CFP: “Nevertheless, she persisted”: Girls, Literature for Girls, and the Politics of Persistence Studies

Special issue of Women’s Studies

In 2017, Mitch McConnell explained his silencing of Senator Elizabeth Warren by stating, “She had appeared to violate the rule. She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

“Nevertheless, she persisted” has become a feminist rallying cry, but literary girls have been expected to be persistent long before McConnell made this phrase famous. Indeed, persistence has been applied to innumerable heroines of girls’ literature, from Jo March to Anne Shirley, Cassie Logan, Starr Carter, and Katniss Everdeen. Characters such as these persevere in the face of hardship and oppression, accomplishing the impossible while challenging familial and societal norms. In so doing, they have created a specific narrative for readers: if a girl character persists, she can do anything, and thus, so can real life girls.

This special issue of Women’s Studies examines persistence in girls’ literature by questioning the narrative that girls are expected to persist. Are girls ever allowed to give up?  What emotional labour is associated with persistence? We seek papers from a global audience of scholars that draw on current Girlhood Studies and children’s literature scholarship to examine the ongoing theme of girlhood persistence. Topics may include:

  • girls’ persistence in lesser-known texts
  • persistence by Othered protagonists (including racialized girlhoods, sexualized girlhoods, trans or fluid girlhoods, and/or girls with disabilities)
  • the context of real-life girl readers and real-life girl writers
  • historical contextualization of persistent girls in children’s or young adult literature
  • persistent girls and political movements, such as civil rights, climate change, gender equity, LGBTQ2S+ rights, and disability rights among others
  • biographies of persistent girlhoods

Deadlines: Please submit abstracts of 500 words and a brief biography by June 1, 2021 to Amanda Allen (aallen36@emich.edu) and Miranda Green-Barteet (mgreenb6@uwo.ca). Articles of 6,500 words will be due on Nov. 1, 2021. This special issue of Women’s Studies is slated for publication in late-2022.

 

CFP: Players and Pawns: Political Childhoods, Political Children

Special Session, MLA (Modern Language Association) 2022
Location/Dates: Washington DC, 6-9th January, 2022
Deadline for submissions: March 5, 2021
Organization: Children’s Literature Division, MLA
Contact email: mgreenb6@uwo.ca

“Think of the children,” we say, again and again using the child as the object of political discourse. Policies and laws governing everything from education and public health to minimum wage and sexual relations are enacted with the intent of protecting children and improving their lives. So often, however, children are denied the ability to be perceived and accepted as political agents themselves. In fact, when children and teens, such as Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, Mari Copeny (Little Miss Flint), and David Hogg, among many others, become involved in politics, adults often criticize their efforts, arguing that children possess neither the experiences nor the knowledge to be involved in political discussions or to advocate for policy changes.

As children’s and YA literature affirms, children and teens both are used for the political gain of others and are themselves interested in politics. Drawing on children’s and YA literature, as well as films and other forms of youth media, this panel considers what it means to be a political child and/or how children are used by politicians. In other words, in what ways are children players in the game of politics, and in what ways are they pawns?

Papers might consider the following questions:

  • What are the politics of the child?
  • How is the political child constructed by adults? By children?
  • What kinds of childhood are instrumentalized by people in positions of power, and to what end?
  • What does it mean to “fight for the children?” How does the desire to protect children affect political children? What is the politics of childhood without the guise of futurity?
  • What is the child’s role in politics? Who is included and excluded from being a political child?
  • In what ways do children and teens resist political power? How might children politicize themselves?
  • Which possibilities or which limitations of children’s agency are inherent in political discourse?
  • How does the political child collaborate with the political adult?
  • What is the connection between anti-fascism and children’s and youth media?

Please submit 300-word abstracts and a brief biography to Miranda Green-Barteet (mgreenb6@uwo.ca) by March 5, 2021.

