CFP: Players and Pawns: Political Childhoods, Political Children

Special Session, MLA (Modern Language Association) 2022
Location/Dates: Washington DC, 6-9th January, 2022
Deadline for submissions: March 5, 2021
Organization: Children’s Literature Division, MLA
Contact email: mgreenb6@uwo.ca

“Think of the children,” we say, again and again using the child as the object of political discourse. Policies and laws governing everything from education and public health to minimum wage and sexual relations are enacted with the intent of protecting children and improving their lives. So often, however, children are denied the ability to be perceived and accepted as political agents themselves. In fact, when children and teens, such as Malala Yousafzai, Greta Thunberg, Mari Copeny (Little Miss Flint), and David Hogg, among many others, become involved in politics, adults often criticize their efforts, arguing that children possess neither the experiences nor the knowledge to be involved in political discussions or to advocate for policy changes.

As children’s and YA literature affirms, children and teens both are used for the political gain of others and are themselves interested in politics. Drawing on children’s and YA literature, as well as films and other forms of youth media, this panel considers what it means to be a political child and/or how children are used by politicians. In other words, in what ways are children players in the game of politics, and in what ways are they pawns?

Papers might consider the following questions:

  • What are the politics of the child?
  • How is the political child constructed by adults? By children?
  • What kinds of childhood are instrumentalized by people in positions of power, and to what end?
  • What does it mean to “fight for the children?” How does the desire to protect children affect political children? What is the politics of childhood without the guise of futurity?
  • What is the child’s role in politics? Who is included and excluded from being a political child?
  • In what ways do children and teens resist political power? How might children politicize themselves?
  • Which possibilities or which limitations of children’s agency are inherent in political discourse?
  • How does the political child collaborate with the political adult?
  • What is the connection between anti-fascism and children’s and youth media?

Please submit 300-word abstracts and a brief biography to Miranda Green-Barteet (mgreenb6@uwo.ca) by March 5, 2021.

CFP: Nightmare Before Christmas

CFP:  Nightmare Before Christmas (Key Films/Filmmakers in Animation series, Bloomsbury)

This edited collection will consider Nightmare Before Christmas as a milestone in animation and film history as well as a key cultural object with lasting impact. The book will be inserted in Bloomsbury’s Key Film/Filmmakers in Animation series.

In the thirty years since its release, Nightmare Before Christmas has drawn repeated academic attention. Many of these contributions have seen the film as an entry point to larger arguments about Tim Burton’s work, whether in terms of its animation (Cuthill 2017), representations of gender (Mitchell 2017), and use of fairy tales (Burger 2017). Less often, Nightmare Before Christmas has been considered in relation to other frameworks, such as its presence beyond the film industry, in theme parks (Williams 2020a, 2020b), and the way it negotiated changing cultural expectations of children’s media and horror (Antunes 2020). Though this literature has shed light on several aspects of the film’s significance, there is to date no sustained scholarly inquiry that brings these insights together and examines the historical and cultural significance specifically of Nightmare Before Christmas. This edited collection seeks to address this gap, considering the different layers of meanings and history of Nightmare Before Christmas from pre-production to the present day.

Nightmare Before Christmas was released quietly in 1993 under Disney’s Touchstone banner and sold primarily on the art-house appeal of its animation technique, amid fears that a close association with child audiences would harm Disney’s reputation. But the film was an immediate success and has since been reclaimed by Disney as one of its most beloved family titles. Growing into a cult phenomenon, Nightmare Before Christmas still cultivates a dedicated fandom across the globe today with an array of merchandise, tie-in products, and other media.

Nightmare Before Christmas marks an important moment of technological development in stop-motion animation, and the technique has continued to have a key presence in the industry, particularly associated with horror- and gothic-inspired narratives (Selick’s Coraline and ParaNoman, or Burton’s Corpse Bride and Frankenweenie), where it blurs questions of suitability for child audiences and continues to fuel debates about the art of animated films and its target audiences. Indeed, the specific combination of stop-motion and children’s horror in Nightmare Before Christmas is key to how the film has negotiated genre, suitability, and other cultural categories in its original and retrospective reception, questions which often become tangled with ideas of nostalgia.

