computer games with an intrinsic aesthetical value. Didactic perspectives on literature encompass questions about why and how to teach literature as well as what literary texts to choose from in the language subjects. Further, we adopt a ‘performative’ approach to research whereby the video essay is conceived as a form that generates new theoretical and analytical insights.

Contributors will produce own video essays (5-12 minutes) accompanied by an academic guiding text between 1000-1500 words that fleshes out the relevance of the topic, positions the video essay in a larger academic context, and provides critical reflections on the process of making the video essay.

We welcome contributions in English, Danish, Norwegian or Swedish.

Abstracts (300 words) and a one page-mood board which visualizes the project should be sent to by May 31, 2023.

For more information:

Postdoctoral Research Associate Program

Please find the original posting here:

The Postdoctoral Research Associate program in the iSchool seeks to provide mentoring and community support to prepare candidates for tenure-stream assistant professor or other permanent appointments inside and outside of academia. Program participants will be given an opportunity to build both their research agenda and their teaching experience under the guidance of a faculty mentor, who will provide individual guidance and support. iSchool-supported postdocs will teach up to one course per semester and serve on at least one service committee.

The School opens both a general call for applicants on an annual cycle each January and off-cycle calls for grant-funded opportunities associated with specific faculty researchers. Watch our jobs page for the latest opportunities.

For questions or further information, please email


  • The applicant must have obtained their Ph.D. prior to July 1, 2023.
  • Postdocs are normally appointed for one year, starting August 16, 2023, and can be reappointed for a second year.
  • Recipients must be in residence full-time for the duration of the award period.


Applications are submitted through an online form.

Materials should include:

  • Current CV
  • Statement of interest, including reference to any courses the applicant could teach
  • Names of up to three potential iSchool faculty mentors, including any existing relationships
  • Individual Development Plan
  • Mentoring plan, to be developed with potential faculty mentor


  • The stipend for the 2023-2024 year is at least $60,000 (for a 12-month appointment) commensurate with experience and responsibilities and includes health benefits.
  • An additional $2,000 is provided for research, travel, and related expenses.


Postdoctoral research associates are normally appointed for one year, starting August 16, and can be reappointed for a second year. Off-cycle appointments are possible, and alternative timelines are negotiated on an as-needed basis.
Details about funding and benefits are provided in position descriptions when they are posted.
Renewal Process
Applicants wishing to be considered for a second year in the program will be asked to provide plans for future work as part of their annual report. If an invitation to renew is offered, selected participants will be given a deadline by which to state their intention to return or not.

Job opportunity: Assistant Director, Center for Children’s Books – School of Information Sciences Urbana, IL, United States

Please see the original job ad here:

Assistant Director, Center for Children’s Books – School of Information Sciences

School of Information Sciences

Urbana, IL, United States

Job Summary
The School of Information Sciences (iSchool) seeks an Assistant Director, Center for Children’s Books (CCB) to work with the Director of the Center and the Editor of the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books to develop and implement strategies to retain and grow the CCB’s reputation as a national leader in youth librarianship, children’s materials, and the Youth-Information-Technology triad.

Duties & Responsibilities

Scholarly publications development:

Select digital platform for multimedia student review journal.

Create policy and procedures around a student-driven, staff-guided born-digital book and media review journal to be published semi-annually as a complement to the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books.

Editorial Management:

Work with editor of the Bulletin and student leadership to screen new books received (approximately 5000 a year) to select for review those texts that will best complement the titles reviewed by the Bulletin (e.g., new voices, perspectives, presses).

In coordination with student leadership, manage and edit all reviews for publication, including but not limited to proofreading, copy editing, and issue production.

Maintain an extensive knowledge of the genre of children’s literature, its history, its context, and its contemporary characteristics.


Serve as the teacher of record for IS 563 CL, a course on reviewing children’s literature, twice each calendar year.

Collaborate with Academic Affairs in vetting and supervising adjunct instructors teaching 563 CL – “Reviewing Children’s Literature.”

Supervise adjunct instructors of IS 563 CL to ensure curricular consistency and optimum student experience.

Creation, implementation, and promotion of engagement and professional development


Design and implement outreach programming and professional development opportunities for CCB stakeholders (iSchool students and faculty, librarians, teachers, parents, youth, authors, researchers).