CFP: Nightmare Before Christmas

CFP:  Nightmare Before Christmas (Key Films/Filmmakers in Animation series, Bloomsbury)

This edited collection will consider Nightmare Before Christmas as a milestone in animation and film history as well as a key cultural object with lasting impact. The book will be inserted in Bloomsbury’s Key Film/Filmmakers in Animation series.

In the thirty years since its release, Nightmare Before Christmas has drawn repeated academic attention. Many of these contributions have seen the film as an entry point to larger arguments about Tim Burton’s work, whether in terms of its animation (Cuthill 2017), representations of gender (Mitchell 2017), and use of fairy tales (Burger 2017). Less often, Nightmare Before Christmas has been considered in relation to other frameworks, such as its presence beyond the film industry, in theme parks (Williams 2020a, 2020b), and the way it negotiated changing cultural expectations of children’s media and horror (Antunes 2020). Though this literature has shed light on several aspects of the film’s significance, there is to date no sustained scholarly inquiry that brings these insights together and examines the historical and cultural significance specifically of Nightmare Before Christmas. This edited collection seeks to address this gap, considering the different layers of meanings and history of Nightmare Before Christmas from pre-production to the present day.

Nightmare Before Christmas was released quietly in 1993 under Disney’s Touchstone banner and sold primarily on the art-house appeal of its animation technique, amid fears that a close association with child audiences would harm Disney’s reputation. But the film was an immediate success and has since been reclaimed by Disney as one of its most beloved family titles. Growing into a cult phenomenon, Nightmare Before Christmas still cultivates a dedicated fandom across the globe today with an array of merchandise, tie-in products, and other media.

Nightmare Before Christmas marks an important moment of technological development in stop-motion animation, and the technique has continued to have a key presence in the industry, particularly associated with horror- and gothic-inspired narratives (Selick’s Coraline and ParaNoman, or Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie), where it blurs questions of suitability for child audiences and continues to fuel debates about the art of animated films and its target audiences. Indeed, the specific combination of stop-motion and children’s horror in Nightmare Before Christmas is key to how the film has negotiated genre, suitability, and other cultural categories in its original and retrospective reception, questions which often become tangled with ideas of nostalgia.

More recently, Nightmare Before Christmas continues to serve as a point of reference for negotiations of genre and of the boundaries between mainstream and niche cultures, both on screen and in spaces of fandom. Its many afterlives expand well beyond the film industry, occupying manga and comic books , board games, and other paraphernalia, as well as physical rooted localities through events such as the live-staged musical, theme parks, and in exhibits (Hicks 2013), as well as through the fan practices that the film has inspired, such as fan fashion (Cuthill 2017) and makeup, cosplay, textual production, and transcultural fandom.

How can we best understand Nightmare Before Christmas and its significance in the history of film and animation? What is Nightmare Before Christmas’ legacy thirty years on, and how does it continue to challenge and delight audiences, scholars, and industry today?

This book aims to collect diverse and original insights into the meanings and impacts of Nightmare Before Christmas from a range of disciplinary perspectives and methods. Some suggested topics include:

  • Nightmare Before Christmasin animation and film history;
  • animation and genre (musicals/fairy tales/horror/family/etc);
  • narrative structure in Nightmare Before Christmas and the audience;
  • stop-motion as animation technique and cultural object;
  • animation and branding practices;
  • Nightmare Before Christmasas seasonal media (Christmas/Halloween);
  • suitability, animation, and young audiences;
  • children’s horror animation before and after Nightmare Before Christmas;
  • animation and nostalgia;
  • animation, technology, and art;
  • the music of Nightmare Before Christmas(songs, covers, re-releases, etc.);
  • the politics of representation in Nightmare Before Christmas;
  • childhood in Nightmare Before Christmasand its associated texts and practices;
  • authorship and associated debates (Burton/Selick/Elfman/Disney), including the links between Nightmare Before Christmasand other works;
  • franchises and franchising relationships;
  • live and experiential events linked to the film (live musicals, theme park attractions, the Beetle House restaurants in New York and Los Angeles, Tim Burton exhibitions, etc.);
  • transmedia and merchandise (Funko figures, action figures, board games, clothing and make-up, cookbooks, etc.);
  • transnational critical and audience/fan reception;
  • fandom, subcultures (Goth/emo), and fan practices, including transformative works (fan animation, fanfiction, fan videos,…);
  • cosplay and the body in Nightmare Before Christmas

