CFP – Slavic Worlds of Imagination 3: Metamorphoses

International Conference “Slavic Worlds of Imagination 3: Metamorphoses”
23-24 September 2019, Cracow, Poland

The Children’s and Youth Literature Research Centre of the Faculty of Polish Studies and the Institute of Slavonic Philology (Jagiellonian University) are hosting the third meeting in the cycle “Slavic Worlds of Imagination.” This time we would like to focus on the potential of changes, metamorphoses, and transformations in Slavic literatures for children, youth and fantasy, along with literary work based on the Bildungsroman tradition. We invite reflections and discussion on the following topics:

  • metamorphoses of characters in children’s and youth literatures of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (metamorphoses in fairy tales, changing people into animals or plants and opposite, magical transformations)
  • moral metamorphoses of characters, transgressions of opposition good-evil in Slavic children’s and youth literature and in fantasy
  • coming through the life stages, rites of passage
  • Slavic Bildungsroman, narrations about the adolescence in literatures of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe
  • metamorphoses of literary genres in the area of children’s and youth literature
  • motif of the evanescence in Slavic literature for children and youth and in fantasy
  • historical, social, and cultural transformations in Slavic literature for children and youth and in fantasy
  • generation changes in literature, generation gap
  • resistance to the change
  • changes in reception of certain literary works, changes in literary canons
  • changes of literary works for adults into children’s literature and vice-versa
  • transformations in the future (science fiction in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe)
  • changes in the aesthetic of children’s books in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe

Please send your application to slavic.worlds.imagination@gmail.com by 1 May 2019. For more information, see: http://www.slavicworldsofimagination.wordpress.com/

CFP – Adapting Children’s and Young Adult Novels into Anglophone Television Series

Call for Papers
International Conference by GUEST Normandie
Adapting Children’s and Young Adult Novels into Anglophone Television Series
Rouen Normandy University, 5-6 September 2019

Following up on its research programme exploring audiovisual serial fiction as narrative, aesthetic and ideological works of art, present on an ever-increasing number of platforms, the research project GUEST Season 2 is organizing on the 5th and 6th of September 2019, in partnership with the research laboratory ÉRIAC (Équipe de Recherche Interdisciplinaire sur les Aires Culturelles), an international conference dedicated to Anglophone television series adapted from children’s and Young Adult novels.

Serialised television adaptations of children’s literature have existed for quite some time, especially in the English-speaking world (The Famous Five, ITV, 1978-9; The Chronicles of Narnia, BBC, 1988-90; The Borrowers, BBC 2, 1992, …), providing a logical continuation to the tradition of episodic fiction by novelists writing for children and young adults. The “principle of the proliferation of narratives moving from one medium to another” is itself a natural extension of the growing trend in the world of youth literature publishing to create “hybridised transmedia products”, such as toy books or CD books and other by-products (Letourneux 2011 : § 5), a practice which contributes to showcasing the existence of the original works.

Such a tradition of novel adaptations for the small screen, which formed a substantial part of BBC programmes for young spectators, in particular up to the 1990s (Messenger Davies 2005: 131), has recently been rekindled by the contemporary craze for TV series of all kinds. The trend for « sériephilie » (Glevarec 2012) may account for the growing tendency to cater for an even wider audience by targetting young adults or mature teenagers, and attracting younger consumers who are more and more seduced by transmediated cultural products — all the more so as these material child[ren] (Buckingham 2011) may be more prone than adult viewers to enjoy repetition and to feel connected to familiar characters and worlds.

Children’s literature itself has been increasingly promoted as a legitimate field of study over the past decades, and the commercial success which crowned the publication of certain huge best-sellers at the turn of the 21st century has definitely integrated children’s literature into the bulk of mass culture production as well as into its subsequent process of commodification (Zipes 1997 and 2001, Taxel 2002). Because of such a massive market expansion, children’s literature has become a privileged source of inspiration for the writing of scripts for the big screen, and today for the small screen too. As Matthieu Letourneux explains, “the majority of films meant for young spectators are based on literary narratives and the copyrights of children literature’s biggest hits are systematically bought by publishers” (2017 : 384) with a view to making the most of the “multi-exploitation” of the fictional story (Ferrier 2009).