More recently, Nightmare Before Christmas continues to serve as a point of reference for negotiations of genre and of the boundaries between mainstream and niche cultures, both on screen and in spaces of fandom. Its many afterlives expand well beyond the film industry, occupying manga and comic books , board games, and other paraphernalia, as well as physical rooted localities through events such as the live-staged musical, theme parks, and in exhibits (Hicks 2013), as well as through the fan practices that the film has inspired, such as fan fashion (Cuthill 2017) and makeup, cosplay, textual production, and transcultural fandom.

How can we best understand Nightmare Before Christmas and its significance in the history of film and animation? What is Nightmare Before Christmas’ legacy thirty years on, and how does it continue to challenge and delight audiences, scholars, and industry today?

This book aims to collect diverse and original insights into the meanings and impacts of Nightmare Before Christmas from a range of disciplinary perspectives and methods. Some suggested topics include:

  • Nightmare Before Christmasin animation and film history;
  • animation and genre (musicals/fairy tales/horror/family/etc);
  • narrative structure in Nightmare Before Christmas and the audience;
  • stop-motion as animation technique and cultural object;
  • animation and branding practices;
  • Nightmare Before Christmasas seasonal media (Christmas/Halloween);
  • suitability, animation, and young audiences;
  • children’s horror animation before and after Nightmare Before Christmas;
  • animation and nostalgia;
  • animation, technology, and art;
  • the music of Nightmare Before Christmas(songs, covers, re-releases, etc.);
  • the politics of representation in Nightmare Before Christmas;
  • childhood in Nightmare Before Christmasand its associated texts and practices;
  • authorship and associated debates (Burton/Selick/Elfman/Disney), including the links between Nightmare Before Christmasand other works;
  • franchises and franchising relationships;
  • live and experiential events linked to the film (live musicals, theme park attractions, the Beetle House restaurants in New York and Los Angeles, Tim Burton exhibitions, etc.);
  • transmedia and merchandise (Funko figures, action figures, board games, clothing and make-up, cookbooks, etc.);
  • transnational critical and audience/fan reception;
  • fandom, subcultures (Goth/emo), and fan practices, including transformative works (fan animation, fanfiction, fan videos,…);
  • cosplay and the body in Nightmare Before Christmas

Questions and informal discussion can be directed to any of the three co-editors: Filipa Antunes (a.antunes@uea.ac.uk), Brittany Eldridge (brittany.eldridge.18@ucl.ac.uk), and Rebecca Williams (rebecca.williams@southwales.ac.uk). Formal proposals (under 300 words) and short bio should be emailed to Rebecca Williams by 3 May 2021.

 

CFP: Streetwise: Children’s Literature and Culture in the Modern City

CFP: for a MLA 2022 (Washington D.C.) Allied Organization Non-Guaranteed Panel

Co-sponsored by ChLA (Children’s Literature Association) and MSA (Modernist Studies Association)
Organizer: Kristin Bluemel, Monmouth University
Deadline for proposals: March 1, 2021

Streetwise: Children’s Literature and Culture in the Modern City

Over ten years ago Karin Westman bemoaned the “lack of discussion between the two terms children’s literature and modernism” in her editor’s introduction to a Children’s Literature Association Quarterly special issue on “Children’s Literature and Modernism: The Space Between” (283). Acknowledging the significance of Juliet Dusinberre’s “landmark” contribution Alice to the Lighthouse (1987) and Kimberley Reynolds’s Radical Children’s Literature (2007), she maintained that “even when individual authors connected to children’s literature read through a modernist critical lens, these contributions often get absorbed into existing critical conversations about children’s literature or existing critical conversations about modernism” (284-85). Returning to this argument in 2013 in “Beyond Periodization: Children’s Literature, Genre, and Remediating Literary History,” Westman cites the same exemplary models –Dusinberre, Reynolds — as she calls for “children’s literature [to become] an organizing principle for literary history” (464). This proposed MLA ChLA-sponsored special session, co-sponsored by the Modernist Studies Association, assumes that opportunity, not defeat, lies in Westman’s largely unanswered call. Navigating the streets of the modern city through children’s literature and culture, it does indeed promise to reorganize modernist literary history. It seeks to inspire critical conversations about original research that draws from and contributes to the fields of children’s literature and modernist studies; generate excitement about collaborative projects between ChLA scholars and scholars in the Modernist Studies Organization; provide session participants with a clearer sense of how our research on children’s texts and urban spaces can enrich theorizations of modernism and modernity; and guide next steps towards institutionalizing our work.

