CFP – Special Issue of SIGNAL Journal: Sustainability in Young Adult Literature

SPRING/SUMMER 2017 Issue of SIGNAL Journal
Theme: Sustainability in Young Adult Literature
Deadline: February 1, 2017

Although they are not always acknowledged as such, problems such as climate change, deforestation, pollution, sustainability, and so on are, at their core, social justice issues. They have also begun to receive attention in works of literature for adolescents. Dystopian and post-apocalyptic novels such as Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games trilogy and M. T. Anderson’s Feed are often set in worlds that have been ravaged by the effects of climate change brought on by corporate greed. In other works—for example, Marie Lu’s Legend and Marissa Meyer’s Cinder—totalitarian regimes deploy bio-weapons such as the plague against their enemies. Consideration of these issues is not limited to the genre of speculative fiction, however. Eliot Schrefer’s Endangered and Threatened, along with other works of realist fiction, examine how issues such as government corruption, deforestation, and war impact the natural world, threatening humans and animals alike. Still other works of young adult literature identify steps readers can take to mitigate these problems. In Generation Green: The Ultimate Teen Guide to Living an Eco-Friendly Life, Linda and Tosh Siversten outline specific actions they suggest readers can take to combat a range of environmental issues, while Garth Sundem’s Real Kids, Real Stories, Real Change: Courageous Actions Around the World collects stories about adolescents engaged in activist work in their respective communities. In these ways and others, a growing body of young adult fiction and nonfiction is interested in understanding how environmental issues impact young people, and how they are in turn responding to them.

This issue of SIGNAL Journal invites contributors to share their experiences using young adult literature, fiction as well as nonfiction, to engage students in exploring issues associated with sustainability, climate change, nature, and other related topics. How do you use literature to engage students in examining the natural world? What texts—print as well as non-print—do you find helpful in doing so, and how do you challenge students to take those texts up in class? What critical questions do you invite students to ask of fiction and nonfiction that touches on environmental issues, defined broadly? How do you pair works of canonical literature that are concerned with the natural world—for example, Thoreau’s Walden or much of Dickinson’s poetry—with young adult texts that address related issues? How do you create opportunities for students to read young adult literature through the lens of eco-criticism and other related literary theories, and what do you understand them to gain from doing so? In what ways do you partner with teachers in other content areas to engage students in studying issues related to sustainability and the environment, and how do they benefit from experiencing these interdisciplinary relationships? These are just some of the questions that contributors might potentially explore. SIGNAL Journal aspires to publish a balance of theoretical and practitioner oriented articles that are concerned with the study of young adult literature. Inquiries may be directed to Sean Connors at