The current boom of children’s literature being turned into television series appears to be the continuation of the phenomenon of film adaptations based upon serialised novels, whether we think of fantasy, of “bit lit” (vampire romances) or of dystopian (i.e. counter-utopian) fiction, whose impressive number of pages seem to call out for such innumerable forms of fictional “expansion” (Besson 2015). It would therefore be interesting to study series for young viewers which tend to update either the source text or the very first film or TV adaptations (as was the case with Tyne Tees Television’s new adaptation of the Famous Five by Enid Blyton in 1995-96), to perpetuate the success of a series of novels, or to compete with formerly groundbreaking film adaptations of those very same novels. We might think for example of the 13 books of A Series of Unfortunate Events by American writer Lemony Snicket (1999-2006), who clearly connected his novels with the tradition of the Victorian serial narratives. These novels have been adapted by Netflix and broadcast on its streaming platform since January 2017, after Brad Silberling made a film out of the 23 volumes in 2004. We might also refer to Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy (1995-2000), whose first book only was adapted for the big screen as The Golden Compass (2007), the US version of the book’s title, but whose first television season will be released by BBC1 in 2019. This follows a radio adaptation as well as a stage adaptation in 2003.

If such questions have already been addressed within the larger context of television programmes and series intended for children and teenagers, our aim with this conference is not so much to ponder on childhood and youth culture in general but to focus rather on the adaptation process at work in the shift from book to small screen.

  • What can we infer from this evolution from children’s classics being almost systematically adapted for the cinema to children’s classics being almost systematically adapted for television?
  • Can we say that these series appropriating children’s literature are a mere expansion of a phenomenon that is already characteristic of adult culture? Or should we say that there exists a specific adaptation process when target spectators are young spectators?
  • Does the change of medium contribute to introducing new material in the source narrative?
  • Can the way young viewers watch these series have an influence on the process of adaptation (depending on whether they watch these programmes alone, with their family or with friends, whether they use their mobiles, their computers or a big home screen, and whether they binge-watch the episodes in one night or in a few days, or watch them at various paces)?
  • Do some series try to target a wider and older audience, playing on the nostalgia of adult spectators and the obsession for youth in contemporary anglophone cultures?
  • Are some genres more frequently adapted than others?
  • Do television series testify to the difference made by Anne Besson concerning literature (2004 and 2009) between strictly repetitive “series” (as with The Famous Five) and “cycles” (as with the Harry Potter cycle) whose narratives are framed by the passing of time and the transformation this entails?
  • Is the current predominance of the « cycle » type a consequence of the recent boom of young adult literature?
  • Can we say that sequences of novels tend to be more frequently adapted to the small screen than stand-alone novels?
  • Can watching a series bring some viewers back to the source novel?
  • How can such a remediation of novels result in the densification and complexification of the original fiction world, leading spectators to reinvest and reappraise this original universe through “drilling” (Mittell 2015)?

All these questions, and others, may be addressed in papers focusing on animated or live-action adaptations of children’s and Young Adult novels into anglophone television series. Television series having given rise to novelisations may also be part of the chosen corpus.

Paper proposals (400 words maximum), in French or in English, including an explicit title and a short bio-bibliographical notice, should be sent before 10 May 2019 both to Florence Cabaret (florence.cabaret@univ-rouen.fr) and to Virginie Douglas (virginie.douglas@wanadoo.fr).

CFP – Children’s Poetry in Literary Education: Issue of Journal of Literacy Education

Call for Papers for the 2nd issue of the Journal of Literary Education

Very often poetry has been defined as a particular kind of language that does innovative things with words, sound, rhythm and patterns, features that can be a constant source of pleasure but also (and especially for the teachers) of despair. In its strong association with language-play and music, poetry could be found and thoroughly enjoyed in many different forms and manifestations not only in school environments, but also and even more importantly, outside the classroom sphere and beyond the teacher’s influence.

Therefore, it is commonly accepted that poetry can be traced in almost any social environment in human life: a chameleon-like notion that can take many disguises. It appears in all kinds of printed pages and digital media, on the screen and in the street, it takes the form of a song, and so on. It is infused in chants, riddles and lullabies and it can also be transformed into a complex context when it appears concretely combined with pictures.

Children’s poetry, more specifically, has been recently defined as a multimodal art which is “shaped by the dynamics of orality and textuality and by the interplay between them” (2017: 231). Albeit traditionally viewed as a stagnant and conservative genre, with “strong, resilient lines of continuity that runs across the centuries” (Styles, 2012: XIII), it has also become in the last years an innovative genre thanks mainly to the work of some independent publishing houses that are not afraid of taking risks and offer the young readers more challenging books. Thus, as many scholars, critics, or educators have strongly, and in many ways, emphasized children have plenty of opportunities to engage in poetic discourse and creative wordplay, even before their first poetry lesson.