Questions and informal discussion can be directed to any of the three co-editors: Filipa Antunes (a.antunes@uea.ac.uk), Brittany Eldridge (brittany.eldridge.18@ucl.ac.uk), and Rebecca Williams (rebecca.williams@southwales.ac.uk). Formal proposals (under 300 words) and short bio should be emailed to Rebecca Williams by 3 May 2021.

 

CFP: Streetwise: Children’s Literature and Culture in the Modern City

CFP: for a MLA 2022 (Washington D.C.) Allied Organization Non-Guaranteed Panel

Co-sponsored by ChLA (Children’s Literature Association) and MSA (Modernist Studies Association)
Organizer: Kristin Bluemel, Monmouth University
Deadline for proposals: March 1, 2021

Streetwise: Children’s Literature and Culture in the Modern City

Over ten years ago Karin Westman bemoaned the “lack of discussion between the two terms children’s literature and modernism” in her editor’s introduction to a Children’s Literature Association Quarterly special issue on “Children’s Literature and Modernism: The Space Between” (283). Acknowledging the significance of Juliet Dusinberre’s “landmark” contribution Alice to the Lighthouse (1987) and Kimberley Reynolds’s Radical Children’s Literature (2007), she maintained that “even when individual authors connected to children’s literature read through a modernist critical lens, these contributions often get absorbed into existing critical conversations about children’s literature or existing critical conversations about modernism” (284-85). Returning to this argument in 2013 in “Beyond Periodization: Children’s Literature, Genre, and Remediating Literary History,” Westman cites the same exemplary models –Dusinberre, Reynolds — as she calls for “children’s literature [to become] an organizing principle for literary history” (464). This proposed MLA ChLA-sponsored special session, co-sponsored by the Modernist Studies Association, assumes that opportunity, not defeat, lies in Westman’s largely unanswered call. Navigating the streets of the modern city through children’s literature and culture, it does indeed promise to reorganize modernist literary history. It seeks to inspire critical conversations about original research that draws from and contributes to the fields of children’s literature and modernist studies; generate excitement about collaborative projects between ChLA scholars and scholars in the Modernist Studies Organization; provide session participants with a clearer sense of how our research on children’s texts and urban spaces can enrich theorizations of modernism and modernity; and guide next steps towards institutionalizing our work.

This “Streetwise” special session engages with the following questions: How did children’s literature of the late-nineteenth through early- to mid-twentieth centuries respond to and shape the modern city? How did the metropolitan materials and practices of adults – their books, places, and movements – shape the institutions, representations, and objects of childhood? The goal of this panel is to bring together scholars working at the intersection of children’s literary/cultural studies and modernist studies in order to answer these questions and open up new subjects, methods, traditions, and affiliations for future research.

Proposals for papers that treat diverse writers and voices, both within and outside of the canons of modern children’s and modernist literature, are especially encouraged. Possible topics for investigation include relations between the forces and forms of ideology (e.g., race, class, gender, region), space (e.g., pavements, playgrounds, parks), genre (e.g., jump rope rhymes, illustrated novels, picture books), period (e.g., pre-World War I, Depression era, wartime), aesthetics (e.g., middlebrow, avant-garde, commercial), literary history (e.g., of diverse nations, sexes, ethnic groups), media (e.g., print, radio, films), and institutions (e.g., urban schools, Theatre for Young Audiences, Girl Scouts) associated with or impinging upon children’s literature and urban culture.

Please send 400-500 word abstracts by March 1, 2021 to Kristin Bluemel at kbluemel@monmouth.edu. Inquiries welcome.

