CFP – Special Issue of Bookbird: Negotiating Agency, Voice and Identity through Literature

Negotiating Agency, Voice and Identity through Literature

Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature seeks contributions for a themed issue on agency, voice and identity. In a fast-changing world, where power is becoming more and more oppressive and undemocratic, agency, voice and identity are the very life elements that can sustain us. Our sense of agency—our ability to assert our identity, exert our voice and make a difference in the world—is closely related to our drive to live, act and hope. Citizens who contribute to, and receive from, their local and global communities, strive to have a voice in issues that matter and to be part of decision-making processes that are of importance. Such empowerment comes from developing a strong sense of identity.

Borrowing from Moje and Lewis’ definition of agency (2007), we perceive people with agency as being empowered to make their identity, ideals, perceptions, and beliefs visible and actively tapped to enhance personal, cultural, and social aspects of their life experiences. One important way in which people do this, is by sharing their stories. Experiencing acts of agency through reading offers powerful ways to learn about other members of our local and global communities as well as consider the potential for our own agency. When it comes to conceptions of child agency, we espouse Marah Gubar’s “kinship model” (2016). Instead of regarding adults’ agency as the norm and then thinking of how children’s agency is different or lacking, the kinship model starts with the assumption that all people, young and old, are akin in their never-ending negotiations of agency and power.

We seek manuscripts that address the notion of agency as perceived and nurtured across various countries and cultures, both within literature and through the sharing of literature. In doing so, we invite a broad spectrum of possible connections through themes that address: (1) Personal agency, a strong sense of self and the potential of one’s own voice and actions; (2) Social agency, taking a stand for and/or with friends and community members; or (3) Cultural agency, speaking up and taking action in support of one’s culture (Mathis, 2016). The following subthemes are offered as suggestions in addition to ones you may have in mind:

  • Critical questioning of children’s and young adult literature, in terms of who and to what extend has a voice and is able to exert agency
  • Finding voice and identity in and through poetry, biographical texts, historical fiction, science fiction, or other genres
  • Literary demonstrations of children having a strong voice and/or taking a stand in social issues
  • Examples of sharing books with readers that promote a strong sense of identity, agency and voice and/or engaging young readers in critical discussions around such issues
  • Analysis of textual and visual representations of young characters who negotiate their gender, ethnic, cultural, linguistic, religious, or racial identities
  • LGBTQ characters’ voice, agency and identity in children’s and young adult literature
  • Children developing identity through interpretive and imaginative play and interactions around literature
  • Children as problem detectors and problem solvers in books, and/or children being inspired by literature to address problems
  • The power of story in light of developing identity, voice and agency
  • Conflicts within literary works that focus on voice and identity
  • Focus on a particular author or illustrator in revealing books that build identity and agency
  • “Voice” as an author’s craft and its relation to identity and agency
  • Comparative approaches to agency, voice and identity across literary works from different cultures
  • Translation, transfer and reception issues that pertain to agency, voice and identity
  • Controversial, challenged or banned texts in relation to agency, voice and identity

Full papers should be submitted to the editors, Petros Panaou ( and Janelle Mathis ( by August 1, 2018.

Bookbird submission guidelines can be found here.

CFP – ChLA International Committee Focus Panel Session on BAME British Children’s Literature

Children’s Literature Association Call for Papers:
International Committee Focus Panel Session on BAME British Children’s Literature
Deadline: September 15, 2018

46th Annual Children’s Literature Association Conference
Hosted by IUPUI & IU East
June 13 – 15, 2019
Indianapolis, Indiana

The International Committee of the Children’s Literature Association is planning a special focus panel on Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) literature from the United Kingdom, to be presented at the 46th Children’s Literature Association Conference. This conference will be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, and hosted by Indiana University – Purdue University Indianapolis and Indiana University East from June 13 through 15, 2019.

The committee invites paper proposals that focus on the writing, editing and publishing of children’s literature from the United Kingdom by Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic authors and illustrators. The Committee is particularly interested in proposals that relate these books to the conference theme of “Activism and Empathy.” (Please see the definition of the conference theme at We encourage scholars of color to apply.

Two abstracts will be selected, and the authors will receive “The ChLA International Honor Award,” which includes a grant of $500 each to cover expenses related to the conference (such as the membership and registration fees). Those papers selected for the International Focus panel will accompany a presentation by the Distinguished Scholar who will be invited by the Committee to present at the conference.