Nevertheless, in classrooms poetry is often treated as a duty and not a pleasure activity, or as a problematic area in school, which causes feelings of disquiet and worry. These feelings can deal with several controversial questions, such as the right interpretation of the poem or the right way of teaching it to students. In Michael Benton’s words (1992:83), poetry has had bad luck in Education.

Nonetheless, poetry for children is nowadays stronger, more varied in its appeal, and more thoroughly studied than it has ever been. There are recent studies (for example, Wakely- Mulroney and Joy, 2018) that offer insightful accounts to the nature and the aesthetics of children’s poetry or its didactic potential.

Considering all this, in what ways LE can help teachers to teach poetry with more confidence and students to encounter it as a rewarding experience? Are there new ways of teaching poetry nowadays? What is the influence of images and the digital cultural on poetic education?

We invite papers related to the overall topic of the issue as described above to be presented. Possible areas for investigation include, but are not restricted to:

  • Children’s poetry and Literary Education
  • Children’s poetry and the oral tradition
  • Children’s poetry as a visual art (multimodality, printed poems, concrete poetry, etc.)
  • The relationship of form and content in poetry: the poem as a “verbal icon”
  • The plurality of poetic form: haiku, tanka, pantoum, limerick, diamante, clerihew, and so on
  • Theories of literature and poetry teaching: from New Criticism to Reader-response
  • Children’s poetry and the young reader: aspects of reading and responding to poems
  • Children and young adults as poets
  • Poetry canon in classrooms
  • Children’s poetry and illustration
  • Poetry picture books: a new way of reading and enjoying poetry?
  • Teaching children’s poetry in school: from manuals to informal spaces
  • Young Adult Poetry and the Internet
  • Empirical studies about poetry and children’s poetry

Submissions are opened all year long for both the Miscellaneous and Monograph section. Papers received before 31 April will be considered for 2019’s issue. Submit your proposals to https://ojs.uv.es/index.php/JLE/about/submissions#onlineSubmissions

References:
Benton, Michael (1992). Secondary Worlds: Literature Teaching and the Visual Arts. Buckingham-Philadelphia: Open UP.
Pullinger, Debbie (2017). From Tongue to Text: A New Reading of Children’s Poetry. London and New York: Bloomsbury.
Styles, M. (2012). “Introduction: Talking the Long View – the State of Children’s Poetry Today.” In M. Styles; L. Joy; D. Whitley. Poetry and Childhood (XI-XVI). Stoke on Trent / Sterling: Trentham Books.
Wakely- Mulroney, Katherine and Joy, Louise (2018).The Aesthetics of Children’s Poetry: A Study of Children’s Verse in English. Oxon and New York: Routledge.

CFP – Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century

Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century
University of Lincoln, 23 July 2019
Organisers: Dr Alice Crossley, Dr Amy Culley, and Dr Rebecca Styler

This conference responds to the burgeoning critical interest of humanities scholars in age, ageing, and stages of life from childhood to old age in the nineteenth century.

The figure of the child and the imaginative investment in the idea of childhood are the focus of seminal studies of ageing in this period.

However, recent critical engagements have suggested the value of exploring ageing identities and cultural articulations of age across the life course, in dialogue with one another, and from a variety of disciplinary perspectives.

In light of this development, this conference seeks to address the experiences, conceptions, and representations of the ageing process in the literature and culture of the nineteenth century.

We welcome papers from all humanities disciplines (including, but not restricted to, English, History, Art History, and Religious Studies) and covering a diverse range of media, forms, and genres, such as fiction, poetry, drama, life writing, conduct literature, children’s literature, religious writing, periodicals, portraiture, photography, satirical prints, material culture, medical literature, institutions and their discourses, longevity literature, advertising, elegy.