CFP: MLA 2022: Anima Mundi: Finding our Shared Ecological Experience in Non-environmental Children’s Literature

Heidi A. Lawrence, University of Glasgow

ChLA Non-Guaranteed Session
Anima Mundi: Finding our Shared Ecological Experience in Non-environmental Children’s Literature

In his landmark text, Radical Ecopsychology: Psychology in the Service of Life (2013 [2002]), Andy Fisher defines ecopsychology as a project through which humans may hopefully come to realize how our human psyche and the psyche the world around us, internally relate to “nature,” and how they are the “interior and the exterior of the same phenomenon” (Fisher 205) Theodore Roszak (1996) calls this shared anima mundi the “ecological unconscious” (320-21). For Fisher, this reunification of mind and environment is about “refusing all dualisms or splittings of reality (nonduality perhaps being ecopsychology’s main pivot), seeking integrations instead” (Fisher 205). This contrasts with Cheryll Glotfelty’s definition of ecocriticism as “the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment” (1996: xvii). Instead, ecopsychology is the study of the relationship between human beings and their physical environment. The idea of a shared psyche (or soul) between humans and nonhumans, between the organic and inorganic, and between the occupants of Earth and the occupants of other planets and stars across the universe must, of course, be multicultural, or it will not succeed, argues activist Carl Anthony (Anthony 264). In order to understand how the human-nature relationship can be healing, ecopsychology must acknowledge and seek for healing for the many cultures and peoples who have been dispossessed environmentally (Anthony 267). The close relationship between humans and their ecosystems is present in many children’s and YA fantasy and highly imaginative novels. Elements of these relationships are also present in more realistic children’s and YA fiction spanning at least the last 150 years. And as the Anthropocene accelerates and is accompanied by increased climate-change denial, the question arises – how can those who resist the concept of climate change be reached in a personal way that might allow them to see past pain and shame and guilt to their shared experience with the tree in the local park, or with the clouds scudding past on a windy day? Reading, not with an eye for how literature and the environment are in relation, but with an eye for how humans and the environment are in relation, may provide insights into the multiplicity of experiences humans share with the world around them.
This non-guaranteed session will investigate the question of human embeddedness in the ecosystem in non-environmental children’s and YA literature, whether fantasy, highly imaginative, or strongly realistic. This may include picture books as well. Non-environmental texts are those without an obvious past, present, apocalyptic, or post-apocalyptic environmental agenda; such texts may more easily reach those who struggle to accept climate change through tapping into such things as childhood memories of outdoor experiences or favorite family stories of outdoor play.

Topics might include:

  • Non-traditional outdoor education in non-environmental children’s literature
  • Established kinship between children or adolescents and a particular part of their ecosystem.
  • Evidence of ecojustice in non-environmental children’s/YA literature.
  • Representations (or a lack of representations) of kinship between children and the ecosystem in marginalized communities.
  • Socially and culturally appropriate representations or issues of cultural (mis)appropriation in non-environmental children’s literature.
  • Multicultural non-environmental children’s books and representations of kinship with nature.
  • Children or adolescents empowered through kinship with any organic or inorganic figure/character/object
  • Imaginary friends derived from some aspect of the environment.
  • A life-sustaining psychological bond between a child or adolescent and some part of the environment.
  • Outdoor play as an established part of a childhood routine.
  • A sense of wonder implicit in the experience of the child or adolescent character
  • Healing or nurturing aspects of nature in the child’s life

By March 1, 2021: Please send 400-500-word paper proposals and a 250-word bio to Heidi A. Lawrence, Heidi.Lawrence@byu.edu
Please use the subject heading “MLA 2022: Anima Mundi CFP.” If possible, please use a valid academic email address or an email address that clearly contains your name and comes from an identifiable email service. These steps will help me verify that it is safe to open your email and attachments. Thank you very much.