Please send 500-word abstracts accompanied by up to 250-word bios to the International Committee, Children’s Literature Association, at with the subject line “International Committee Paper Submission.” The deadline for submissions is September 15, 2018.

Authors of proposals selected for the panel will be notified by October 1, 2018. The International Committee encourages those scholars who are not selected for the International Focus panel to submit an abstract through the general Call for Proposals so that BAME children’s literature will become part of other panels at the conference. The call deadline for the 2019 ChLA conference is October 15, 2018.

CFP – Becoming Latin American: Children, Education and Citizenship

Call for Papers
Becoming Latin American: Children, Education and Citizenship
University of Reading, Thursday, 13 September 2018
Deadline for proposals: 31 July 2018

Organiser: Dr Catriona McAllister (
Keynote Speaker: Dr Lauren Rea, University of Sheffield

Papers are invited for a one-day symposium exploring how children are educated as members of Latin American nations. Through interdisciplinary conversations, we aim to examine how specific ideas of the nation and citizenship are communicated to children in both formal and informal settings across the region. The term ‘education’ will therefore be understood in a broad sense, encompassing (but not limited to) the school system, cultural institutions, children’s literature and popular/mass cultural forms. Above all, the symposium will explore cultural and political interventions that seek to educate children in the behaviours and values of their nation-states and societies. The symposium will be structured around three principal themes: Children and Nation-building; Culture and Education; and Citizenship and Society.

Papers are welcome from any discipline and both contemporary and historical perspectives on the theme are encouraged. Key questions include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • How has the child been constructed as (proto)citizen in Latin America?
  • How have evolving national, regional and local identity narratives influenced children’s education?
  • What concepts of citizenship are taught to Latin American children, both formally and informally?
  • How does children’s literature seek to shape Latin American children as citizens?
  • How do mass and popular cultural forms seek to intervene in this landscape?
  • How do cultural institutions (such as museums) contribute to the education of children as members of the nation?
  • How have children been framed in different state-driven nation-building projects, and how does this relate to political discourse on the family?
  • What alternative projects challenge ‘official’ narratives?

Abstracts are invited for papers of 15 minutes (in English or Spanish). To submit a proposal, please email an abstract of up to 250 words to by Tuesday, July 31. Informal enquiries are also welcome.

A limited number of travel/accommodation bursaries for postgraduate students will be offered. These will be awarded to the best proposals from those who have limited or no funding available. If you would like to be considered, please include details of your expected travel costs and your access to other sources of funding with your abstract.

This event is sponsored by the Institute of Latin American Studies and the Institute of Modern Languages Research.

New Issue of IRCL: 11.1 (July 2018)

We are excited to share that volume 11.1 (July 2018) of International Research in Children’s Literature is now available at

As Senior Editor Kimberley Reynolds writes in the editorial, the IRSCL and its journal “were founded to build links between scholars researching into writing for children and young people wherever it is taking place” (p. v). This newest volume reflects our continued efforts toward that goal, including a call for papers to help launch the new IRCL feature on African children’s literature and, of course, excellent articles such as “Children, Learning and Play in the Mengxue bao (The Children’s Educator, 1897–1902).”

We also welcome Haifeng Hui of Huazhong University of Science and Technology, who was appointed as an IRCL Advisor on China, and Fabiana Loparco, an independent scholar in Italy, who is our Production Assistant. We look forward to working with them and our many other advisors and members in growing our international network. To help in this effort, we encourage you to share IRCL articles widely with students and colleagues. This will not only raise awareness of the important work of our contributors but also that of the journal and IRSCL itself, ensuring that we continue as a platform for research in our field wherever it is taking place.

Doctoral Grant in Children’s Literature at the University of Antwerp

Doctoral Grant (BOF), British Children’s Literature – 2018BAPDOCPROEX227

The Faculty of Arts is seeking to fill a full-time (100%) vacancy in the Department of Literature for a Doctoral Grant by the University Research Fund (BOF) in the area of British Children’s Literature.