Topics may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Relationships between stages of the life course: childhood, adolescence, maturity, midlife, old age, longevity, premature ageing, infantilization
  • Ageing and relationships: inter and intra-generational friendship, age heterogamy, familial roles (mothers, fathers, grandparents), sociability
  • Ageing and intersectionality (gender, class, sexuality, race, religion, nation)
  • Developments in critical gerontology, view of the field in relation to C19th studies
  • Ageing and authorship: juvenilia and ‘late style’, age and critical reception
  • Materiality of ageing: souvenirs, tokens, evocative objects
  • Ageing and the body: health, illness, puberty/menopause, sexuality
  • Ageism, gerontophobia, ageing as decline and counter-cultural narratives
  • Ageing as cultural performance, age-consciousness and (dis)identification
  • Nostalgia, recollection, memory
  • Ageing in the light of faith/doubt
  • Ageing and a sense of place: home, travel, institutions, nature, revisiting and returning

We are delighted that a selection of papers from the conference will form the basis of a special issue on ‘Narratives of Ageing in the Nineteenth Century’ for the journal Age, Culture, Humanities to appear in 2021: http://ageculturehumanities.org/WP/

Submit a proposal to aculley@lincoln.ac.uk– Please send proposals of no more than 200 words by 30 April 2019.

CFP – Bodies, Borders, and Boundaries: Embodiments of Multicultural and Transnational Children

Call for Papers
Children’s Literature Association Sponsored Session, MLA 2020
Bodies, Borders, and Boundaries: Embodiments of Multicultural and Transnational Children
January 9-12 at Seattle, Washington

Scholars such as Emer O’Sullivan and Adrian Bailey have written about the need to look past the universal model of childhood, and to consider children as being part of a complex,
intercultural and globalized world. O’Sullivan denies the existence of the “universal republic of childhood” by noting that “the concept of the universal child is a Romantic abstraction which ignores the real conditions of children’s communications across borders” (18). Indeed, the cultural constructions of children are diverse, and perceptions of childhood are further complicated in the globalized world. Michael Hames-García’s term, “multiplicity,” is one way of explaining the embodiment of the transnational and/or multicultural child. “Multiplicity,” according to Hames- García, is “the mutual constitution and overlapping of simultaneously experienced and politically significant categories such as ability, citizenship, class, ethnicity, gender, race, religion, and sexuality”; “[r]ather than existing as essentially separate axes that sometimes intersect, social identities blend, constantly and differently, expanding one another and mutually constituting one another’s meanings” (13). The body of the transnational, multicultural child is also one that occupies several matrices at once. This raises a significant question about one’s seemingly inherent composition: what makes one Nigerian, or Mexican, or Indian? Is it one’s citizenship status? Language? Race? Ancestry? Or is it a combination of these? Further, how are intangible aspects of one’s identity embodied and enacted? And how do they affect a body’s navigation through geographical and/or cultural borders? This panel examines how intersecting identities affect children who navigate our hyper-globalized world.

It is especially important to inquire into the relationship between the body of the child and the boundaries they straddle. With events such as the child refugee crisis in Syria, the recruitment of child soldiers in Uganda, and the state-approved incarceration of children on our very borders, there is an urgent need to examine the representation of the embodiment of transnational, multicultural children in literature and media. Borrowing from the work of Kevin Dunn who draws attention to the fact that “[m]igration research has always been about bodies,” and to the idea of “embodied transnationalism,” we seek papers that examine how the body of the child/adolescent negotiates borders and boundaries (1). Keeping in mind that cultural identities are not always social constructions, we invite scholarship that considers the heterogeneity and plurality of the body with particular regard to children’s and young adult literature. Relevant topics include but are not restricted to the following:

  • Visible and invisible borders and boundaries
  • Translingual and transnational borders and boundaries
  • Migration and migrant literature
  • Multicultural and multiracial bodies
  • Geographical and political spaces
  • Socio cultural, historical, and (inter)religious spaces
  • Coloniality, postcoloniality, and tribal sovereignty
  • Materiality of the maternal body
  • Sexual and queer citizenship, and transcending gender binaries
  • Anthropomorphic and monstrous bodies
  • Resistance, empowerment, subjugation, and authority of adult, adolescent, and child bodies
  • Disability and the boundaries of differently-abled bodies
  • Cyborg bodies, posthumanism, and ecocriticism
  • Intersectional scholarship and interdisciplinary studies
  • Social media activism and digital boundaries
  • Political commentary and activism
  • Child soldiers, the war on terror, and perspectives on violence
  • Trauma studies and narratives of witnessing
  • Water (as a fluid/liminal space)
  • Magical, fantastic, carnivalesque, and other liminal spaces
  • Metatextual, postmodern and peritextual spaces
  • Breaking boundaries through poetry
  • Visible and invisible borders and boundaries in picture books, comics, graphic narratives, and films

