CFP – The Spatial Dynamics of Children’s Series Literature

Call for Papers: The Spatial Dynamics of Children’s Series Literature
Editors: Michael G. Cornelius, Marybeth Richards, and Courtney Gotham, Wilson College

“Geography,” Nedra Reynolds asserts, “fixes identities” (149). That is to say, where we come from—and where we are, literally, spatially, environmentally, figuratively—has a huge impact on who we are. Of course, theories of space and place also hold that the converse is equally true—that we have an impact on those spaces and places we inhabit and/or dwell within. We make space: our agencies, our cultures, our beliefs and values and understandings shape the macro- and micro-environments around us. And yet, just as much, those places we inhabit shape us, causing us to adapt ourselves to them, causing us to learn how to fit—to fit in, to fit out, to fit up—or, just as relevant, how to simply exist within the spaces we daily inhabit.

This collection seeks to interrogate the nature of space and place within children’s series literature. It specifically seeks to interrogate the spatial dynamics of children’s series literature in both series books and books in a series. Scholars of children’s literature make important generic, structural, and cultural distinctions between books in a series and series books. Books in a series—such as the Little House books or The Hunger Games trilogy—often function as extended bildungsroman, books that explore the growth and maturation of their central character or characters. These books are hallmarked by change: not only do the dynamic character(s) at the heart of the story demonstrate corporeal and psychological development, but the other components of the books themselves demonstrate a sense of cultural, political, or social maturity. Series books, however, are dominated by static natures. The central character—usually a flat, unchanging trope more than a fully realized, fleshed out, dynamic figure—is a static creation. Often, these characters do not even age, let alone change. Typified by series like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, these books act as truly distinct counterparts to their books in a series kin.

The central characters in books in a series often have powerful relationships to the spaces that define them: Laura Ingalls in her Little House; Katniss Everdeen and the Capital; Harry Potter and Hogwarts. Changes in space are often indicative of powerful transformations within the protagonist figures as well. Series books are in some way opposite to this; though characters like Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys frequently move through different geographies, they almost never change as characters, not really. And yet one could argue that the only dynamic that ever experiences any alteration in a series like Nancy Drew is setting. Nancy travels the world; inhabits rural, suburban, and urban space; visits regional and contested space; some series characters even inhabit outer spaces or underwater realms, if only for a time. Surely there is something significant about the relationship of series books to those spaces their protagonists inhabit?

The editors of this collection seek essays that explore the spatial dynamics found within children’s series literature, whether books in a series or series books (or those series that are not easy to define as one or the other). Essays should focus primarily on one series, though others can be brought in as a point of referent. The ideas contained in this call for papers are meant to be jumping off points for your own essays; we are open to a wide range of papers exploring the subject at hand.

All essays should be between 5000-7000 words. Abstracts are due 1 September 2019. Deadline for essays is 31 January 2020. Contact the chief editor, Michael Cornelius (, with any questions you may have concerning the project.

Email abstracts and questions to Michael:

CFP – Edited Collection on Plants in Children’s and YA Literature

Call for Papers
Edited Collection on Plants in Children’s and YA Literature
Editors: Melanie Duckworth and Lykke Guanio-Uluru

From the forests of the tales of the Brothers’ Grimm to Enid Blyton’s The Faraway Tree, from Piglet’s house in Winnie the Pooh to the treehouse in Andy Griffith and Terry Denton’s popular 13 Story Treehouse series, trees have been enduring features of stories for children. Trees act as gateways to other worlds, as liminal spaces, as markers of permanence and change, and as metonyms of childhood itself. The joy of “climbing a tree” is a familiar trope of childhood. Plants more generally also crowd the pages, forming both the vibrant jungle in Where the Wild Things Are, and the clothes and dwellings of Cicely Mary Barker’s flower fairies and May Gibbs’s gumnut babies. They sometimes wear a more sinister aspect, as in John Wyndham’s The Day of the Triffids, J. K. Rowling’s Whomping Willow, and Tolkien’s Old Forest in The Hobbit. When Emmi Itäranta imagines Northern Finland in a future marked by climate change in Memory of Water, plants are the only available source of food. And where would Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight vampires hide and hunt if not in the forest?

In the field of the Environmental Humanities, an increased fascination with plants is apparent, as can be seen in works such as Michael Pollan’s The Botany of Desire (2001), Jeffrey T. Nealon’s Plant Theory: Biopower and Vegetable Life (2015), Luce Irigaray and Michael Marder’s Through Vegetal Being (2016), and in Donna Haraway’s focus on “humusities” in Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthulucene (2016). Plants are also rearing their heads in science and popular science books such as Stefano Manusco and Alessandra Viola’s Brilliant Green: The Surprising History and Science of Plant Intelligence (2015) and Peter Wohlleben’s The Hidden Life of Trees (2015), which both claim that plants have sophisticated ways of communicating with each other. As Ursula K. le Guin put it in Late in the Day: “Descartes and the behaviorists willfully saw dogs as machines, without feeling. Is seeing plants as without feeling a similar arrogance? One way to stop seeing trees, or rivers, or hills, only as ‘natural resources,’ is to class them as fellow beings — kinfolk” (2015). This is precisely the approach taken by Matthew Hall in Plants as Persons: A Philosophical Botany (2011). Children’s literature is in a unique position to explore representations of plants as kin, as homes, as ways of being.

