CFP – Literature, Translation, and Mediation by and for Children: Gender, Diversity, and Stereotype

The Interdisciplinary Centre on Mediation and Translation by and for Children, MeTRa is proud to announce the international conference:
“Literature, Translation, and Mediation by and for Children: Gender, Diversity, and Stereotype”
University of Bologna at Forlì
25-27 October 2017

MeTRa is a research centre that operates within the Department of Interpreting and Translation of the University of Bologna at Forlì (Italy). It promotes interpreting and translation research applied to childhood and adolescence, and its studies range from analyzing all issues connected with translating for children to a critical discussion of children translating for adults, or child language brokering (CLB), which involves first-generation children and adolescents bridging the language and cultural gap between their families and the larger society. One of the centre’s transversal foci is gender studies, where a critical look is cast on the gender roles, models, and identities as they emerge in children’s literature (whether in translation or in the original) and CLB. These interests explain why the main topic of MeTRa’s first international conference is gender diversity/gender stereotypes in mediation and translation by and for children and young adults (YA).

Children’s literature is a key carrier of social and cultural models, values, and roles. Gender difference and gender models available to children have recently acquired particular relevance in many Western societies, and the way they are represented has an impact on the evolution of younger generations’ gender identities. In a globalized world where diversity tends to be flattened out in favour of stereotyping, the conference looks at the role of writing and literature-making with a view to exploring the latest trends in the international publishing industry and future developments that may contribute to more open, sustainable societies. Looking at the translation of children’s literature can contribute to shedding light on how diversity, various roles, and stereotypes are carried across languages and cultures. Analyses of non-linguistic factors of literary texts for children and YA are also welcome.

Of course, the issue of gender stereotyping vs. gender diversity is by no means limited to children’s literature. On the contrary, it can be traced in all kinds of texts aimed at children and teenagers – where the term, “texts,” is used in the broadest meaning of the word. We therefore welcome proposals to analyse gender discourses about, generated by, or aimed at children/young adults in social networks, multimedia products, educational books/videos, advertising, or other kinds of material, whether monolingual or translated.

Roles, stereotypes, and their possible reversal are of paramount importance in CLB research as well. CLB is a complex practice that not only involves language and cultural aspects, but also intersects with young brokers’ psychological development as well as their social and family lives. Within the field of CLB studies, in addition to the main topic of gender, we will accept contributions that investigate how CLB practices may increase or reduce the level of diversity in young brokers’ lives and surrounding contexts. Possible topics may include, for instance, whether and how CLB subverts traditional parent/child relations, or monolingual teacher-centred classroom practices, or the stereotype of childhood as an age that must be protected from responsibilities and cares. Or, on the other hand, studies are also welcome on whether and how CLB – being a largely invisible phenomenon – can contribute to keeping the rich language, cultural, and social diversity of young brokers and their families below the threshold of collective awareness.

Proposals for 20-minutes presentations in one of the official languages of the conference (Italian, English, French or Spanish) should be sent to no later than February 15, 2017. Please make sure that the abstract does not exceed 250 words (which excludes any bibliography/works cited list), and include a short bio, no longer than 100 words. Both abstract and bio should be in English. If the language of presentation is Italian, French or Spanish, an additional abstract and bio in that language may also be included. Notification of acceptance will be sent no later than April 10, 2017.

Transversal and interdisciplinary proposals will be particularly welcome. Possible sub-topics may include, but are not limited to:

  • Gender models, roles and identities in children’s and YA literature;
  • Migration, diversity, multiculturalism in children’s and YA literature;
  • Paratext-mediated gender models in children’s and YA literature;
  • The addressee of the paratext: the role of authors vs that of editors and publishers;
  • Reversing gender stereotypes in children’s and YA literature;
  • Literary representations of new forms of parenthood and LGBTQ families;
  • Visibility, representation and translation of LGBTQ characters in children’s and YA literature;
  • “Sensitive” publishing: fortune and translation of stereotype-free children’s and YA literature;
  • New literary and educational approaches oriented to respect and inclusion and against the stereotype of so-called “gender ideology”;
  • The translation of children’s and YA literature – issues of sexism in language;
  • Translating diversity, migration, multiculturalism in children’s and YA literature;
  • Stereotypes about the translation of children’s and YA literature: who translates, how s/he should translate, for what readership. Evolution of models and theories;
  • Virtual communication spaces as new forms of self-awareness, resistance/education against sexist, misogynist, racist, homophobic, transphobic discourses;
  • Audio-visuals for children and YA: translation criticalities vis-à-vis gender issues, stereotypes, rainbow families, identity issues, etc.;
  • “Boys’ play, girls’ play”: gender stereotypes in the advertising, packaging, selling of children’s toys, books and products;
  • Gender and CLB: is it “a girl’s thing”? Ethnographic/sociological inquiries on the gender of child brokers and perceptions about their roles;
  • Impact of CLB on relations within the family and parent/child role reversal;
  • Perceptions of CLB as hidden child labour vs. helping with housework: the points of view of child brokers, beneficiaries and/or witnesses of CLB;
  • CLB as a factor of (super)diversity; and
  • Perceptions and/or representations of “bridge/edge” identity issues (first/second generations of migrants, biculturalism, bilingualism).