Please email your paper proposals to Tharini Viswanath and Nithya Sivashankar at bordersandboundariesmla2020@gmail.com by March 1, 2019 (11.59 p.m. EST). Your Word/PDF documents should include the following:

a) Author(s’) name(s) and affiliation(s)
b) E-mail address for correspondence
c) Proposal (450-500 words)
d) Author(s’) bio(s) (of up to 100 words)

CFP – Evil Children: Children and Evil

Evil Children: Children and Evil
Monday, 15 July 2019 – Tuesday, 16 July 2019
Verona, Italy

The idea of the child as innocent, as pure, the “little angel” in need of protection from the harsh realities of life and the corrupting influences of the world around us has come to dominate our thinking, language, values, social policies and educational philosophies in the past few decades. Children are seen as “little people,” “blank slates,” works in progress who are loved, nurtured and guided as they grow to become mature, rational and responsible adults.

Yet we are also aware of the mischievous “little monsters,” the “little devils” who run exasperated parents ragged. The toddlers who chase pigeons; kick cats; pull the wings off flies and the legs off spiders. Children of whom we become afraid; who abuse other children; who assault each other, strangers, parents, the elderly. Children who “roam” and “own” the streets, individually or “in packs”; who are put “into care”; who commit crimes; who smoke, drink, and take drugs. Feral children. Children who rape. Children who torture. Children who kill. Children who are “possessed”: demonic children, evil children who do evil things.

This research stream will juggle with three competing approaches to children and evil. The first concerns itself with how (certain) children have been presented as evil and considers the nature of evil children as a social and cultural construct. The second concerns what is meant by “innocence” – in all contexts – and then particularly the “innocence of a child.” The third approach considers the question of whether and, if so, in what ways children can be evil. Are children wicked? Are children malicious? What does it mean to be personally, socially, legally and morally responsible? And, if responsibility exists, at what point does one assume responsibility for one’s acts? What is it about the special status of “childhood” that somehow makes it different?

The inaugural launch of this inclusive interdisciplinary conference will begin to examine, explore and undermine issues surrounding the general idea of the child as innocent and explore all aspects of evil children and the relationship between children and evil with a view to forming a publication to engender further collaboration and discussion. It will probe the dichotomies and ambiguities of our understanding and constructs of children, childhood, the passage through childhood to adulthood and the relationship with personal and social values, morals and responsibilities. It will map the ways in which children could or should be held accountable for the things they do and the contexts in which they are subject to influencing factors and conditions. And it will assess the use of “evil” in relation to children and childhood in historical and contemporary cultures.

Topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Innocence and evil; innocent evil
  • Evil and age; does age matter?
  • Children: mad, bad or something else?
  • Children, evil and empathy
  • The child as perpetrator
  • Normal children; aberrant children
  • The vilification of children
  • Evil, children and/in Fairy Tales: Folk Lore and evil children
  • Evil, children and the supernatural
  • Evil and the end of childhood
  • Legal perspectives
  • Forensic and Clinical/Biological perspectives
  • Child murderers; children who kill
  • Evil, children and the military. Children and war. Child soldiers
  • Infanticide
  • Evil in the playground
  • Evil, children and/in literature (e.g., Jack Merridew, Lord of the Flies; Frank Cauldhame, The Wasp Factory)
  • Evil, children and/in films (e.g., “Chuckie,” “Ben,” Damien Torne, Henry Evans, Isaac Chroner, Regan MacNeill)
  • Evil, children and tv (e.g., Joffrey Baratheon, Kevin Katchadourian, Stewie Griffin)
  • Children in Horror Literature (“Carrie”)
  • “Protecting” children from evil (film ratings, etc.)
  • “Original Sin” and evil children
  • Children in Victorian drama or literature: victims and perpetrators
  • Children, disability and evil
  • Bastard children (e.g., Shakespeare)
  • The psychology and psychopathology of evil children
  • Economics of children and evil
  • Cross-cultural perspectives of children and evil
  • Children, evil and social policies
  • Children, education and evil
  • Inherited evils: the sins of the parents; children, evil and family
  • Children who become evil adults

We invite people from all disciplines, professions and vocations to come together in dialogue, to provide a space and a level of legitimacy for a subject, or subjects that is traditionally seen as unimaginable, a socially taboo and even associated with pathology, by providing a forum for ideas and arguments that might otherwise not receive adequate attention and discussion. The ultimate goal is in a sense to expose the current topic to the light of day for examination of the intellectual, the emotional and the personal.

