CFP – Tales of Two Cities: Children’s Literature and (Unequal) Childhoods in New York City Panel Proposal

Call for Papers
Tales of Two Cities: Children’s Literature and (Unequal) Childhoods in New York City Panel Proposal (Sponsored by the Children’s Literature Association [ChLA])
MLA Annual Convention
January 4-7, 2018, New York City

In 2013, Bill de Blasio’s mayoral campaign ran on the theme of “A Tale of Two Cities.” The narrative that New York is a deeply divided city – one that is simultaneously the world’s capital of finance and culture and an unfortunate model of economic and social inequality – struck a chord with many voters. This panel will examine the ways in which children’s and young adult literature set in New York City expresses, reinforces, confronts and/or overlooks this image of the city as fractured and unequal. Papers may consider questions such as: how does children’s and young adult literature represent (or ignore) the diversity of New York City childhoods? How do texts written for children and adolescents imagine the lives and concerns of young people who witness and/or experience homelessness, racist policing and/or hunger in a city considered to be a thriving center of finance, multiculturalism and the culinary arts? In what ways do these texts address the city’s paradoxes (its embrace and alienation of immigrant populations, its denouncement and enabling of Wall Street rapacity)? How do narratives for children reinforce and/or interrogate stereotypes of “urban youth”?

Send abstracts (300-500 words) and a short bio (50-75 words) to Lara Saguisag ( by March 1, 2017.

PLEASE NOTE: This CfP is for a proposed, not a guaranteed, session at the 2018 MLA Annual Convention (January 4 – 7, 2018; New York City). For your abstract to be included in the proposal, you must agree to join MLA or renew your membership no later than April 7, 2017. The MLA Program Committee will review all proposals in May 2017.