This “Streetwise” special session engages with the following questions: How did children’s literature of the late-nineteenth through early- to mid-twentieth centuries respond to and shape the modern city? How did the metropolitan materials and practices of adults – their books, places, and movements – shape the institutions, representations, and objects of childhood? The goal of this panel is to bring together scholars working at the intersection of children’s literary/cultural studies and modernist studies in order to answer these questions and open up new subjects, methods, traditions, and affiliations for future research.

Proposals for papers that treat diverse writers and voices, both within and outside of the canons of modern children’s and modernist literature, are especially encouraged. Possible topics for investigation include relations between the forces and forms of ideology (e.g., race, class, gender, region), space (e.g., pavements, playgrounds, parks), genre (e.g., jump rope rhymes, illustrated novels, picture books), period (e.g., pre-World War I, Depression era, wartime), aesthetics (e.g., middlebrow, avant-garde, commercial), literary history (e.g., of diverse nations, sexes, ethnic groups), media (e.g., print, radio, films), and institutions (e.g., urban schools, Theatre for Young Audiences, Girl Scouts) associated with or impinging upon children’s literature and urban culture.

Please send 400-500 word abstracts by March 1, 2021 to Kristin Bluemel at kbluemel@monmouth.edu. Inquiries welcome.

CFP: MLA 2022: Anima Mundi: Finding our Shared Ecological Experience in Non-environmental Children’s Literature

Heidi A. Lawrence, University of Glasgow

ChLA Non-Guaranteed Session
Anima Mundi: Finding our Shared Ecological Experience in Non-environmental Children’s Literature

In his landmark text, Radical Ecopsychology: Psychology in the Service of Life (2013 [2002]), Andy Fisher defines ecopsychology as a project through which humans may hopefully come to realize how our human psyche and the psyche the world around us, internally relate to “nature,” and how they are the “interior and the exterior of the same phenomenon” (Fisher 205) Theodore Roszak (1996) calls this shared anima mundi the “ecological unconscious” (320-21). For Fisher, this reunification of mind and environment is about “refusing all dualisms or splittings of reality (nonduality perhaps being ecopsychology’s main pivot), seeking integrations instead” (Fisher 205). This contrasts with Cheryll Glotfelty’s definition of ecocriticism as “the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment” (1996: xvii). Instead, ecopsychology is the study of the relationship between human beings and their physical environment. The idea of a shared psyche (or soul) between humans and nonhumans, between the organic and inorganic, and between the occupants of Earth and the occupants of other planets and stars across the universe must, of course, be multicultural, or it will not succeed, argues activist Carl Anthony (Anthony 264). In order to understand how the human-nature relationship can be healing, ecopsychology must acknowledge and seek for healing for the many cultures and peoples who have been dispossessed environmentally (Anthony 267). The close relationship between humans and their ecosystems is present in many children’s and YA fantasy and highly imaginative novels. Elements of these relationships are also present in more realistic children’s and YA fiction spanning at least the last 150 years. And as the Anthropocene accelerates and is accompanied by increased climate-change denial, the question arises – how can those who resist the concept of climate change be reached in a personal way that might allow them to see past pain and shame and guilt to their shared experience with the tree in the local park, or with the clouds scudding past on a windy day? Reading, not with an eye for how literature and the environment are in relation, but with an eye for how humans and the environment are in relation, may provide insights into the multiplicity of experiences humans share with the world around them.
This non-guaranteed session will investigate the question of human embeddedness in the ecosystem in non-environmental children’s and YA literature, whether fantasy, highly imaginative, or strongly realistic. This may include picture books as well. Non-environmental texts are those without an obvious past, present, apocalyptic, or post-apocalyptic environmental agenda; such texts may more easily reach those who struggle to accept climate change through tapping into such things as childhood memories of outdoor experiences or favorite family stories of outdoor play.