Currently, the significant areas of interest include literature, sociology, communications, art, psychology, politics, philosophy, history, anthropology, and other social sciences and humanities. Yet the scope of the conference is not limited to these fields or studies as it does not strike to narrowly define, or define at all, what areas constitute the significant not to eliminate the spirit of interdisciplinary efforts. The meeting is also open to other fields such as biology, biochemistry, political sciences, economics, etc. This kind of interdisciplinary engagement is always enjoyable and fruitful and makes for good networking and collaborative possibilities. Activists, anthropologists, archaeologies, archivists, artists and other creative professionals, civil servants, members of the clergy, clinicians, correctional authorities, historians, journalists, jurists and other legal professionals, military personnel, researchers, writers and others with an interest in the project are encouraged to submit proposals.

What to Send
The aim of this interdisciplinary conference and collaborative networking event is to bring people together and encourage creative conversations in the context of a variety of formats: papers, seminars, workshops, storytelling, performances, poster presentations, panels, q&a’s, roundtables etc.

300 word proposals, presentations, abstracts and other forms of contribution and participation should be submitted by Friday, 22 February 2019. Other forms of participation should be discussed in advance with the Organising Chair.

All submissions will be minimally double reviewed, under anonymous (blind) conditions, by a global panel drawn from members of the Project Development Team and the Advisory Board. In practice our procedures usually entail that by the time a proposal is accepted, it will have been triple and quadruple reviewed.

You will be notified of the panel’s decision by Friday, 8 March 2019.

If your submission is accepted for the conference, a full draft of your contribution should be submitted by Friday, 31 May 2019.

Abstracts and proposals may be in Word, PDF, RTF or Notepad formats with the following information and in this order:
a) author(s), b) affiliation as you would like it to appear in the programme, c) email address, d) title of proposal, e) body of proposal, f) up to 10 keywords.

E-mails should be entitled: Evil Children Submission.

Early Bird Submission and Discount
Submissions received on or before Friday 18th January 2019 will be eligible for a 10% registration fee discount.

Where to Send
Abstracts should be submitted simultaneously to the Organising Chair and the Project Administrator:
Dr Robert Fisher: robevilchild@progressiveconnexions.net
Project Administrator: veronaevilchild@progressiveconnexions.net

CFP – Playing at the Boundaries: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Play in Children’s Literature, Media and Culture

PLAY2018: Playing at the Boundaries: An Interdisciplinary Forum on Play in Children’s Literature, Media and Culture
Cambridge University
Cambridge, UK, September 12-14, 2019

Confirmed Keynotes:

Marah Gubar – Associate Professor, MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences
Paul Ramchandani – LEGO Professor of Play in Education, Development and Learning, The University of Cambridge Faculty of Education

Metamorphosis and multiplicity have increasingly come to characterise the media landscape of the twenty-first century. Emerging technologies of production, distribution, and consumption not only allow texts to travel new and often unpredictable circuits, but also lower the thresholds of participation in cultural life, producing a new generation of “produsers” (Bruns 2008). In this environment, children’s literature, media and culture have gone mainstream, as stories overspill the edges of their texts and dissolve the boundaries that have conventionally separated different media forms and disciplines. At this juncture, we would like to invite scholars to join us in experimenting with the forms and shapes of our own discipline; to play, if you will.

The current cultural moment demands that scholars welcome approaches that are themselves nimble, dynamic, responsive and experimental, particularly from those of us who study childhood and its ephemera. Taking inspiration from play theorists such as Thomas Henricks, this conference proposes play as a metaphor through which to look anew at our field in this new era of border crossings. Play is not only action, but a mode of interaction and activity; a disposition, an experience and ultimately a context (Henricks ‘Theme and Variation’, 136). Such understandings of play open up new ways of thinking about the ways cultural products are engaged in everyday life – as a potential form of imaginative play, or an act through which texts becomes animated. Additionally, through their connotations of interaction and motion, they allow scholars to inhabit the intersections and overlaps between fields that are an increasingly common feature of the current cultural moment.

We therefore invite papers that explore the place of play in children’s literature, media and culture in experimental, transgressive, and creative ways. We encourage scholars from the fields of children’s literature, screen studies, games studies, media and communication, material culture and, of course, scholars studying play from both theoretical and empirical perspectives, to join us in considering the latent metacritical potentials of play and its diverse modes and forms in bridging disciplinary divides.

