CFP – Childhood Teleologies: Climates of Growth

Childhood Teleologies: Climates of Growth
Seminar for C19: The Conference of the Society for Nineteenth-Century Americanists
Albuquerque New Mexico, March 22-25, 2018
Seminar Leaders: Anna Mae Duane and Karen Sánchez-Eppler

Childhood is a place where national, racial and scientific arguments coalesce. In childhood, time unfolds as teleology–towards adulthood, towards power, and success. Though, of course, trajectories of development are invariably more fraught and precarious than such naturalizing progress narratives admit. The nineteenth century proved a particularly volatile period for understanding and organizing the individual life cycle. In the process, childhood adhered to new conceptions of the environment, of nation, race, gender, and of time itself. The temporal loops of childhood–recalling the past and projecting the future–express the survival anxieties of the Anthropocene.

For this seminar we seek essays that think about how childhood reframes our approaches to nineteenth-century American teleologies of individual, national, and global time. The seminar will explore tropes of childhood growth and survival, in order to deepen questions about the climate of linear development, as they play out in settler colonialism, as they are rejected in queer time, as they affect disability rights, and predict environmental degradation, to name a just a few possible topics.

C19 seminars emphasize conversation and interactive dialogue as an alternative to traditional paper and roundtable formats by providing participants the opportunity to have a collaborative conversation around a particular topic. Seminars will be convened for two hours during the C19 conference and capped at 15 participants. Each participant will submit a five-page position paper before the conference to be read in advance by the other participants so that seminar time can be reserved for discussion. Seminar participants will be listed in the program. For more information about the C19 conference visit

The submission deadline for seminar applications is September 15, 2017.

Anna Mae Duane is Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of Suffering Childhood in Early America: Violence, Race and the Making of the Child Victim (U Georgia, 2010); the editor of The Children’s Table: Childhood Studies and the Humanities (U Georgia, 2013); Child Slavery Before and After Emancipation: An Argument for Child-Centered Slavery Studies (Cambridge 2016), and the co-editor of Who Writes for Black Children?: African American Children’s Literature Before 1900 (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). She is also the co-editor of Common-place: The Journal of Early American Life.

Karen Sánchez-Eppler is L. Stanton Williams 1941 Professor of American Studies and English at Amherst College. She received her PhD from The Johns Hopkins University in 1990. The author of Touching Liberty: Abolition, Feminism and the Politics of the Body (1993) and Dependent States: The Child’s Part in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (2005), she is currently working on two book projects The Unpublished Republic: Manuscript Cultures of the Mid-Nineteenth Century US and In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past. Her scholarship has been supported by grants from the NEH, ACLS, the Newberry Library, the Winterthur Library, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Fulbright Foundation. She is one of the founding co-editors of The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth and past President of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists.

CFP – Intergenerational Solidarity in Children’s Literature

Call for submissions
Intergenerational Solidarity in Children’s Literature
Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak and Zoe Jaques (eds.)

Children’s literature criticism usually approaches books for young readers as reflecting aetonormativity, that is, real-life structures of adult domination over younger generations (Nikolajeva 2009). Therefore, depictions of child autonomy or child-rule—a common motif in children’s literature (Kelen and Sundmark 2017)—belie the reality: children may have power over adults as they own the future (Beauvais 2015), but, as is also frequently claimed in children’s literature studies, adult domination inevitably perpetuates itself as children grow up to turn into oppressors themselves (Nodelman 1997, Nikolajeva, 2010). Yet, the dynamically developing field of childhood studies provides evidence that children and adults co-construct society as they engage in intergenerational relations in various contexts. In The Politics of Childhood Real and Imagined: Volume 2 (2016), Priscilla Anderson argues for revising the founding narrative of the discontinuity between childhood and adulthood into a framework of interage connectivity in which “[s]upposed dichotomies of the rational adult and the unreliable child are challenged when children are able to show how competent they can be in more equal relationships” (154). The significance of intergenerational alliance, dialog, and collaboration is reflected in the development of the concepts of intergenerational solidarity and justice and by the formation of numerous movements and campaigns promoting and fostering intergenerational partnerships (e.g. Make It Ageless, AGE Platform Europe, Linking Generations Norther Ireland).

The necessity for a fundamental change of the binary, and rather reductive, paradigm of adult superiority and children’s dependence has also been acknowledged by children’s literature scholars (Coats, 2001; Melrose, 2011; Gubar, 2011, Bernstein, 2011). Marah Gubar, for instance, proposes the kinship model of childhood resting on the relatedness, similarity and connection between children and adults. Yet the collection will be the first one to explore children’s books that envision constructive interdependencies benefiting both parties at the edges of the age divide. Contributions are welcomed from a range of fields, such as literature, education, memory, and childhood studies and may be focused on such areas of investigation as:

  • intergenerational justice and ethics in children’s literature
  • representations of children’s participation in public and political decision-making
  • visions of intergenerational solidarity in families and communities
  • multigenerational living in children’s books
  • images of children as cultural and language brokers
  • children’s literature as intergenerational remembering
  • children’s literature as intergenerational communication
  • children’s literature research as intergenerational practice

An abstract of the proposal, maximum 300 words, with a brief CV of the author(s), maximum 40 words, should be submitted to Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak ( and Zoe Jaques ( by 31 October 2017. We will aim to reply to authors by 20 November 2017.