Collaborate with the iSchool communications staff to promote on social media and print media the CCB’s new and ongoing initiatives.
Physical Demands

  • Sitting : Frequently
  • Reaching : Rarely
  • Grip/Dexterity : Frequently
  • Talking : Frequently
  • Hearing : Frequently
  • Repetitive Motions : Frequently for computer usage
  • Visual Acuity : Frequently for computer usage

Additional Physical Demands
Work is performed in a general office environment.

Working Conditions

  • Humidity : Rarely
  • Temperature Changes : Occasionally



Minimum Qualifications
• MSLIS or master’s degree in a related field. • One year of experience in scholarly publications, database management and social media management. • Two years of teaching experience. • Two years of book reviewing experience.

Preferred Qualifications
• Significant book reviewing experience.
• Youth Services Librarianship and/or Youth Literature experience.
• Adult education/professional development experience.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities


  • Strong project management and communication skills.
  • Excellent teaching record.
  • Deep knowledge of contemporary youth literature and media.
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively with cross-functional teams.



Appointment Information
This is a 100% full-time Academic Professional position, appointed on a 12-month basis. The expected start date is as soon as possible after 2/28/2023. Salary is commensurate with experience.

Application Procedures & Deadline Information
Applications must be received by 6:00 pm (CST) on 2/15/2022. Apply for this position using the Apply Now button at the top or bottom of this posting. Applications not submitted through will not be considered. For further information about this specific position, please contact Sara Schwebel. For questions regarding the application process, please contact 217-333-2137.

IRSCL Book Award 2022- Applications open


This is a call to nominate books for consideration for the IRSCL Book Award 2022. Books considered for the 2022 award must have been published during the period 2020-2022, must not have been nominated for an earlier IRSCL competition, and must deal with research on children’s literature or other forms of cultural texts for young people. Authors can nominate their own books, or IRSCL members can nominate books by other members, as long as those nominating books and the authors of nominated books are IRSCL members whose membership is up to date. Please also note that books authored by the current members of the IRSCL Board are not eligible for the Award.

There are two categories in the competition. One for monographs and one for edited volumes. Please email nominations to Melanie Braith ( cc: to Lorraine Kerslake: before January 15, 2022, along with an electronic copy of the book (preferred) or, if this is not possible, two copies of the book or confirmation that you have arranged for publishers to send nominated books directly to Melanie (address below). If the book has been published electronically and is available through open access, please include the link in your nomination. Please remember to cc: Lorraine Kerslake ( in your email.

Contact details are as follows:

Melanie Braith

Mailing address for hard copies of books:

The University of Winnipeg
CRYTC, Attn. Melanie Braith
515 Portage Avenue
Winnipeg, MB, R3B 2E9

Open Position: Assistant Professor in Global/Transnational Children’s Literature and Childhood Studies

To see the original posting and to apply, go to:
Assistant Professor in Global/Transnational Children’s Literature and Childhood Studies (Literature Program, English Department)
English  Pennsylvania-Pittsburgh  (22007603)
 The Department of English at the University of Pittsburgh invites applications for the position of Assistant Professor in Global/Transnational Children’s Literature and Childhood Studies to begin in Fall 2023, pending budgetary approval.

We seek candidates with teaching and scholarly expertise in literature, arts, or media for children beyond or in addition to Europe and North America, including in languages other than English. Possible areas of interest include (but are not limited to) transnational circulation, post/decoloniality, and/or translation. We are especially interested in applications from scholars who develop a global perspective on urgent questions about race, gender, disability, and other facets of social justice that are central to contemporary children’s literature studies. The successful candidate will have opportunities for leadership and participation in a growing international partnership bringing together children’s literature scholars in North America, Europe, Asia, and Latin America. We are committed to increasing the diversity of our faculty and curriculum, and candidates should identify their strengths or experiences in this area. The person hired for this position will teach courses in a thriving interdisciplinary undergraduate program in children’s literature and culture, as well as a wide range of other undergraduate literature courses and graduate seminars in their areas of scholarly interest.

Applicants must hold a PhD in English, Literature, or a related field by the time of appointment (September 1, 2023). This position comes with a 2/2 teaching load, with the expectation of service to the Children’s Literature Program and the English Department.

To apply, please supply the following materials by November 1, 2022.