PSpecific topics include but are not limited to:

  • Text as plaything, playmate, playspace: the book as material object – as toy, as media, as technology, as haptic text etc.
  • Power Play: Play as criticism; the infantilisation of play; the role of play in demarcating high and low culture, adult and child culture, or traditional and experimental art
  • Play as aesthetic: What makes a text playful? What is the look and feel of a playful text?
  • History of Play: Play and material culture; evolution of play; cultural construction of play
  • Playing with texts: adaptation and transmediation in children’s literature, media and culture; the place of the child in relation to participatory cultures, fan studies etc.
  • Interplay: Analysing other media forms (comics, films, animation, comics, video games) from a children’s literature perspective; interdisciplinary approaches to the study of children’s literature media and culture and playing with theory
  • Performative Play: theater, animation, apps, games as playful forms; interactivity and embodiment in children’s media consumption
  • Play as subversion: play and agency; play and creativity
  • Wordplay: interpretation, meaning-making as form of creative play

Proposals of 250 words for a 20-minute paper should be sent, together with a 100-word bio, to playingattheboundaries@gmail.com by January 7, 2019. We also encourage panel and round table proposals, especially those that that seek to employ unconventional modes of presentation.

CFP – Being Human in Young Adult Literatures Symposium

CFP: Being Human in Young Adult Literatures Symposium
Friday 17th May 2019
University of Roehampton, London
National Centre for Research in Children’s Literature (NCRCL)

What does it mean to be human? Identity categories such as race, religion, gender, ability, size, and age intersect in definitions of the self, shaping how we construct ourselves and are perceived by others. Humanity is also under scrutiny, as other forms of consciousness help define what we are and what we are not. A growing corpus of young adult narratives across a range of genres and media attempt to engage with the plurality of the human experience.

The NCRCL’s symposium will consider how “being human” is explored through YA narratives, beginning with a keynote paper from renowned YA literature critic Dr. Alison Waller.

Suggested topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Sex and sexuality
  • Gender identity and/or expression
  • Religion
  • Race
  • Ability and/or disability
  • Mental health
  • A.I./cyborgs/post-human
  • Animal/human
  • Aging
  • Body image
  • Mortality and death
  • Genre and the construction of human experience
  • Performativity

This symposium invites papers from a range of disciplines addressing young adult narratives. It welcomes papers from postgraduate students, early career researchers, and academics.

Abstracts of no more than 250 words and a short bio should be sent to Emily Corbett at corbette@roehampton.ac.uk by 31 January 2019.

CFP – Atrocity in Children’s Literature

CFP: Atrocity in Children’s Literature
Collection edited by Victoria Nesfield and Philip Smith

“But what, then, is a naturalistic writer for children to do? Can he present the child with evil and an insoluble problem…. To give a child a picture of… gas chambers… or famines or the cruelties of a psychotic patient, and say, ‘Well, baby, this is how it is, what are you going to make of it?’ – that is surely unethical. If you suggest that there is a ‘solution’ to these monstrous facts, you are lying to the child. If you insist that there isn’t, you are overwhelming him with a load he is not strong enough yet to carry.”
-Ursula Le Guin, The Language of the Night, 1992

Atrocity, as Ursula Le Guin suggests, presents a problem to the writer of children’s literature. To represent events of such terrible magnitude and impersonal will as the Holocaust, the Transatlantic Slave Trade or the Rwandan Genocide such that they fit into a three-act structure with a comprehensible moral (to serve, in the words of Adrienne Kertzer, “our need for hope and happy endings”) is to do a disservice to the victims. Yet to confront the child with the fact of wide-scale violence without resolution is, Le Guin argues, to confront him of her with realities which may be emotionally disturbing and even damaging.

Others, among them CS Lewis and Elizabeth R Baer, have argued, conversely, that children’s literature represents an ideal site for (to use Baer’s term) “confrontational” texts, where children can first encounter historical truths in a safe and guided environment. These concerns can be even more pressing when one considers that the audience for such works may, themselves, be victims of atrocity either directly or by heritage. In such settings a literature of atrocity may help a child to make sense of his or her own life or the lives of his or her parents and grandparents.

Even if we accept the value of children’s literature which addresses atrocity, however, problems remain. Scholars such as Lawrence L Langer argue that the ethics of atrocity literature must be tempered by the question of what can be articulated – that atrocity as a lived experience must remain, at least in part, beyond the possibility of representation.

