IRSCL Mentoring Program

IRSCL invites young children’s literature researchers (including undergraduate students and recent PhD graduates) to apply and benefit from the mentors’ expertise and guidance related to:

  • Teaching/Curriculum development
  • Article/book publication
  • Job market
  • Conference presentation skills
  • Networking
  • Grant applications

We are initially offering 20 mentee places, which we will try to allocate by matching the mentees’ needs with the mentors’ expertise. Once we have matched the mentors and mentees, we will ask them to negotiate the means of communication and time commitments. We hope that the mentors and mentees are able to begin their collaboration at the beginning of February 2018.

If you are interested in participating in the program as a mentee, please fill in and submit the online application form until 15 January, 2018.

Please email Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak at if you have any questions.

CFP – Special Issue of Theatre Survey: Performing Girlhoods

Call for Papers
Special Issue of Theatre Survey
Performing Girlhoods
Marlis Schweitzer, Associate Editor

Theatre Survey invites submissions for a special issue on performing girlhoods. Taking a cue from girlhood studies, this issue aims to investigate theatre’s role in the lived experiences of those who identify as girls (including trans individuals), while also analyzing girls’ contributions to professional and nonprofessional theatre and performance around the world. As historical subjects marginalized by age and gender, girls exist on the fringes of theatre and performance history, rarely popping into historical narratives except in exceptional situations, as with the phenomenal success of Uncle Tom’s Cabin in the late nineteenth century or the popularity of the Broadway musical Wicked in the twenty-first century. Yet there is ample evidence to suggest that girls have always been active consumers of and participants in theatrical entertainment, even when parents, custom, or the law forbade them from attending the theatre or performing onstage. So too theatrical representations of girlhood, from Shakespeare’s Rosalind to Small Alison in Lisa Kron and Jeanine Tesori’s Fun Home, have long informed the lived experiences of children of all genders and subsequently shaped performances of girlhood in sites ranging from the playground and the parlor to the schoolroom and the mall. As such, this issue seeks to move girls from the margins to the center of theatre and performance history.

Possible questions for consideration include the following:

  • How and in what contexts have girls used theatre or performance to assert social and/or political agency?
  • How have theatrical representations of girlhood served to promote/contest dominant ideologies of gender, sexuality, race, class, ability, and/or nationality?
  • In what ways have social institutions (e.g., government, religion, education, family) sought to influence girls’ consumption of and participation in theatre?
  • To what theories and methodologies might theatre and performance studies scholars turn in order to address the “double marginalization” of girls?
  • How might theatre and performance studies scholars engage with/advance/complicate developments in girlhood studies?

Please submit a full paper (25–40 pages double-spaced) and a brief abstract (ca. 250 words) via Theatre Survey’s manuscript submission site at ScholarOne.

Deadline: 1 May 2018.

Questions may be addressed to Special Issue Editor Marlis Schweitzer at

IRSCL Statement of Principles

On Universal Children’s Day, the scholarly organization International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL) issues a Statement of Principles, because it is worried about the ways in which contemporary geopolitics curtail academic freedom. For this reason, IRSCL has issued a Statement of Principles, which explains why scholarship can flourish only in a world with open borders. Read and listen to the Statement in multiple languages on YouTube. Please join us in sharing this widely!

CFP – Moving Stories: Emotion in, through, and around Texts for Children and Young Adults

Call for Papers
Moving Stories: Emotion in, through, and around Texts for Children and Young Adults
Co-editors, Karen Coats (Illinois State) and Gretchen Papazian (Central Michigan)

Humors. Passions. Sentiments. Sensibilities. Feelings. Emotions. Affect. Are they natural, learned, culturally scripted? Are they embodied, biochemical, contagious? Are they personal, interpersonal, social? Are they rational or impulsive? Are they good or dangerous? Can they be controlled? How are they framed similarly or differently in relation to identity categories (e.g. gender, age, race, class, nation)? How do textual forms function to generate them for readers?