  • Cover letter
  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Statement of diversity (1-2 pp.) that demonstrates your past and/or potential contributions to diversity and inclusion through teaching, research, and service

As candidates progress through the search process, the committee may request:

  • Writing sample
  • Teaching portfolio
  • Three confidential letters of recommendation

Please contact Sarah Elizabeth Baumann, Office Manager and Assistant to the Chair of English, 526 Cathedral of Learning, Pittsburgh, PA 15260, with any questions: You can also contact Courtney Weikle-Mills, Search Committee Chair, Director of Children’s Literature, and Associate Professor of English, at for information.

The University of Pittsburgh requires all Pitt constituents (employees and students) on all campuses to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved exemption. Visit to learn more about this requirement.

  The University of Pittsburgh is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer and values equality of opportunity, human dignity and diversity. EOE, including disability/vets. The University of Pittsburgh requires all Pitt constituents (employees and students) on all campuses to be vaccinated against COVID-19 or have an approved exemption. Visit to learn more about this requirement. 

Assignment Category Full-time regular
Campus Pittsburgh
Required Attachments Cover Letter, Curriculum Vitae, Other (see posting for additional details)
Optional Attachments Letters of Recommendation, Other (see posting for additional details)


Children’s Museology: Call for Papers for an edited book

Submissions are invited from researchers, curators, museum practitioners, artists, and other interested parties for an edited book on the emergent field of Children’s Museology, defined as “the production of museum content and programming not just for or about children, but also by and with children in ways that engage them as valued social actors and knowledge-bearers” (Patterson 2020).

Deadline for submissions: March 30, 2022

Contact email:

Editors: Monica Eileen Patterson Assistant Director, Curatorial Studies, Institute for the Comparative Study of Literature, Art, and Culture/Associate Professor, Institute of Interdisciplinary Studies (Childhood and Youth Studies) Carleton University Ceciel Brouwer Research Associate Research Centre for Museums and Galleries School of Museum Studies University of Leicester

Focus and key questions • How can children’s active participation and contribution foster change in museum practice? • What are the possibilities and challenges of bringing child-centred praxis into museology? • What examples and future possibilities exist for museums to engage children as valued social agents, knowledge-bearers, and active contributors rather than mere receivers of museum content and programming provided for them by adults? • How can museums better share authority with children and break from the adultdominated status quo? • What can children’s museology do? What is the value and potential impact of this work?

For the past several decades, scholars, artists, and community members have challenged the exclusive traditions upon which museum practice is based. Calls for a ‘new’ (Vergo 1989), ‘critical’ (Shelton 1990), and ‘post’ (Hooper-Greenhill 2000) museology have been accompanied by increasing interventions and demands from members of historically marginalized communities to democratize and diversify all aspects of museum practice, including collections, exhibitions, programming, visitorship, staff, and governance. Through participatory ways of working, much progress has been made in the ways in which museums engage with difference, who is empowered to participate, and how museums harness their resources to combat inequality. Children, however, have rarely been engaged by museums as collaborators or contributors in substantive, non-hierarchical ways, despite their increasing visibility as rights holders, global leaders, and impactful advocates for socio-political change. Outside of the creative spaces of some children’s museums and a few innovative examples of co-production, most cultural institutions continue to view children as mere receivers or consumers of knowledge and programming, or, as Elee Kirk argued, ‘little learners’ rather than active participants and co-creators.

Even when 2 museums include children’s perspectives and cultural production, they often do so as heavy-handed interlocutors, exerting a great deal of curatorial authority. In understanding children to be crucial members of society who hold tremendous capacity for dialogue, creativity, and innovation, the proposed volume explores the largely untapped potential of the contributions that children can make to cultural institutions. It builds on a body of work that has sought to better understand children’s experiences in museums and advocates for taking children’s ideas seriously by providing them with the resources and more direct pathways to participation needed to enrich museum practice in transformative ways. The book’s focus is not just on the value that these collaborations may have for children, but, in turn, on the exciting new possibilities that arise when young people are enabled to reframe or uncover previously hidden histories, create lasting change in how institutions relate to their audiences, and forge more inclusive, engaging, and human-centred museum spaces. We are particularly interested in examples from the global south, historically marginalized communities, and underserved/underprivileged populations. Contributions from BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and people of color), LGBTQIA2S+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, intersex, asexual, and two-spirit) folks, and people with disabilities/disabled people are especially welcome.