The doctoral student will contribute to the research project “Constructing Adolescent Minds in Experimental Fiction for Young Readers: A Genetic Approach to Aidan Chambers’ Dance series,” supervised by Vanessa Joosen and Dirk Van Hulle. In this project, theoretically framed and in-depth genetic research is used to explore the construction of adolescence in Aidan Chambers’ writing process. Selected items from his archive are transcribed, digitized and studied in Manuscript Web in order to get a better understanding of the creative processes of adolescent fiction, in particular the notion of “age” that ties into it on various levels (authorship, character construction, readership). The project will also yield practice-based methodological reflections on doing genetic research with a living author, as well as an educational manual to popularize the research methods and results.

Research group: Antwerp Centre for Digital Humanities and Literary Criticism

Job description

  • You prepare a doctoral thesis in the field of Literary Studies.
  • You publish scientific articles related to the research project of the assignment.
  • You contribute to teaching and research in the department of Literature, specifically on children’s literature, British literature and genetic literary criticism.

Profile and requirements

  • You hold a master degree in English literature or an equivalent degree.
  • You can submit outstanding academic results.
  • Students in the final year of their degree can also apply.
  • Foreign candidates are encouraged to apply.
  • Your academic qualities comply with the requirements stipulated in the university’s policy.
  • You are quality-oriented, conscientious, creative and cooperative.
  • You have a demonstrable interest in children’s literature and/or genetic literary criticism. You are interested in doing archival research and digital scholarly editing.

We offer

  • a doctoral scholarship for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal for a further two-year period after positive evaluation;
  • the starting date of the scholarship will be October 1, November 1, or December 1, 2018 or January 1, 2019;
  • a gross monthly grant ranging from € 2.324,20 tot € 2.469,08;
  • a dynamic and stimulating work environment.

How to apply?

Applications may only be submitted online until the closing date 12 August 2018 and should include a copy of your CV and a cover letter. Pre-selected candidates will be notified by 23 August and receive an assignment. Interviews will take place on 31 August 2018. More information about the application form can be obtained from For questions about the profile and the description of duties, please contact Prof. Vanessa Joosen, +32 3 265 42 72,

CFP- Special Issue of Research on Diversity in Youth Literature: Queer Futurities in Youth Literature

Call for Papers: Research on Diversity in Youth Literature 2.1 – Special Issue on Queer Futurities in Youth Literature

RDYL 2.1 will be guest edited by Dr. Angel Daniel Matos (San Diego State University) and Dr. Jon Michael Wargo (Boston College). RYDL is a peer-reviewed, online, open-access journal hosted by St. Catherine University’s Master of Library and Information Science Program and University Library.

Despite recent institutional changes that have altered the legal and socioeconomic status queer people in the United States (i.e. United States v. Windsor in 2013 and Obergefell v. Hodges in 2015), individuals in these communities continue to encounter discrimination, violence, and death based on their gender and/or sexual orientation. The 2016 Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting and the stark rise in murders of trans people of color, for instance, are just a few of the events that have disrupted this misguided sense of utopia instilled by institutional change. Furthermore, these and other events have brought into question whether it is possible for queerness to link to notions of futurity.

In considering this climate of violence and prejudice, this call for papers asks: What is the role of queer futurity in contemporary children’s and young adult literature, especially since many texts in these fields are written with a utopic, future-oriented sensibility? How does youth literature, inclusive of queer themes, frame and enable readings of the future? Are these future-oriented texts politically and affectively viable, or are they normative and misguided in their approach? We seek articles that examine how recent children’s and young adult texts approach, problematize, or justify the link between queerness and futurity. Furthermore, we are interested in articles that examine both the present and future of queer representations in children’s and young adult literature, media, and culture.

Article manuscripts may approach this linkage through various approaches, including but not limited to: queer, narrative, temporal, pedagogical, critical youth studies, and affective methodologies. This issue seeks to both nuance and complicate how queer children’s and young adult texts present different stakes in terms of their alignment with/or against futurity. Furthermore, we expect all articles to examine how children’s and young adult literature either sustain or complicate approaches to queer futurities and temporalities prominent in the field of queer theory/studies (i.e. Muñoz, Ahmed, Edelman, Freeman, Halberstam, etc.). Submissions that center on intersectional approaches towards queerness, temporality, and futurity in youth literature are particularly welcome.

Submit complete essays at by December 1, 2018. Essays must be between 4,000-6,000 words, including footnotes and Works Cited. All citations must be documented according to MLA 8. Questions should be addressed to Angel Daniel Matos ( and Jon Michael Wargo (