While plants have been included as aspects of previous forays into ecocritism and children’s literature, we believe a sustained, comparative approach to this topic is timely. How do plants in children’s literature present images of vegetal agency, heritage and futurity? What might a plant-centric approach to children’s literature have to offer the broader field of plant studies? How do the plants entwined through children’s and young adult literature support or destabilize traditional readings? We are calling for international and historically diverse approaches which might consider topics such as:

  • Plants and posthumanism in children’s literature
  • Norse myth and the world tree in children’s literature
  • Moral, didactic and religious plants
  • The forest and the fairytale
  • Plants in children’s poetry or non-fiction
  • The treehouse in children’s literature
  • Plants in urban settings
  • Magical plants
  • Plants in children’s literature from indigenous cultures
  • Plants and national identity in children’s literature
  • Plants in YA fantasy, science fiction and climate fiction

This collection is intended for publication with a major academic publisher in the US or Europe.


  • Submission deadline for abstracts (max 350 words), accompanied by a brief biographical statement: September 30, 2019
  • Authors notified of preliminary acceptance: October 30, 2019
  • Publisher identified and preliminary contract finalized: December 2019
  • Submission deadline for chapters (about 5000 to 6000 words, max. word length and documentation style pending publisher’s requirements): April 30, 2020

Please send abstracts and any questions to:
Melanie Duckworth:
Lykke Guanio-Uluru:

CFP – Fantasy and Myth in the Anthropocene

Call for papers for edited collection
Fantasy and Myth in the Anthropocene
Brian Attebery, Tereza Dědinová and Marek Oziewicz (Eds.)

“Fantasy’s main claim to cultural importance resides, I believe, in the work of redefining the relationship between contemporary readers and mythic texts. … [If we take] myth … to designate any collective story that encapsulates a world view and authorizes belief, … fantasy offers a glimpse into the process by which mythic patterns transmit cognitive structures even without the sanction of official belief. … Fantasy’s enduring appeal is [its] capacity for mythopoiesis: the making of narratives that reshape the world.”
(Brian Attebery, Stories about Stories: Fantasy and the Remaking of Myth)

“The Anthropocene is a belief that humanity has already changed the living world beyond repair … [and that] the destiny of the planet is to be completely overtaken and ruled by humanity. … Like most mistaken philosophies, the Anthropocene worldview is largely a product of well-intentioned ignorance.”
(Edward O. Wilson, Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life)

In October 2018, the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report stating that unless “unprecedented,” “rapid and far-reaching” changes are made, our planet will find itself spiraling into irreversible and catastrophic climate change. Technological and political challenges aside, the reversal of the current ecocidal trajectory requires a radical transformation of how we imagine ourselves in relation to the biosphere. One key space where this work of collective dreaming occurs is myth, fantasy and other genres of speculative fiction. Fantasy and myth have been used to explore the notions of heroism, identity, and power; raise questions about the meaning and purpose of life; express social criticism and speculate about the unseen. But what do these questions mean at a time when human activity has altered the planet in game-changing ways?

The aim of this collection is to explore the new challenges and opportunities for fantasy and myth that arose out of highly contested debates over climate change, pollution, vanishing habitats, extinctions, mass pauperization and migrations, and other effects of the Anthropocene. What does fantastic literature have to say about the human-caused changes of the Anthropocene? Do myths about a lost Eden justify the destruction of habitats and species or do they encourage us to change the way we live? What makes fantasy and myth relevant in the Anthropocene? How exactly can they function as vehicles for hopeful dreaming that steers clear of naïvete and helps us imagine alternatives to the Capitalocene’s vision of petrochemical Ragnarok? Can myth and fantasy point a way to restoring the connection with the natural rather than the supernatural? Can they articulate a vision of non-anthropocentric life, in which humans are part of rather than rulers of the biosphere?

Fantasy and Myth in the Anthropocene seeks original contributions dealing with any sort of interaction between fantastic or mythopoeic fictions and the realities of climate change, megacities, the carbon economy and the other alterations we have made to the environment. While we recognize the contribution of dystopia and science fiction to this debate, this collection aims to offer a sustained reflection upon the nexus of fantasy, myth, and the Anthropocene. We encourage contributors to draw upon a range of theoretical approaches and cultural positions: Indigenous futurism, Donna Haraway’s Chthulucene, solarpunk, energy humanities, human-animal studies, posthumanism, ecocriticism, evocriticism, and whatever else offers insight into the present age and the stories we tell about it. We welcome proposals that examine graphic novels, picturebooks, short stories, novels, films, narrative games and apps, and other mixed-media formats. We are particularly interested in contributions that engage with works for the young audiences, Indigenous futures, minority and postcolonial fantasy, recent and under-discussed works, including international and global narratives, and works originally published in languages other than English—as well as how these diverse works stimulate conversations about the Anthropocene with young people. We seek chapters on how exactly myth and fantasy accept, ignore, or interrogate the Anthropocene’s key issues and assumptions. Whose visions of change do they articulate or exclude? Ultimately, can fantasy and myth help us rethink what it means to be human at the time Amitav Gosh has dubbed “The Great Derangement”?

This collection is intended for publication with a major academic publisher in the US or Europe.


  • Submission deadline for abstracts (max 350 words, incl. title and 5 keywords), accompanied by the author’s CV: August 31, 2019
  • Authors notified of preliminary acceptance: September 30, 2019
  • Publisher identified and preliminary contract finalized: fall 2019
  • Submission deadline for chapters (about 5000 to 6000 words, max. word length and documentation style pending publisher’s requirements): June 15, 2020
  • Peer review completed. Revision suggestions sent to authors: September 30, 2020
  • Revised chapter drafts submitted for final editorial review: November 15, 2020
  • Final manuscript submitted for copy-editing by the publisher: early spring 2021

For info and updates about the collection, see the project’s website.

If you have any questions, please contact the co-editors at

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 by 1 May 2019. For more information, see:

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 ( and to Virginie Douglas (

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

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:

Submit a proposal to– 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 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:
Project Administrator:

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 by January 7, 2019. We also encourage panel and round table proposals, especially those that that seek to employ unconventional modes of presentation.