We seek to include a diverse set of studies exploring children’s agentive participation in a wide range of museological sites: from established, well-known galleries and museums to small, independent, local institutions, and everything in between. We are also open to submissions that focus on child-centred museological approaches taking place outside museum walls in vernacular spaces, festivals, community events, commemorations, pop-up or informal exhibitions, cultural programs, and beyond. We welcome experimental and critical perspectives, and encourage contributions that are co-authored with or draw directly on children’s contributions. Other forms of creative response may also be considered. The book aims to make a valuable intervention in several fields including museum studies, curatorial studies, heritage studies, and child studies. The proposal will be submitted to Routledge’s Museum Meanings series. Contributions may explore (but are not limited to) the following topics: • Critical reflections on case studies, methodologies, and theory • New and old forms of child-centred museological praxis – including co-creation, coproduction and co-design with children – both in and outside museum spaces including exhibitions, programming, digital environments, design, and architecture • Children’s involvement in governance, strategic decision-making, and institutional change • Intersectional projects and approaches to children’s museology • Insights and innovation around children and disability, difference, and accessibility • Curatorial dreams that imagine future curatorial interventions or projects (Butler and Lehrer 2016) • Critical curating; curating from the margins • Social justice, difficult knowledge, and contested histories • Ethics, including issues of consent, authorship, and the negotiation of (institutional) censorship in relation to children’s contributions • Perspectives that address current theoretical debates on agency, standpoint theory, ageism, children’s rights, race and racism, decolonisation, and curating • The role of the digital in enabling children and young people to participate more prolifically and publicly 3 Proposal Guidelines Proposals may offer case studies of children’s museology from specific institutions, exhibitions, programs, or initiatives, or present methodological approaches, theoretical analyses, curatorial dreams, personal reflections, or creative works. All museum and gallery types (history, art, science, children’s, etc.), including non-collecting, cultural, and community-based institutions may be explored, in addition to sites and events outside of museum spaces. All ages, from infancy, early childhood, adolescence, and youth are within our purview. Proposals may be grounded in all disciplines, historical periods, and geographical locations, and we welcome submissions from academics, students, museum practitioners from all departments and backgrounds, designers, curators, artists, writers, educators, or others.

If you are interested in contributing, please send a Word compatible doc with the information listed below by March 30, 2022 or get in touch with the editors to discuss your ideas for a chapter at

Your proposal should: • include a 100-word bio for each author; • include a working title; • convey the author’s/authors’ thesis and how the proposed article would relate to the issue’s theme; • indicate the approaches, strategies, or knowledge that readers would take away from the article; • convey how the article would raise questions or illuminate larger issues that are widely applicable (especially if the proposal focuses on a single project); • take into account that articles will be expected to provide critical, candid discussions about issues and challenges Timeline

Abstracts due: March 30, 2022 Invitations to submit full papers will be sent by May 15, 2022

CfP: Because It Lasts: Time and Space in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Media

University of British Columbia | Unceded traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) Vancouver, Canada | Friday 17 June – Sunday 19 June 2022

Call for Paper Proposals

Deadline for submission: 1 March 2022

A peer-reviewed graduate student conference

From ancient epic tales like Beowulf, The Odyssey, and The Epic of Gilgamesh, where young men adventure through foreign lands, to recent youth movie adaptations featuring time or space travel like Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Ender’s Game, and Marvel’s Endgame, numerous titles have engaged with the themes of time and space in children’s and young adult literature and media. Time and space are paradoxically tangible yet elusive; we experience them within our everyday life, yet they are never truly in one’s control. The Covid-19 pandemic has intensified this conflict, forcing nations to close their borders and people to lock themselves within their homes. In times when unprecedented levels of migration and ease of mobility led many to believe that the world did not have many barriers, such a prolonged global confinement has led to increased feelings of loneliness, disorientation, and powerlessness. This, combined with the sense of losing time—or track of it—will definitely affect old and newer generations. Because It Lasts: Time and Space in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Media aims to discuss these topics and showcase graduate students’ academic and creative work on the matter.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

· History/ Historicity

· Memory

· Futurity

· Death

· Displacement in time and space

· Diverse experiences of time and space

· Liminality and marginality

· Spatiality and mobility

· Subjectivity, agency, and identity

· Growing up or refusing to grow up, coming of age, anxieties of adulthood

· Homelessness, gendered times and spaces

· BIPOC, diaspora, and immigrant experience

These topics are suggestions, as we are open to proposals on any aspect of time and space in children’s and young adult literature, media, education, and culture.