These questions and topics have been circulating in English Studies for some time. However, they have recently gained more prominence, through Sarah Ahmed’s work on the cultural politics of emotion, Teresa Brennan’s study of the transmission of affect, and Patricia Ticineto Clough and Jean Halley’s historicizing of “the affective turn.” They have gained such academic purchase, in fact, that the FALL 2015 PMLA Special Topic issue was devoted to Emotions.

The collection proposed here aims to extend consideration more firmly into the field of children’s and young adult literature. While the PMLA issue included incidental discussion of some texts designed for children, and while there has been a smattering of attention to emotion in children’s and young adult literature already (articles and book chapters by Perry Nodelman, Maria Nikolajeva, Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer, and Karen Coats; plus Jerry Griswold’s 2006 monograph Feeling Like a Kid), the time is ripe for a collection of essays that pulls together the range of ways that texts for children approach emotion, as well as the range of ways emotion can be approached in, through, and around texts for children. Ultimately, the collection aims to more clearly and sharply articulate what is at stake in the emotions and emotional-workings of literature, film, and other media designed for children and young adults.

Proposals are welcomed from all areas of literature study, as are all approaches to the topic. Possible areas of investigation might include the following:

  • How do emotions work within texts for children and young adults?
  • What emotions might CYAL be scripting? Does that vary over genre, format, or imagined audience?
  • How does CYAL value and evaluate affect?
  • Are emotions—or particular emotions—marked as “childish”? Or gendered? Or racialized?
  • How does CYAL create and/or transmit affect? What are the techniques used by various formats (picture book, novel, film, game, video game) to create feeling (i.e., a sad story)?
  • Are specific genres or formats more invested in or better at representing emotion—or certain kinds of emotion—than others?
  • Have the emotions of CYAL changed over time?
  • What are the politics and ideologies of emotions in and around children’s and young adult literatures?

300-word proposals (plus brief scholar bio that includes rank and institutional affiliation) due by December 31, 2017 to Full manuscripts due by December 31, 2018.

IRSCL Press Release: Current Global Politics Limit Academic Freedom

On Universal Children’s Day, November 20, 2017, the International Research Society for Children’s Literature, (IRSCL, issues a Statement of Principles, because it is worried about the ways in which contemporary geopolitics curtail academic freedom.

This summer, IRSCL convened its 23rd biennial congress in Canada. More than 20 percent of the scholars whose papers were accepted were unable to attend Congress 2017, not only because of radical economic disparities in the world but also because of current restrictive travel policies and the “chill” caused by them.

– IRSCL finds the current xenophobic situation worrying as it curtails academic freedom. The free flow of people and ideas across borders has to be defended anew, says Lies Wesseling, President of IRSCL.

For this reason, IRSCL has issued a Statement of Principles, which explains why scholarship can flourish only in a world with open borders. The statement will be released in the format of a collection of videos featuring IRSCL members reading the statement in their native language (IRSCL 2017 Statement).

– The statement is issued on November 20, Universal Children’s Day, to emphasize not only the importance of our research, but also of children’s literature’s potential to foster empathy, nurture creativity, and imagine a better world, says Lies Wesseling.

IRSCL is an international scholarly organization dedicated to children’s and young adult literature with 360 members from 47 different countries worldwide. Every second year the organization arranges IRSCL Congress, the world’s most international congress within the research field.

President IRSCL, professor Elisabeth Wesseling:


Clarke Library’s International Children’s Literature Research Grant

Applications are welcome for the Clarke Library’s International Children’s Literature Research grant. The grant will fund travel to Central Michigan University’s Clarke Historical Library to conduct research using the International resources found in the Clarke Library’s Lucile Clarke Memorial Children’s Library. Among these resources are an extensive collection of International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) nominee books and author dossiers, as well as other children’s books from around the world. For a detailed catalog of the international children’s books found in the Clarke Library that would be available for use, visit and search the library catalog.