CFP: Food and/in Children’s Culture

National, Internatinal and Transnational Perspectives
Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Comparative Studies
Palazzo Cosulich – Zattere Dorsoduro, 1405, 30123 Venezia – Italy
6 – 9 April 2021

Food is a prominent element in children’s literature and culture. As Carolyn Daniel puts it, by reading about food children learn “what to eat and what not to eat or who eats whom” (2006, 4). In children’s narratives food can be, simultaneously, a mark of national identity, and a bridge between cultures, through which children can both learn about their own national culture and encounter other cultural identities and experiences. It can be a mark of kinship, but also a mark of difference and monstrosity, a symbol of desire, but also a vehicle of danger and death. Food scenes at times represent moments of intense pleasure for characters in movies, books, and different kinds of performances and, therefore, vicariously, for the reader/spectator, who becomes involved in what Gitanjali Shahani has called “food ekphrasis” (2018, 3) and consumes fictional banquets through vivid descriptions. At other times, these vivid descriptions may place before the reader/spectator/listener foods that are decidedly unappealing, at times monstrously so; and in some cases they may represent, equally vividly, scenes of hunger, poverty, and longing for unreachable food.

There are indeed few elements so multifaceted, counterintuitive, and contradictory as food, and its role in children’s literature and culture usually bears heavy ideological, political, and/or cultural connotations. This conference invites broad, interdisciplinary interpretations of this theme encompassing, but not limited to:

  • Children as eaters and/or food
  • Medicine and science: diets, “clean vs un-clean” eating, nutrition
  • Food and gender
  • Picturebooks: picturing food and food fantasies/nightmares
  • Period-specific perspectives (Early Modern, Eighteenth Century, Victorian and Neo-Victorian, post-War, contemporary …)
  • Food and the child body: normalized, codified, modified, rejected/accepted
  • Trans/national perspectives
  • Images of food and intercultural dialogues/issues
  • The press (childcare, cooking and house management magazines, children’s periodicals)
  • Eating at home and abroad (in institutions [hospital, workhouse, school …], in different countries, picnics, the family meal, feasts and special occasions …)
  • Magical food
  • Food fantasies/nightmares
  • Children, food, and the environment: climate change, ecocriticism, access to food based on class/nationality …
  • Expressing concern about food: alcoholism and temperance, food disorders, poverty and hunger

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

Emeritus Professor Peter Hunt, Cardiff University (UK)
Professor Nicola Humble, University of Roehampton (UK)
Professor Björn Sundmark, Malmö University (Sweden)
Dr Zoe Jaques, University of Cambridge (UK)

Please send abstracts of 300-500 words for 20-minute papers and a 100-word biography to the Conference Organizers, Dr Anna Gasperini and Professor Laura Tosi, at foodchildrenculture2021@gmail.com by 30 November 2020.
For further information, please visit the website FED – Feeding, Educating, Dieting

Note: the conference is envisaged as an in-person event; should this not be possible, an on-line version will be organized. We will provide updates about this in due course.

CFP: IRSCL 2021 Congress Aesthetics and Pedagogic Entanglements

Call for Papers

The pedagogical and aesthetic aspects of children’s and young adults’ literature have often been pitted against each other. Yet, if we think of children’s literature as a participatory and mediated practice, the aesthetical and the pedagogical dimensions are no longer opposed to each other. In the last two decades, we have witnessed an ‘educational turn’ in contemporary arts practices, where the emphasis is no longer on the finished aesthetic object, but on the processes and relationships established with the audiences and communities which become part of the art project, a process also facilitated by digital fora. Speaking of children’s literature as a mediated practice questions art’s autonomy and the limits of ‘non-art’; it brings the ‘death of the author’ not only to praise the ‘birth of the reader’ but also to foreground and question the conventions that sustain the artistic.

Since we cannot take children’s cognitive and literacy skills for granted, books tend to be recommended according to specific age ranges, while teachers and other adult figures involved (such as librarians, parents, and other caretakers, the so-called ‘gate-keepers’) try to facilitate an interpretation of the author’s intention. But what if we take the death of the author seriously? Will we still talk about the importance of understanding the text? What if we make children mediators and authors of children’s literature? Who is the ideal child that writes and reads? How is age produced and sustained in these relationships?