Topics might include:

  • Non-traditional outdoor education in non-environmental children’s literature
  • Established kinship between children or adolescents and a particular part of their ecosystem.
  • Evidence of ecojustice in non-environmental children’s/YA literature.
  • Representations (or a lack of representations) of kinship between children and the ecosystem in marginalized communities.
  • Socially and culturally appropriate representations or issues of cultural (mis)appropriation in non-environmental children’s literature.
  • Multicultural non-environmental children’s books and representations of kinship with nature.
  • Children or adolescents empowered through kinship with any organic or inorganic figure/character/object
  • Imaginary friends derived from some aspect of the environment.
  • A life-sustaining psychological bond between a child or adolescent and some part of the environment.
  • Outdoor play as an established part of a childhood routine.
  • A sense of wonder implicit in the experience of the child or adolescent character
  • Healing or nurturing aspects of nature in the child’s life

By March 1, 2021: Please send 400-500-word paper proposals and a 250-word bio to Heidi A. Lawrence, Heidi.Lawrence@byu.edu
Please use the subject heading “MLA 2022: Anima Mundi CFP.” If possible, please use a valid academic email address or an email address that clearly contains your name and comes from an identifiable email service. These steps will help me verify that it is safe to open your email and attachments. Thank you very much.

Book in Honour of June Cummins: “All-of-a-Kind”

Admired for her scholarship, mentorship and friendship, the collection of essays—and a poem by Katie Strode—assembled in June’s honour demonstrates how much she was loved, and how much she is missed. Based on a series of memorial talks organized by Joseph T. Thomas Jr.  at San Diego State University in the spring of 2019 (a little more than a year after June’s death at fifty-four from ALS in February 2018), the book also contains one of June’s lively, astute essays on Sydney Taylor’s All-of-a-Kind books. With its inspiriting cover art by Barbara Henry, All of a Kind: Remembering June Cummins keeps June present in our minds and hearts.

All-of-a-Kind: Remembering June Cummins, edited by Michael Joseph, Joseph T. Thomas, Jr. and Lissa Paul is now available on Amazon.

https://www.amazon.com/All-Kind-Remembering-June-Cummins/dp/B08KSDRD2K/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=june+cummins&qid=1602538567&sr=8-1

CFP: Food and/in Children’s Culture

National, Internatinal and Transnational Perspectives
Università Ca’ Foscari, Venice, Italy
Department of Linguistic and Cultural Comparative Studies
Palazzo Cosulich – Zattere Dorsoduro, 1405, 30123 Venezia – Italy
6 – 9 April 2021

Food is a prominent element in children’s literature and culture. As Carolyn Daniel puts it, by reading about food children learn “what to eat and what not to eat or who eats whom” (2006, 4). In children’s narratives food can be, simultaneously, a mark of national identity, and a bridge between cultures, through which children can both learn about their own national culture and encounter other cultural identities and experiences. It can be a mark of kinship, but also a mark of difference and monstrosity, a symbol of desire, but also a vehicle of danger and death. Food scenes at times represent moments of intense pleasure for characters in movies, books, and different kinds of performances and, therefore, vicariously, for the reader/spectator, who becomes involved in what Gitanjali Shahani has called “food ekphrasis” (2018, 3) and consumes fictional banquets through vivid descriptions. At other times, these vivid descriptions may place before the reader/spectator/listener foods that are decidedly unappealing, at times monstrously so; and in some cases they may represent, equally vividly, scenes of hunger, poverty, and longing for unreachable food.