Innovative proposals that exploit the riches of the collection are encouraged. The object of the research may be but is not limited to studies in children’s literature. Applicants may propose using the collection’s foreign language resources in any way that would promote scholarly endeavor.

Application forms may be obtained at Applicants must be received no later than March 15, 2018.

Please note that the winning applicant must hold either a master’s or doctoral degree, or be currently enrolled in a doctoral program and must reside in the U.S. or Canada or be currently enrolled in an American or Canadian university program. The winning applicant will receive $2,000 which will be expected to cover transportation and living expenses while visiting the library. For additional information please contact the Clarke Historical Library at Please include the phrase “International Children’s Literature Research Grant” in the subject line.

CFP – Comics and the Graphic Narrative: The Future of the Movement

Kent State University School of Information, Reinberger Children’s Library Center, and the Marantz Picturebook Collection for the Study of Picturebook Art present the 2nd Bi-Annual Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium

Comics and the Graphic Narrative: The Future of the Movement
August 5-7, 2018
Kent State University, Kent, Ohio

Keynotes: Carol Tilley, PhD; Graphic Artist, Rafael Rosado

This call for proposals seeks original, interdisciplinary research in areas related to comics and graphic novels.

Presentation Formats:

The Committee especially encourages presentations and research in the following formats:

  1. Twenty-minute presentations followed by 10 minutes of discussion
  2. Panel submissions comprised of three 20-minute presentations followed by 20 minutes of discussion (or four 15-minute presentations followed by 15 minutes of discussion)
  3. Posters

Prospective participants should submit abstracts that report on recent research and scholarship. Contributions to this call for papers may not have been previously published, and all research methodologies from all disciplines are welcomed.

Apply here.

January 15, 2018: Deadline to submit abstracts
March 1, 2018: Notification of acceptance

Once selected, presenters are responsible for their own expenses related to the conference, including but not limited to registration fees, lodging, transportation and meals. Students are encouraged to participate.

Possible topics, as related to the conference theme, include (but are not limited to):

  • Cultural constructions of comics and graphic novels
  • Reaching diverse readers via comics and graphic novels
  • Historical perspectives on comics and graphic novels
  • Visual history/storytelling in comic books and graphic novels
  • Comics and graphic novels as propaganda directed at youth
  • The future of comics and graphic novels Political issues in comics and graphic novels

Conference Program Co-chairs

Mary Anne Nichols, MLS
Senior Lecturer

Michelle Baldini, MLS
Director, Reinberger Children’s Library Center

Marianne Martens, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor

Meghan Harper, Ph.D.
Associate Professor

Call for Applications: 2017 Frances E. Russell Grant

The Canadian National Section of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY Canada) is now accepting proposals for the 2017 Frances E. Russell Grant. The $1,000 grant is intended to support IBBY Canada’s mission to initiate and encourage research in young people’s literature in all its forms and is given in support of research for a publishable work (a book or a paper) on Canadian children’s literature. The deadline for the Frances E. Russell Grant is 15 January 2018.