Thinking about possible synergies between the pedagogical and the aesthetic in children’s literature brings back questions on reception and (affective) engagement. It also provides us with insights into the entanglements of the publishing industry, the readers/viewers/consumers/users, the authors/artists, the practices of reading/sharing/discussing/reversioning and the new technologies, and at the same time, prompting reflections on our own (biased) academic work in this field.

Delegates will be invited to reflect on the implications of considering children not as ‘adults in the making’, but rather as readers and makers in their own right.

In this conference, we aim to strengthen the ties between children’s literature scholars, literacy and media experts and arts scholars to explore the possibilities of combining and rethinking the hermeneutical methods of the humanities, the experimental and empirical approaches of social sciences and arts-based research, as well as the contemporary anthropological and educational research that questions the essentialized positions of the adult and the child in educational contexts.

In this vein we suggest the following topics, but we also invite other paper and panel topics inspired by the congress’ theme:

Active readers:

  • Creative and collaborative writing by youth and children
  • Intergenerational collaborations
  • The child as ‘prosumer’ of children’s media
  • Reading and writing as playing
  • Children reversioning stories
  • Booktubers, fan-fiction and web-based communities inside and outside the classroom
  • Initiatives in marginalized communities (refugee centers, jails, hospitals)

Research and Practice:

  • Child-led participatory research
  • New materialism approaches to encounters with books
  • New approaches to reader-response
  • Cognitive approaches to aesthetics and pedagogy
  • Intersectional approaches
  • Arts-based methodologies
  • Historical approaches to tensions between te pedagogic and the aesthetic

Ethics and Aesthetics:

  • Ethical-political role of authors in children’s and YA literature
  • Gate-keepers and the “mediator circle” in children’s literature and media
  • The aesthetic and/or pedagogic role of paratexts
  • Representations of children as authors and artists in children’s fiction and media.

See full call for papers for further details.

More information on the Congress, its modality, dates and its main theme is available on our website (https://www.irscl2021.com/). We are looking forward to hosting you in Santiago!

CFP: Yearbook of the German Children’s Literature Society 2021

Children’s and young adult literature and media offer a symphony or polyphony of sounds. The word “sounds” evokes a whole concert of related associations. The term relates to a spectrum of auditory phenomena that encompasses the complex areas of tone/sound, word/language and music as well as noises of all kinds. It also leads to questions of sensory perception(s) as well as to sound art, be it in classical, experimental or popular culture forms. Literary sounds range from the multifarious aspects of the lyrical (poems, lyrics, etc.) to questions of intermedial references in texts; specific sounds and soundtracks are also audible in children’s and young adult media.

But it doesn’t just thrum and throb in young adult novels; sounds are also audible in picturebooks, for example, and political and ideological messages can be transmitted in all medial forms via sound. Narratological aspects are showcased when the voice of the narrator, the childlike tone or the fast beat of a novel are alluded to. Sounds can be interwoven with speech melodies, introduced with foreign-language quotations or underlaid with montaged and collaged noises. The chirping and rustling of nature is depicted via sounds, the (literary, composed) symphony of the big city sets a sound monument to metropolises.

In media contexts, too – both in the field of acoustics and in visual media – sounds are of central importance. Hence the relevance of probing the connections between sound and media development as mirrored in all media products and practices for children and young adults.

The open access, peer-reviewed Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Kinder- und Jugendliteraturforschung | GKJF (Yearbook of the German Children’s Literature Research Society) 2021 will focus on the theme of Sounds, examining the historical and contemporary dimensions of this complex subject. Contributions to this fifth volume of the Yearbook should address implications of the topic in its various medial forms (narratives, picturebooks, comics, graphic novels, films, television, computer games and apps) from both a theoretical and material perspective.

Contributions may be in German or English. While contributions on German children’s literature and media are particularly welcome, the editors also welcome proposals on other cultural and linguistic areas.