Academic Paper Proposals

Please send a 250-word abstract, including the title of your paper, 5-8 keywords, and 3-5 academic references. Your name should not appear on the proposal. Attach a 50-word

biography, including your name, preferred pronouns, student status, university affiliation, home country, and email address. Save the proposal and the biography as two separate Word files (.DOC or .DOCX) and use the format “Academic_Name_PaperTitle” in the email subject line.

Creative Writing Proposals

All creative writing genres and forms are welcome, including novel chapters, poetry, picture books, graphic novels, scripts, amongst others. Please send a sample of your work that is no more than 12 pages long, double-spaced. Include the title, a list of references (if applicable), and a 150-word description identifying the topic, genre, targeted age group, and relevance to the conference themes. Your name should not appear on the sample. Attach a 50-word biography, including your name, student status, preferred pronouns, university affiliation, home country, and email address.

Save the sample and description as one Word file and the biography as a separate Word file (.DOC or .DOCX). Use this format “Creative_Name_SampleTitle” for the email subject line.

Participants are welcome to submit both academic and creative proposals. Each proposal will be adjudicated separately, and you may be accepted for one or both streams. Please follow the guidelines for both submissions above and send them in separate emails.

For Out of Province/Country Submissions

For presenters who plan to travel to Vancouver, Canada for this conference, please include “Travel” in the email subject line. e.g. “Travel_Academic_Name_PaperTitle” and we will be in touch with you shortly.

Dates and logistics

Deadline for proposal submission: 1 March 2022

A notification of acceptance will be sent by the end of March 2022.

All submissions will be blind reviewed by the members of the Review Committee.

Contact Us · Send all submissions to

· If you have any questions regarding the submission or the conference, please don’t hesitate to contact us at · Follow us on Twitter @ MACLconference and visit our conference website for conference updates.

About Us

The Master of Arts in Children’s Literature (MACL) at the University of British Columbia (UBC) is the only graduate program in children’s literature in Canada and one of the most multi-disciplinary children’s literature programs in the world. It is offered through the UBC

iSchool (Library, Archival, and Information Studies) with joint participation from the Department of English Language and Literatures, the Department of Language and Literacy Education, and the School of Creative Writing. As one of the few venues in Canada that showcases emerging scholarship in children’s and young adult literature, this conference provides a platform for new scholars and writers from different backgrounds, especially for graduate and upper-division undergraduate students, and creates cross-disciplinary associations that may inspire new and innovative connections to support writing and research in this area.

About the Conference

The first Graduate Student Conference in Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Media and Culture took place in 2008. In addition to paper and creative writing presentations, the conference invites renowned scholars and authors as our keynote speakers. Featured keynote speakers from past conferences include Dr. Maria Tatar, Dr. Philip Nel, Dr. Elizabeth Marshall, Dr. S.R. Toliver, Dr. Angel Matos, Dr. Naomi Hamer and best-selling authors Rachel Hartman and Richard Van Camp. This year, students from the Master of Arts in Children’s Literature Program at UBC’s iSchool will come together to host the ninth edition of the event.

CFP: Motherhood and Mothering in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Motherhood is a concept in motion. For the past decade it has gained many new and contradictory meanings, and as a result mothering has also come to be linked to an increasing number of subjects.

To this theme in Barnboken: Journal of Children’s Literature Research, we invite submissions that explore motherhood and mothering in relation to literature for children and adolescents through different approaches and theoretical perspectives. The aim is to highlight the relevance of children’s and young adult literature as well as children’s literature research in the context of the contemporary discourse on motherhood. We welcome submissions that address older as well as contemporary Nordic children’s and young adult literature.

Guest editors of this theme are Malin Nauwerck, the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books, and Tuva Haglund, Uppsala University.

Deadline for abstracts is 8 April 2022.

Read more about the call here.

CFP: The Child of the Future

“…the symbiont children developed a complex subjectivity composed of loneliness, intense sociality, intimacy with nonhuman others, specialness, lack of choice, fullness of meaning, and sureness of future purpose.”