Despite these challenges, the question of atrocity remains a recurring theme in children’s literature. The 1980s saw an outpouring of works which engaged with the Holocaust and the trend shows no sign of abating, with new works such as (to name just one) Gavriel Savit’s Anna and the Swallow Man (2017). Indeed, the features of Holocaust literature for children have informed other texts which approach the question of atrocity such as, as Yoo Kyung Sung argues, Korean picture books which concern the lives of “comfort women” during World War II.

This edited collection seeks original contributions on the problem of atrocity in children’s literature. We are particularly interested in contributions which engage with comics for children, recent or otherwise under-discussed works, and international children’s literature. We welcome literary analysis, arguments which take a historical view, and reports from education professionals.

Abstracts of 100-200 words due by January 15. First drafts will be due June 15. Please send proposals to atrocityinchildrenslit@gmail.com.

Drs. Victoria Nesfield and Philip Smith are co-editors of The Struggle for Understanding: The Fiction of Elie Wiesel (forthcoming from SUNY Press in 2019). Dr. Philip Smith is the author of Reading Art Spiegelman (Routledge, 2015).

CFP – Beyond Boundaries: Authorship and Readership in Life Writing

Call for papers: Beyond Boundaries: Authorship and Readership in Life Writing
A two-day conference held at Tilburg University, the Netherlands, 24 and 25 October 2019

In “The Limits of Life Writing” David McCooey (2017) argues that in life-writing studies, the concept of limits or boundaries plays a central role. Since the rise of auto/biography studies in the 1970s and 1980s critical attention has been paid to generic limits and the limits concerning the auto/biographical subject. With respect to the former, discussions have evolved in particular around the boundaries between literary and factual writing, and between verbal, graphic, audio-visual and digital forms of life writing. In regard to the latter, academics since the 1990s have given attention to the expansion of auto/biographical subjects previously marginalized, which has deepened, among other things, the cross-cultural understanding of experience and identity. This expansion of auto/biographical subjects, but also the rise of social media as a medium for life writing have contested the limits of selfhood.

However, some other limits have gone largely unnoticed in life-writing research so far. Two of them will be the center of attention during this conference, one having to do with readership, and the other concerned with authorship. Until now little attention has been paid to the boundaries between life writing for adults on the one hand and life writing for young readers on the other. Crossing these boundaries can provide fruitful debates about how the reader matters and how studying the reception and addressed audiences of life writing is important.

Another issue that has not received much attention in life writing research is the boundary between life writing by adult authors and life narratives by young people. As Douglas and Poletti (2016) argue, the contribution of young writers to life writing has so far been largely overlooked. How do they relate to narratives by adults? How similar or different are the ways in which adult and young writers engage in modes of self-representation? And what is the influence of social media on life writing by young people?

We welcome presentations on authorship and readership in different forms of life writing by adult and young authors, marketed to adult and young readers. To what extent do authors use life writing to put issues of power, voice and agency on the public agenda? How do readers matter in the way authors of life writing address themselves to them? What are the similarities and differences between life writing for an adult audience and for young readers? What aspects define (successful) dual-audience life writing?

As life writing is relevant for academic disciplines such as the humanities and social sciences, in particular children’s literature, literature and culture studies, ethnography, anthropology and philosophy, we look forward to receiving proposals from researchers working in these fields, and to discussing disciplinary boundaries at the conference.

Subthemes are

  • Cultural diversity
  • Transnational life writing
  • Life writing in text and images
  • Offline and online life writing
  • Gender issues in life writing
  • LGTBQ life writing
  • Dual-audience life writing
  • Creating childhoods through life writing

Keynote speakers (confirmed): Prof.dr. Anna Poletti (Utrecht University, The Netherlands) and prof.dr. Lydia Kokkola (Lulea University, Sweden)

Conference organizers: Prof.dr. Helma van Lierop (Tilburg University), Dr. Jane McVeigh (University of Roehampton), Dr. Monica Soeting (European Journal of Life Writing)

Abstracts consisting of a maximum of 250 words, a title, an indication of the subtheme your abstract fits in best, name, institutional affiliation or status as independent scholar, email address and a short bio of no more than 150 words should be sent before 15 March 2019 to Prof.Dr. Helma van Lierop at h.vanlierop@tilburguniversity.edu.