Possible themes and approaches with reference to children’s or young adult literature or media are:

  • Linguistic forms, narrative forms, narratives;
  • Intermediality and materiality;
  • Visual media (especially picturebooks, graphic novels);
  • Interdisciplinary aspects of the sound arts;
  • Acoustic media;
  • Audiovisual media: films, series;
  • Sensory perception, emotional research;
  • Music and singing;
  • Political aspects, ideological implications (e.g. “right-wing rock”);
  • Anthropological issues.

Beyond the focus theme, the Yearbook will publish up to three open contributions – in German or English – on questions of children’s literature and media from a historical or a theoretical perspective; proposals for these contributions are also welcome.

Formalities:

Please submit a proposal of no more than 300 words for a contribution on the focus theme or for an open contribution by 15 September 2020. The proposal should provide a short summary of the questions being addressed, establish theoretical positions and name the main literature to which the contribution will refer. The contribution itself should not exceed 40,000 characters (including spaces, footnotes and bibliography), and should be submitted to the editors as a Word document by 01 March 2021.

Please send your proposal to: jahrbuch@gkjf.de

We look forward to receiving your proposal. A style sheet will be sent once your proposal has been accepted. The Yearbook 2021 will be published online in December 2021.

 Jahrbuch der Gesellschaft für Kinder- und Jugendliteraturforschung | GKJF     
Editors

Prof. Gabriele von Glasenapp, Universität zu Köln
Prof. Emer O’Sullivan, Leuphana Universität Lüneburg
Prof. Caroline Roeder, PH Ludwigsburg
Prof. Ingrid Tomkowiak, Universität Zürich

http://www.gkjf.de/ 

 

CFP: Dream-Chasers: Children and Success in Asia

Call for Papers

Dream-Chasers: Children and Success in Asia 

This collection aims to explore how success is conceived for children across Asia. Economic development in the region is re-shaping the way success is understood for children. What does a “successful” child look like? How does childhood agency influence ideas about success? How is success for children represented in literature, cinema, and popular media? In what ways are these images grounded in the historical, political, cultural, theoretical, or philosophical contexts in which they are produced and consumed? While there have been numerous empirically-driven research into conceptualisations of success among young people, how success is defined for children in the texts they consume is an under-researched topic. We seek contributions that examine representations of success for children in Asia.

Possible areas of investigation may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How does literacy / education relate to ideas about success for children?
  • Morality and ethics
  • Religion
  • Gender and/or sexuality
  • Race, ethnicity, and/or cultural difference
  • Class
  • Marginality and/or minority status
  • Parental expectations vs children’s desires
  • Juvenile delinquency

Please submit a 300 word abstract, current contact information along with a two-page CV as Word attachments to Sue Chen and Sin Wen Lau to globalguai@gmail.com by 15 August 2020. Authors will be notified by 30 September 2020. The deadline for finished essays is 15 February 2021.

Dr Shih-Wen Sue Chen is Senior Lecturer in Writing and Literature at Deakin University. She received her PhD in Literature, Screen and Theatre Studies from the Australian National University. Her research focuses on British and Chinese children’s literature and culture from the mid-nineteenth century to the present. She is the author of Children’s Literature and Transnational Knowledge in Modern China: Education, Religion, and Childhood (Palgrave Macmillan, 2019) and Representations of China in British Children’s Fiction, 1851-1911 (Routledge, 2013). Email: sue.chen@deakin.edu.au.

Dr Sin Wen Lau is currently a Senior Lecturer in the Chinese Programme at the University of Otago in New Zealand. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from the Australian National University. Her research interests include the anthropology of China, religion, gender, children and youth. She is the author of Overseas Chinese Christians in Contemporary China (Brill 2020) and co-edited Religion and Mobility in a Globalising Asia (Routledge, 2014). Her work has also been published in The Asian Studies Review, The Australian Journal of Anthropology, The Asia Pacific Journal of Anthropology, and in edited volumes. Email: sinwen.lau@otago.ac.nz.

