CFP – Emotional Control: Affect, Ideology and Children’s Texts


The eleventh biennial international conference of the Australasian Children’s Literature Association for Research (ACLAR)
Waterfront Campus, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
June 30 – July 2, 2014

Over the past two decades, studies of affect and emotion have expanded beyond the field of psychology and been embraced by disciplines in the humanities and social sciences. Theorists of affect are concerned with the ways embodied forms of knowing and feeling interconnect with the aesthetic, ethical and ideological, including their effect on texts. According to Grossberg (1992), ‘affect is the missing term in an adequate understanding of ideology’. The 2014 ACLAR conference explores affect and emotion, with a particular emphasis on how theories of emotion and affect might extend research on the ideological agendas encoded in texts for children and young adults.

Abstracts that address the conference theme are welcome and the full range of children’s texts and media may be examined. Papers may engage with, but are not limited to, the following topics:

Affecting fictions: How do emotion and affect position readers or audiences to subscribe to the ideology of a text?

Papers might:

  • Focus on the way genre, motif, setting, medium and/or semiotics manipulate – invite or foreclose – particular emotional responses to the textual content;
  • Consider the emotional or affective responses invited by fictional events because of the age of the implied reader or for reasons such as censorship or didacticism;
  • Examine the influence of technology, marketing, fan fiction and/or peer culture in promoting young people’s affective investments in a text.

Sense and sensibility: Are emotions universal or constructed?

Papers might:

  • Consider how the national, cultural, geographical and/or historical origin of a text influences the representation of emotion and/or the implied reader’s emotional response;
  • Examine the way fictions set in the past negotiate differences between historical sensibilities and those of the contemporary reader;
  • Explore the body and embodiment in the textual evocation of emotion and affect.

Feeling and self: What roles do affect and emotion play in the representation of gender, race, indigeneity, class, LGBT, disability, nationality, religion, etc?

Papers might:

  • Investigate the role of affect in positioning the implied reader/viewer to empathize – or not – with characters from dominant and minority groups;
  • Focus on the ideological implications of the textual reproduction or subversion of identity-based emotional stereotypes (such as, but not limited to, masculinity and femininity);
  • Address issues of authenticity, appropriation and essentialism.

Emotional socialization: How do children’s texts mobilize affect to educate and acculturate readers and audiences to respond to the life experiences and the life politics of their world?

Papers might:

  • Attend to the modeling of emotional intelligence or resilience in fiction or non-fiction;
  • Compare the emotional/affective appeal embedded in children’s texts with public discourses in regard to the same social issue;
  • Evaluate the merits of theories of affect in relation to cognitive/ narratological/poststructuralist/post-theory modes for explaining how texts socialize young readers or audiences.

Abstracts of no more than 300 words are due by January 31, 2014. Notifications of acceptance will be circulated by February 28, 2014.

Abstracts should be emailed to:

More information about ACLAR is available at:

Adventures in Wonder Worlds: The Power of Literary Fantasy

International Conference
Adventures in Wonder Worlds: The Power of Literary Fantasy
5-6 December 2013
Ateneo Veneto, Venezia Campo San Fantin, 1897

For further information contact Laura Tosi,


Thursday 5th December
Ateneo Veneto, Aula Magna

14.15 Welcome
14.30 First Session
Chair: Shaul Bassi, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
Introductory Remarks (Laura Tosi and Peter Hunt)
Why Reading Fantasy Is Good for Your Brain (Maria Nikolajeva, University of Cambridge; read by Morag Styles)
15.15 Break
15.45 Second Session
Chair: Shaul Bassi, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
Italian Children’s Fantasy – A National and International Perspective (Lindsay Myers, National University of Ireland Galway)
Pinocchio and Alice. The Power of International Fantasies: National Stereotypes? (Peter Hunt, Visiting Professor, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice and Laura Tosi, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice)
17.00 Discussion

Friday 6th December, Morning
Ateneo Veneto, Aula Magna

9.00 First Morning Session
Chair: Peter Hunt, Visiting Professor, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
Power in/of Fantasy in the Wonder Worlds of J.R.R. Tolkien and G.R.R. Martin (Anja Müller, University of Siegen)
Friend or Foe: Versions of Morgan le Fay in contemporary YA literature (Monica Santini, University of Padua)
10.15 Discussion and Break
11.00 Second Morning Session
Chair: Peter Hunt, Visiting Professor, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
The Way to Wonderland: Doors and Portals in Children’s Fantasy (Jane Suzanne Carroll, University of Roehampton)
Wild Things: Children Responding to Fantasy in Picturebooks (Morag Styles, University of Cambridge)
12.15 Discussion

Friday 6th December, Afternoon
Ateneo Veneto, Sala Tommaseo

14.00 First Afternoon Session
Chair: Alessandra Petrina, University of Padua
Imagining the world through Alice’s eyes. The adventures of Alice by L. Carroll as Bildungsroman (Alessandra Avanzini, University of Ferrara)
The Wizard of Oz: Fantasy, Technology, Ecology (Francesca Orestano, University of Milan)
15.15 Break
15.45 Second Afternoon Session
Chair: Alessandra Petrina, University of Padua
Fantasy or Playing with Reality? Russell Hoban & the Thingness of Things (Victoria de Rilke, Middlesex University)
Emotions as Empowerment in Young Adult Dystopian Fiction (Rocio Davis)
17.00 Discussion and Final Round Table
Chair: Morag Styles, University of Cambridge