There are indeed few elements so multifaceted, counterintuitive, and contradictory as food, and its role in children’s literature and culture usually bears heavy ideological, political, and/or cultural connotations. This conference invites broad, interdisciplinary interpretations of this theme encompassing, but not limited to:

  • Children as eaters and/or food
  • Medicine and science: diets, “clean vs un-clean” eating, nutrition
  • Food and gender
  • Picturebooks: picturing food and food fantasies/nightmares
  • Period-specific perspectives (Early Modern, Eighteenth Century, Victorian and Neo-Victorian, post-War, contemporary …)
  • Food and the child body: normalized, codified, modified, rejected/accepted
  • Trans/national perspectives
  • Images of food and intercultural dialogues/issues
  • The press (childcare, cooking and house management magazines, children’s periodicals)
  • Eating at home and abroad (in institutions [hospital, workhouse, school …], in different countries, picnics, the family meal, feasts and special occasions …)
  • Magical food
  • Food fantasies/nightmares
  • Children, food, and the environment: climate change, ecocriticism, access to food based on class/nationality …
  • Expressing concern about food: alcoholism and temperance, food disorders, poverty and hunger

Confirmed keynote speakers include:

Emeritus Professor Peter Hunt, Cardiff University (UK)
Professor Nicola Humble, University of Roehampton (UK)
Professor Björn Sundmark, Malmö University (Sweden)
Dr Zoe Jaques, University of Cambridge (UK)

Please send abstracts of 300-500 words for 20-minute papers and a 100-word biography to the Conference Organizers, Dr Anna Gasperini and Professor Laura Tosi, at foodchildrenculture2021@gmail.com by 30 November 2020.
For further information, please visit the website FED – Feeding, Educating, Dieting

Note: the conference is envisaged as an in-person event; should this not be possible, an on-line version will be organized. We will provide updates about this in due course.

Job Posting – NTNU Hiring Associate Professor in Children’s Literature and Young Learners

Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) 

The Department of Teacher Education has two vacancies for  Associate Professors of Literature and Culture in English
The Department of Teacher Education is announcing two permanent full-time positions as Associate Professor of Literature and Culture in English:

  • Associate Professor in Children’s Literature and Young Learners
  • Associate Professor in English Literature and Culture

Please indicate which position you are applying for in your application.

The positions are based in the Section of English and Foreign Languages. The Section is responsible for teaching modules as part of the 5-year integrated programme for a Master’s in Primary and Secondary Education.

The department offers three different programmes: Primary Education: Grades 1-7, Secondary Education: Grades 5-10, and Secondary Education: Grades 8-13. The department also offers a post-graduate certificate of education, a 2-year programme offering a Master’s in Foreign Language Education and inservice courses in English for teachers in primary and secondary school.

You can find a more detailed description of the Department of Teacher Education and the Section for English and Foreign Languages here: https://www.ntnu.edu/ilu/about
You will report to The Head of Section for English and Foreign Languages.

Full job posting available here: https://www.jobbnorge.no/en/available-jobs/job/188873/associate-professors-of-literature-and-culture-in-english?fbclid=IwAR2GpQJdktANHxInhT27xZsdngJmynenrEd4W8zFH7c3PDEtp43K8aoiaxs

DEADLINE TO APPLY: September 1st, 2020

CFP Extended: International #YouthMediaLife 2021 Conference

March 29 – April 1, 2021
University of Vienna
Confirmed keynote speakers:
Susanne Baumgartner, Amsterdam University, The Netherlands
Rodney Jones, University of Reading, UK
Axel Krommer, University Erlangen-Nürnberg, Germany
Dafna Lemish, Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, USA

In mediatised cultures, people are engaged in increasingly complex networks of digital and ana­logue media practices through which they construct, experience, and share their lifeworlds. In the interdisciplinary research platform #YouthMediaLife at the University of Vienna, scholars have been engaged with such mediatised lifeworlds, specifically of young people, since May 2018. #YouthMediaLife 2021 invites international experts from various fields to share their research and perspectives on young people’s mediatised lifeworlds.

The three-day conference at the University of Vienna has at its heart questions about young peo­ple’s communicative and media practices in a variety of contexts. This brings questions such as the following to the fore: What are the roles which mediated narratives play in establishing and managing young people’s social connections? How are identities (co-)constructed in and through social media? How can media practices contribute to the appropriation of knowledge and skills which are crucial for the formation of young people’s lifeworlds? How are mediality and specific media practices perceived and evaluated, and how do such media ideologies feed back on media practices? How are media and narratives connected to and determined by technological, discur­sive and psychological factors and how do these factors in turn shape young people’s lifeworlds? How do technology and technological change shape story-telling practices? What are the ethical challenges and the socio-political and power aspects in these contexts?