CFP: Assembling Common Worlds Conference

Assembling Common Worlds:
An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment and Young People’s Literature and Culture
Vancouver Island University, June 11-13, 2021
Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada

In the past year, we have witnessed continents burning, islands and coastal regions flooding, and increases in extinctions of flora and fauna. While concern over the human impact on the environment has existed for decades, there is a new sense of urgency demanding a cognitive shift to transform our understanding of our place in and impact on the physical world, as well as of our relationships with the other life forms cohabiting the earth. More broadly, Tom Oliver calls for rethinking concepts of identity and the individual (The Self Delusion, 2020). Similarly, Posthumanism provides ways of rethinking the boundaries of the human and nonhuman. Donna Haraway has provided language to understand naturecultures (2003) and emphasized the importance of “staying with the trouble” as we work at making kin with nonhuman others, resisting the Western hierarchical view that values human above other lives (2016). Of especial relevance, then, is openness to multiple ways of knowing the natural world, including Indigenous ways of knowing and Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) (see Nelson and Shilling, eds. 2018).

Specifically regarding children’s culture, Affrica Taylor has noted the importance of “common worlds (or common worlding) as dynamic collectives of humans and more-than-humans, full of unexpected partnerships and comings together, which bring differences to bear on the ways our lives are constituted and lived” (2013, p. 78). Too often those studying young people’s literature and culture work in isolation from those working in environmental humanities, childhood studies focused on children in the Anthropocene, and education for sustainability. Much of the most productive scholarship on these concepts and processes has been interdisciplinary. There is much to be gained in both methodology and understanding by communication and collaboration between literary scholars, educators, environmentalists, philosophers, and scholars of childhood and youth experiences and culture.

Conspicuously missing from this list are children and youth themselves. While there has been ongoing discussion in the Social Sciences and Health and Human Service fields on participatory research involving children and youth (Aldridge 2015; Dickens 2017) since Alderson first drew attention to the absence of their voices (1995), this is only recently emerging in literary studies and other humanities fields (Deszcz-Tryhubczak 2016, 2018, 2019). Since some of the leading ecological activists today are youth, such as Greta Thunberg (Sweden) and Autumn Peltier (Anishinabek Nation), and since children and youth will live the longest with the effects of environmental degradation, their voices must be part of the conversation.

Assembling Common Worlds intends not only to explore traditional disciplinary ways of understanding eco-literacy and eco-activism in children’s and youth literature and culture, but also to bring together scholars and practitioners from a range of fields to find productive opportunities for cooperation and collaboration in tackling the challenges of generating intergenerational dialogue on current environmental concerns. In addition to paper sessions, the conference will also feature a methodological workshop and involvement of child and youth participants.

Conference conveners welcome proposals for 20-minute papers or 90-minute panels on any of the following topics:

  • Making kin between human and non-human in children’s or youth’s literature and culture;
  • More-than-human worlds in children’s or youth’s literature and culture;
  • Eco-literacy in children’s or youth literature and culture;
  • Imagining the Post-Anthropocene;
  • The evolving capacity of eco-criticisms to address environmental change;
  • Indigenous knowledge or TEK in children’s or youth’s literature and culture;
  • Regeneration of connections between children or youth and nature;
  • The role of children or youth in food security;
  • Young people’s eco-citizenship and/or eco-activism;
  • Interdisciplinary theoretical frameworks for understanding children in and of nature;
  • Intergenerational creative and/or cultural projects addressing environmental issues;
  • Participatory research with children or youth on literary or cultural expressions of eco-literacy and/or eco-activism;
  • Children’s and youth’s creativity is/as response to the current environmental crisis.

Proposals of 250 words and brief biographies are due June 29, 2020. This early deadline is to facilitate applications for grant monies.

The conveners hope to offer some travel support for graduate students and under employed scholars.
The conveners also plan to publish an edited collection of selected papers from the conference.

Please send proposals and brief biographies to Terri Doughty (terri.doughty@viu.ca) and Janet Grafton (janet.grafton@viu.ca).