CFP – The Great Depression in Children’s Literature: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry

The Great Depression in Children’s Literature: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Mildred Taylor’s Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
Call for papers for a symposium at the Faculty of Education, Cambridge University
Dates: Friday, 23 and Saturday, 24 September 2016
Symposium keynote speaker: Michelle Martin, University of South Carolina
Teachers’ event keynote speaker: Gabrielle Cliff-Hodges, Cambridge University

Published in 1976, Mildred Taylor’s best-known work Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry continues to be highly celebrated and challenged. A Newbury Award Winner, appearing in school curricula in both the US and UK, Roll of Thunder also appears on the infamous “banned books” lists. Taylor’s work has been discussed by a range of academics in education and literary research, and this symposium will explore multiple strands of thought and dialogue on this landmark text. We will end the symposium with a teachers’ event, bringing together researchers with teachers and trainees to share ideas about Roll of Thunder and other 1930s-set novels in the classroom.

Possible topics for papers include:

  • Taylor’s life, work and influence
  • Children’s responses to Taylor’s work, and uses of Taylor’s work in the classroom
  • The 1978 film adaptation of Roll of Thunder
  • International translations and reception of Roll of Thunder
  • African American (and) women’s writing for children of and about the 1930s
  • Representations of race, gender, national and regional identity, class and political economy in children’s literature of and about the 1930s
  • Historical children’s fiction and the Great Depression in retrospect; the 1930s as taught through literature (e.g. Taylor, Morrison, Walker, Lee, Steinbeck, Faulkner and others); representations of the New Deal; issues of ethics and ideology in historical children’s fiction

Please submit a title and 150-word abstract by 15 March 2016 to Sarah Hardstaff, sflh2@cam.ac.uk

Cambridge/Homerton Research & Teaching Centre for Children’s Literature

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