(Haraway, 2016, Staying With The Trouble, p.149)

After living through a once-in-a-generation pandemic, whilst in the midst of a slowly-evolving climate crisis, our expectations about what the future of humanity will look like have been called into serious question. These disruptions have impacted the world of children perhaps more than that of adults. In the wake of lockdowns and school closures, children’s development, interpersonal connections, and engagement with media, learning and play have become increasingly unstable and unpredictable. More concretely, populations are declining around the world, calling into question how many children of the future there will be and where we might find them.

Correspondingly, the ways in which we conceptualise the child are shifting. In parallel to world events, theoretical discourse in the fields of childhood studies have experimented with viewing children as ontologically fluid. Scholars are increasingly thinking outside of the temporal binary implied by the words “adult” and “child”, instead refiguring childhood and the wider spectrum of age as complex assemblages and entanglements; the child with greater time left (Beauvais, 2018 p.77), the child enfolded in matter and meaning across time (Barad, 2007), the human and the nonhuman inextricably linked (Haraway, 2016).

This shift can be seen in children’s literature and media studies’ more recent interest in posthumanism, new materialism, spectrality and other adjacent theories which read childhood through the more abstract complication of animals, plants, objects, texts and technologies.

This conference aims to bring together these burgeoning conversations that are increasingly evident across disciplines at a time where these connections are more relevant than ever before. We are looking to explore the many and varied ways that scholars may conceptualise the idea of ‘the child of the future’. We hope to hear papers that interpret the topic in many different ways, those that consider the ‘child of the future’ as both real and imagined, actual and fictional.

In addition to a focus on the child of the future, proposal topics may include (but are in no means limited to):

  • Posthumanism
  • The Anthropocene and/or Chthulucene and/or Capitalocene
  • New Materialism
  • Nonhuman modes of being (animal, plant, microorganism, robot, etc.)
  • Spectrality and hauntology
  • Environments, bodies and spatiality
  • Spirituality/religion
  • Engaging with the past/ theorising the future
  • Adaptation and transformation
  • Memory
  • Sci-fi, fantasy and non-mimetic media
  • Technology and materiality
  • Intergenerationality
  • Pedagogy

We welcome papers of a duration of 20 minutes that will be arranged into thematic panels. Papers that blend the creative and the critical will be considered, and interdisciplinary papers and panel proposals are also encouraged. We particularly wish to offer opportunities for graduate students and other early-career scholars. If you fall into this category, please indicate in your application if you wish to be considered for one of our funded conference bursaries.

Please send an abstract of 300 words, a short biography (100 words) and 5-8 keywords in a Word document to with the following subject line: ‘The Child of the Future abstract’.

Submissions must be received by 5th January 2022. Notification of acceptance will be sent out at the start of February 2022.

University of Cambridge, St John’s College | Thursday June 30th – Friday July 1st, 2022

In line with COVID-19 guidance and regulations, we anticipate that this conference will go ahead as planned in person at St John’s College, University of Cambridge. However, we are conscious of the safety of all speakers and attendees and as such will update you of any changes should they arise.

Thank you for considering this CFP, and we look forward to hearing from you!

CFP: Black Spaces in International Children’s Literature

Sociologist Elijah Anderson has astutely observed that in spite of the influence of the United States’ civil rights movements, racial segregation remains central to U.S. society. Anderson has noted that while public spaces have officially or nominally become open to all, “the wider society is still replete with overwhelmingly white neighborhoods, restaurants, schools, universities, workplaces, churches and other associations, courthouses, and cemeteries, a situation that reinforces a normative sensibility in which Black people are typically absent, not expected, or marginalized when present” (10).

This concept of white space extends to children’s books and media, publishers, and scholarship. Yet Anderson’s conception of more inclusive “cosmopolitan” and Black spaces is also relevant for theorizing and understanding African and African Diasporic writing for young people. These rich and diverse bodies of literature, film, and other media comprise spaces that center on and portray the power of Black identities, cultures, and histories.

For this special issue of IRCL, the journal of an organization whose membership includes very few Black scholars from Africa and the African Diaspora, we, Karen Chandler and Michelle Martin, African American guest editors and senior scholars who want to foster more BIPOC scholarship in the field, intend this issue as an invitation into more scholarly conversations by and about Africa and the African Diaspora. We invite international contributions that expand upon this notion of Black Space in children’s literature, film, and related media of African societies and the African Diaspora–spaces that afford attention to Black identities, cultures, and histories. In adapting Anderson’s ideas about White and Black Space, we are most interested in moving beyond conventional thinking that equates Black space with dysfunction and lack (e.g. the American ghetto), the “primitive/barbaric or natural/romantic” (e.g. patterns in West African children’s books that Vivian Yenika-Agbaw has analyzed), or other emphases that simplify or distort Black experience.

