CFP – Home in Children’s and Young Adult Literature From the Alpl to the WWW

Call for Papers
Home in Children’s and Young Adult Literature: From the Alpl to the WWW
Conference venue: PH Steiermark / University College of Teacher Education Styria, Aula, Hasnerplatz 12, 8010 Graz
Conference date: Friday, November 23, from 14:00, to Saturday, November 24, 2018, 18:00

Home has always played an ambivalent part in children’s and young adult literature. In adventure stories, home can be a starting point and destination for a journey towards maturity and independence or a place to which young protagonists have to flee in order to make themselves a new home. In the English language, “home” is both a term to describe a location in which one feels “at home,” as well as the place from which one originates, whereas in the German language, the term “Heimat” has been subjected to racist and nationalist discourses that persist despite more recent attempts at reclaiming the concept.

In 2018, we commemorate the anniversaries of both birth and death of Austrian writer Peter Rosegger (1843-1918), whose work, set around the idyllic mountainous Alpl area of Styria, lends itself ideally for an analysis of the ideological connotations of the concept of home. Various positions can be found in and towards his work: a critical perceptiveness, a rejection of violence, a failure to distance himself from antisemitism, a rejection by the German nationals, and a posthumous appropriation by the national socialists. These coexisting discourses lend themselves for a critical analysis, as regards both Rosegger’s work for children and its role in learning contexts.

At this conference, we will set these critical results side by side with analyses of more recent texts for young readers that focus on constructions of home: realistic representations of topographical and social spaces that depict an oftentimes problematic home, the traumatic loss and imaginary recreation of old homes, or the difficulties of arriving and finding one’s place. While heroes and heroines of postapocalyptic dystopias create new homes to escape from oppressive regimes, fantasy protagonists fight dark powers that threaten the preindustrial landscapes they inhabit, and futuristic settings demonstrate how technology allows young people to build homes in virtual realities.

In order to analyse these and other facets of home in children’s and young adult literature and multimodal narratives, we would like to invite experts from the fields of children’s literature, history, cultural studies and literature education to submit proposals for 20-minute presentation or a poster.

Please submit 300-500 word abstracts for your presentation or poster in German or English by May 7, 2018. Please include a short bio of max. 100 words. Address both to oegkjlf@univie.ac.at with the subject line “Home conference 2018.” We will be in touch in early June; the programme will be made available towards the end of June 2018.

Organisers: German Academy of Literature for Children and Young Readers (Volkach, Germany), Department for Children’s and Young Adult Literature Research at the Goethe-University (Frankfurt/Main, Germany), KiJuLit-Centre for Research and Teaching of Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the PH Steiermark (Graz, Austria), and the Austrian Association for Research into Children’s and Young Adult Literature (Vienna, Austria)

Partners: Austrian Forum for Teaching Literature (Vienna, Austria)