A better understanding of digital change in young people’s lifeworlds requires a productive com­bination of disciplinary and interdisciplinary work that helps us all make sense of some of the de­velopments we observe. We invite abstracts for papers on any of the following topics:

Communicative Action and Media Practices:

 

  • Communicative structures of media practices;
  • Analogue and digital co-dependencies;
  • Intergenerational issues in media use;
  • Economising our needs via the media;
  • Audience expectations towards (news) media;
  • (De-)mediatisation strategies;
  • Multilingualism and translanguaging;
  • English as a global media language.

Individual and Community:

  • Issues of identity formation;
  • Migrant communities and media practices;
  • Artificial intelligence and young people;
  • The digital and the body;
  • Media perception;
  • Perception of the body in space;
  • Forms of medial communitarisation.

Research Practices:

  • New Methods for researching media practices;
  • Field access and spatio-temporal structures of the field;
  • Practical and legal questions surrounding social media research.

Politics, Ideologies, and Ethics:

  • The ethics involved in media use;
  • Perception of, and discourses about, mediality and specific media practices;
  • Metrics and algorithms;
  • Ethical considerations of technology shaping identity;
  • Digital technologies and “the good life”;
  • The aesthetics of reception and production;
  • Cultural pessimism, digital determinism and other perspectives of technology and culture;
  • Power inequalities, hegemonies and democratisation processes.

Education and Personal Development:

  • Multilingualism, multiliteracies. and multmodalities;
  • “Englishisation” and (language) learning;
  • Learning through gamification;
  • Self-tracking and life-logging;
  • The implications of media change for education and personality development.

We invite abstracts for the following presentation formats:

  • Posters to be presented in dedicated poster sessions (200 words maximum);
  • Individual papers (20 minute speaking time + 10 minutes for discussion, 350 words maximum);
  • Organised panels/symposia of up to 90 minutes in total (350 words maximum for the frame abstract and 200 words maximum for each individual contribution; 3-5 contributions).

Deadline for abstracts: August 15, 2020
You will be notified of acceptance/rejection by October 30, 2020.

For submissions, please use this form. 

Position Posting: Senior Lecturer/Lecturer in Children’s Literature and Literacy Studies

College of Social Science

Institution: University of Glasgow, School of Education
Position: Senior Lecturer/Lecturer in Children’s Literature and Literacy Studies
Contract type: Full Time Permanent
Salary: Grade, level 8/9, £44,045 – £51,034/£52,560 – £59,134 per annum

The School of Education invites applications for the position of Senior Lecturer/Lecturer in Children’s Literature and Literacy Studies on the Research and Teaching Track.

The School of Education is a large and dynamic unit which brings together researchers with expertise across all sectors of education: formal and non-formal, pre-school through to higher, adult and community education. It offers undergraduate, postgraduate and CPD courses and hosts the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change (ROC); the Centre for Research and Development in Adult and Lifelong Learning (CRADALL) and the St. Andrew’s Foundation for Catholic Teacher Education.

The School prides itself on the effective integration of teaching, research, theory, policy and practice. The key feature of its research is its commitment to placing educational research as part of an interdisciplinary agenda to support the development of more equitable societies in the spirit of social justice. The School aims to contribute to producing better places locally, nationally and globally, providing a major source of research-informed evidence that contributes to positive economic and societal impact.

The School is situated within the College of Social Sciences (CoSS) and we welcome applications from candidates keen to contribute to interdisciplinary research, scholarship and knowledge exchange, working collaboratively in taking forward the CoSS interdisciplinary research themes which are: Addressing Inequalities; Challenges in Changing Cities; Digital Society and Economy; Justice, Insecurity and Fair Decision Making; and Sustainable Development.

This post aligns with these themes in addressing inequalities by supporting and extending equitable literacy practices through local and global texts and also aligns with the theme of digital society and economy through including media and digital literacies.