For more information on criteria, see

CFP – Children and Deaf Culture in Literature and Other Modes of Representation

Children and Deaf Culture in Literature and Other Modes of Representation

The aim of this collection is to explore literary and cultural representations of d/Deaf culture, and so we invite a wide variety of scholarly studies with specific attention to the cultures of the deaf, deafness and experiences of deafness. We welcome approaches that examine the subject from various perspectives – examination of different genres in writing and multimedia, situation of deaf characters in varying backgrounds, including able bodied, ethnic and racial cultures, strategic modes of representation of visual lives, the implications of specific genres (the Bildungsroman, for example), and so on. Historically, deafness has been regarded as a sub-category of disability and, in relation to children’s literature and culture, scholarly writing has mostly fallen under that umbrella, although the nexus is often challenged. The general field of disability studies scholarship has had a long history in the social sciences, entered the humanities around thirty years ago, but has had a shorter existence in children’s literature. Landmark twenty-first century events have been themed issues in Disability Studies Quarterly in 2004 (issue 24.1), in ChLAQ in 2013 (issue 38.3), and in interjuli in 2017, although only one article in these three volumes focused on deafness. While considerable interest has been shown in children and deafness and children in deaf culture in creative literature and film, scholarship has been somewhat sporadic. A common focus of attention has been the problem of representation: is there an emphasis on the “otherness” of deaf characters? Is representation from a hearing perspective? Do deaf characters occupy a central role and function, or are they subordinated to hearing characters? Are authors drawn to the motif of the “supercrip”? What kind of links are portrayed between deaf characters and animals? Does representation explain specific characteristics of a character’s deafness and is this grounded in an accurate understanding of deafness? How are characters positioned in relationship to “the sense of an ending”? Do texts assume a cultural divide between deaf and hearing people, and if so, what does this imply? What is the relationship of Deaf culture to other social cultures? Do texts acknowledge the complexity of d/Deaf cultures?

We are looking for contributions that focus on social and cultural representations of children and deafness, and the cultures of deafness, rather than studies in pathology or pedagogy. Contributions may not have been previously published. Some possible themes are set out below, but these are not exclusive and we are open to suggestions of other kinds:

  • Deafness in Children’s Literature: Historical Perspectives
  • Deaf Theory and Children’s Literature
  • Deaf culture in children’s books
  • Deafness, children and film
  • Film documentaries
  • The exploits of Superdeafy and other supercrips
  • Comparative studies: representation in various communities
  • Representations of cognitive processes in fiction and/or film
  • Representing identity development, and/or construction
  • Deafness and Bibliotherapy
  • Signed performance with children (poetry, drama, etc.)
  • Biography and Autobiography
  • Turning a Deaf Ear: Deafness as a Metaphor

This project was suggested by the University Press of Mississippi, with whom we have an agreement to publish the collection, subject to a satisfactory peer review.

Please send proposals of no longer than 300 words plus a short CV (up to 300 words) to: Vivian Yenika-Agbaw:
Deadline for proposals: 24 November 2017
The editors will respond to proposals by: 15 December 2017
Full submissions of no more than 6000 words and conforming to the Publishers’ house style will then be due with the Editors by April 1, 2018.

The editors are:

Dr. Vivian Yenika-Agbaw
Professor of Education (Literature & Literacy)
Department of Curriculum & Instruction
The Pennsylvania State University

Prof John Stephens
Emeritus Professor in English
Macquarie University

Northern Bridge Partnership Award PhD Opportunity at Seven Stories

Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books are delighted to draw your attention to a fully-funded Northern Bridge Partnership Award PhD opportunity which can support outstanding children’s literature studies applicants.

Projects would normally be expected to make substantial use of one or more archival collections at Seven Stories. Seven Stories holds archival material from c.1930 to the present day by over 250 leading authors, illustrators and publishers, from Enid Blyton to Philip Pullman and from Kay Webb to Michael Morpurgo. Proposals on longue durée children’s literature, as well as work focussed on the 20th and 21st centuries are welcomed.

Please see attached for further information. Seven Stories would also welcome Partnership Award applicants with excellent academic credentials to study other aspects of our collection, providing appropriate supervision can be found within the three Northern Bridge universities: Newcastle University, Durham University and Queen’s University Belfast.

The Northern Bridge Doctoral Training Partnership is funded by the AHRC and runs a competitive scheme for fully-funded PhD studentships, together with support for placements and training. Northern Bridge is open to UK and EU applicants and seeks to recruit postgraduate students with outstanding academic backgrounds. Successful applicants would start their studies in autumn 2018.

To express an interest in the Northern Bridge Partnership Award at Seven Stories, please send an completed expression of interest form outlining your proposed research project and a CV to Sarah Rylance, Northern Bridge DTP Administrator:, by Friday, 20 October, 2017 at 17:00.

For more information, visit: