CFP: Latin American Children’s Literature and Culture

The development of research about children’s and young adult literature in Latin America and the Caribbean has transpired in close relationship to reflections on pedagogical praxis and enquiries around how to foster, encourage and mediate literary reading practises. This seems to be a distinctive feature of research in the field of children’s and young adult literature both in Spanish and Portuguese speaking geographies, and one that has intersected with two other fields of study: literature didactics and the social exercise of literacy promotion.

Within the realm of the didactics of literature, and under the premise that good children’s books teach their readers “how to read,” research showed that an increasingly thorough description of works of literature for children would allow a deeper understanding of the repertoire of literary teachings they may offer.

From this perspective, book analysis has been carried out in constant dialog with reflections on the educational potentialities these cultural objects may tender when used in school contexts. In the praxis and theorisation of literacy promotion, on the other hand, research has oriented itself towards how the use of children’s and young adult literature in diverse social contexts could contribute to citizenship participation and to sustained grapplings with exclusion mechanisms that frequently and pervasively haunt and ballast Latin American countries. In this field, reflection on books seems to accompany reflections on the mobilisation of reading in contexts marked by the participation of children and young people, markedly those defined by crisis.

In tandem with the progressive consolidation of studies about children’s and young adult literature in Latin America in these two fields, the last few years have witnessed a hatching of critical texts that review works meant for children and young adults from the frameworks of literary studies, aesthetics and cultural studies. This has resulted, at least in part, in the publication of a significant number of works on the aesthetic and literary trademarks of children’s literature, an intellectual production that has been particularly prolific around picturebooks.

In parallel, the attested presence of researchers contributing from cultural studies has summoned and drawn upon fields of knowledge such as history, philosophy and sociology, emphasising the (re)production of ideologies in works of art, and bringing into focus the ways and modes in which children’s and young adult literature engages with diverse social phenomena. An array of studies has also delved into historical revisions in which questionings that go after childhood imaginaries and its intersections with discourses the concepts of nation and future seem particularly relevant.

This Call for Papers springs from the team convening the 25th biennial congress of the International Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL), titled “Aesthetic and Pedagogic Entanglements,” held virtually in October and anchored geographically in Santiago de Chile. This was the first IRSCL Congress to be held in Latin America, and it extended an invitation to review the magnitudes, emphases and languages of research being carried out in our region, which for the purposes of this CFP encompasses Latin America and the Caribbean.

We invite contributions that expand the possible approaches and engagements with literature produced in the continent, understanding its close relationship with wider cultural fields, the expansive array of fictions for children and young adults, such as audiovisual narratives, theatre, music and video games, amongst many others.

Moreover, the present Call for Papers arises in times of social and political reconfigurations, marked by an increasing demand for regional epistemologies that as a result of their geographical and cultural anchoring allow for the valuation of localised and territorialised cultural productions. It is thus that we encourage contributions sustained on and in dialog with critical theories produced both in and about the region (decolonial and anticolonial studies, subaltern studies, Caribbean studies, Indigenous epistemologies, among others).

This Call for Papers invites researchers from all over the world to contribute to the study of children and young adult’s literature and culture in Latin America and the Caribbean.

In this vein, we invite contributions focusing on, yet not limited to:

  • Tensions and dialogs between the Eurocentric canon and Latin American traditions
  • Texts written (or promoted) by children and young adults
  • Journals, magazines, cartonera publishing houses, zines and other forms of independent publishing
  • Migrations, displacements and in-transit identities
  • Problematization of ethnic imaginaries: whiteness, blackness, territorial resistances and visibilities of Indigenous epistemologies
  • Post-extractivism and post-Anthropocene imaginaries
  • Ecopoetry and ecocritical approaches
  • Regional literary epistemes: oral traditions and other cultural expressions in native languages and Creole linguistic variants in the continent
  • Editorial rescues and novel repertoires for childhood
  • Poetry, theatre, visual narrative and other contested fields of culture for children and adolescents
  • Adaptations and translations

Please send your manuscript to the guest editors (mgarciay@uc.cl, felipe.munita@uc.cl, isabel.ibaceta@uoh.cl) and the journal editor, Roxanne Harde (rharde@ualberta.ca) by the 30th June 2022.

Email subject: “IRCL Special Issue Latin American Children’s Literature and Culture.”

The submission should include an abstract of no more than 300 words, a brief bio (c. 100 words) and 3-5 key words.

Please follow the IRCL style guide.