The successful candidate will hold a PhD or equivalent in a related discipline with an extensive and established reputation in research and significant teaching experience in Children’s Literature and Literacy Studies.

This position is open ended and full time.

Informal Enquiries should be directed to Professor Evelyn Arizpe, Director of Culture, Literacies, Inclusion and Pedagogies RTG, email address: evelyn.arizpe@glasgow.ac.uk

Visit our website for further information on The University of Glasgow School of Education: https://www.gla.ac.uk/schools/education/

Click here for the full posting.

Closing date: 03 August 2020. 

It is the University of Glasgow’s mission to foster an inclusive climate, which ensures equality in our working, learning, research and teaching environment.

We strongly endorse the principles of Athena SWAN, including a supportive and flexible working environment, with commitment from all levels of the organisation in promoting gender equity.

The University of Glasgow, charity number SC004401.

 

 

CFP: IRSCL 2021 Congress Aesthetics and Pedagogic Entanglements

Call for Papers

The pedagogical and aesthetic aspects of children’s and young adults’ literature have often been pitted against each other. Yet, if we think of children’s literature as a participatory and mediated practice, the aesthetical and the pedagogical dimensions are no longer opposed to each other. In the last two decades, we have witnessed an ‘educational turn’ in contemporary arts practices, where the emphasis is no longer on the finished aesthetic object, but on the processes and relationships established with the audiences and communities which become part of the art project, a process also facilitated by digital fora. Speaking of children’s literature as a mediated practice questions art’s autonomy and the limits of ‘non-art’; it brings the ‘death of the author’ not only to praise the ‘birth of the reader’ but also to foreground and question the conventions that sustain the artistic.

Since we cannot take children’s cognitive and literacy skills for granted, books tend to be recommended according to specific age ranges, while teachers and other adult figures involved (such as librarians, parents, and other caretakers, the so-called ‘gate-keepers’) try to facilitate an interpretation of the author’s intention. But what if we take the death of the author seriously? Will we still talk about the importance of understanding the text? What if we make children mediators and authors of children’s literature? Who is the ideal child that writes and reads? How is age produced and sustained in these relationships?

Thinking about possible synergies between the pedagogical and the aesthetic in children’s literature brings back questions on reception and (affective) engagement. It also provides us with insights into the entanglements of the publishing industry, the readers/viewers/consumers/users, the authors/artists, the practices of reading/sharing/discussing/reversioning and the new technologies, and at the same time, prompting reflections on our own (biased) academic work in this field.

Delegates will be invited to reflect on the implications of considering children not as ‘adults in the making’, but rather as readers and makers in their own right.

In this conference, we aim to strengthen the ties between children’s literature scholars, literacy and media experts and arts scholars to explore the possibilities of combining and rethinking the hermeneutical methods of the humanities, the experimental and empirical approaches of social sciences and arts-based research, as well as the contemporary anthropological and educational research that questions the essentialized positions of the adult and the child in educational contexts.

In this vein we suggest the following topics, but we also invite other paper and panel topics inspired by the congress’ theme:

Active readers:

  • Creative and collaborative writing by youth and children
  • Intergenerational collaborations
  • The child as ‘prosumer’ of children’s media
  • Reading and writing as playing
  • Children reversioning stories
  • Booktubers, fan-fiction and web-based communities inside and outside the classroom
  • Initiatives in marginalized communities (refugee centers, jails, hospitals)

Research and Practice:

  • Child-led participatory research
  • New materialism approaches to encounters with books
  • New approaches to reader-response
  • Cognitive approaches to aesthetics and pedagogy
  • Intersectional approaches
  • Arts-based methodologies
  • Historical approaches to tensions between te pedagogic and the aesthetic

Ethics and Aesthetics:

  • Ethical-political role of authors in children’s and YA literature
  • Gate-keepers and the “mediator circle” in children’s literature and media
  • The aesthetic and/or pedagogic role of paratexts
  • Representations of children as authors and artists in children’s fiction and media.

See full call for papers for further details.

More information on the Congress, its modality, dates and its main theme is available on our website (https://www.irscl2021.com/). We are looking forward to hosting you in Santiago!