We aim to bring Anderson’s conception of Black Space into conversation with texts created by authors from Black African societies and the Black Diaspora who are writing for young readers. We are interested in scholarship on children’s and young adult literature that portrays Black Space as generative, creative, secure, joyful, nurturing, and more. Outdoor spaces, porches, kitchens, barbershops, markets, salons, churches, schools, and other communal spaces often form metaphorical “villages” where mutual care takes place, where Black young people find nurture and community, and where they locate the resources to learn to be and express themselves.

Some contemporary Black creators to consider include Ghanaian author Portia Dery; Nigerian author Mary Ononokpono; African American Patricia McKissack (Porch Lies and Other Tales), Joyce Carol Thomas (adaptation of Zora Neale Hurston stories with Chris Myers and other illustrators) and Mildred D. Taylor (Logan family saga); British Malorie Blackman (Noughts & Crosses series); Ivorian-French Marguerite Abouet’s Aya series (Aya of Yop City); Nigerian American Nnedia Okorafor (the Akata Witch and Binti series); Kwama Mbalia (Tristan Strong series), and Toni Adeyemi (Children of Blood and Bone series); Canadian American Zetta Elliott (Dragons in a Bag series); Haitian American Edwidge Danticat (Untwine, The Last Mapou); and the many crafters (e.g. Reginald Hudlin, Jesse Holland, Ta-Nehisi Coates, Ryan Coogler) of the Afrofuturistic world of Black Panther. We are also interested in earlier children’s literature and applicable/relevant theory, such as that by J. O. de Graft Hanson, Chinua Achebe, and Ngugi wa Thiong’o.

Essays on historical or contemporary texts might pursue some of the following:

  • Black spaces: places (real or imagined) where Black people are able to thrive, to create, to build, to regenerate
  • Black creativity: representations of Black individuals or groups making things, creating art, gardening, cooking, being ingenious, making music, dancing, talking and telling stories, performing comedy
  • Conflicts related to class, ethnicity, religion, gender identities, etc. among different communities of the Black Diaspora
  • The environment, ecology, land, air, parks and gardens, and sustainability related to how and where Black people live and work
  • Food justice in Black communities
  • The motif of the underground as spaces of escape or safety for people of the African Diaspora
  • Genres and formats as spaces, including spaces that have yet to be inhabited by publishing houses and Black authors in a substantive way. While Black YA authors’ urban street lit and historical nonfiction and historical fiction find routes to publication, what genres are still relatively rare or non-existent for Black authors, and what might that future look like?
  • Publishing traditions and constraints vs. Black artistic integrity: national settings can sometimes dictate what genres are most common and what children’s literature looks like; how might more international conversations between writers for children and young adults from different locales within the African Diaspora push the boundaries of what is possible for all?
  • The role of literary prizes (e.g. The Golden Baobab Award, Children’s Africana Book Awards, Coretta Scott King Award, etc.), archives, and curation in sustaining the availability of Black books both for enjoyment and for study
    Own Voices as a contested space: tensions have long existed between texts written from outside of a lived experience vs. texts written from an Own Voices perspective
  • Problematizing conceptualizations of Blackness to examine its diversity and complexity; and exploring books from different parts of Black Diaspora
    Texts as sites for cross-cultural collaborations, as when a co-writer who brings the story to light amplifies the voice of the teller or when a Black writer or illustrator collaborates with a non-Black artist
  • Translations or adaptations of Black texts for young people
  • Intersections between Blackness and Indigeneity within shared spaces, and Black individuals’/groups’ relationship to Native cultures, heritage, tribal lands, sovereignty, citizenship, etc.
  • Protests/protesting, histories and revisionist histories informing protests; particular cultural practices that are forms of protest
  • Speculative fiction as revisionist history and/or as prophecy

Please send your proposal to the guest editors (, and the journal editor, Roxanne Harde ( by 1 January 2022.

Completed articles will be due 1 April 2022.

Email subject: “IRCL Special Issue Black Spaces.”

The submission should include an abstract of no more than 300 words, a brief bio (100 words) and 3-5 key words.

Please follow the IRCL style guide.