CFP – Children’s Literature Crossing Borders

American Comparative Literature Association Annual Meeting 2017
Utrecht, July 6-9, 2017
Panel: Children’s Literature Crossing Borders
Organizers: Melek Ortabasi (Simon Fraser University) and Vanessa Joosen (University of Antwerp)

Children’s literature has long been viewed as an agent for international peace. French comparatist Paul Hazard’s famous remarks from 1932 sum up the connotations of humanist universalism still associated with literature for young readers:

“[C]hildren’s books keep alive a sense of nationality; but they also keep alive a sense of humanity. … They understand the essential quality of their own race; but each of them is a messenger that goes beyond mountains and rivers, beyond the seas, to the very ends of the world in search of new friendships.”[1]

Key to the peacemaking ability of children’s literature, at least according to Hazard, is its willingness to cross national borders. The implicit competition among nations expressed by Hazard’s statement is borne out in the global literary market. The international production, dissemination, and reception of children’s literature is driven not by an innocent curiosity, as Hazard would have it, but rather by a complex set of economic and political forces that favor some languages and cultures while marginalizing many others. This panel stream wishes to expand our understanding of how children’s literature actually crosses borders by seeking paper proposals including, but not limited to, the following topics:

  • Children’s literature in translation
  • Representations of foreign nations and cultures (imagology) in children’s literature
  • Translating and translators of children’s literature
  • International reception of children’s literature
  • Translingual, bilingual or multilingual children’s literature
  • Politics in the transnational dissemination of children’s literature

According to the ACLA website, “paper submissions will open on Sept. 1, 2016 and will run through midnight (PST) on Sept. 23, 2016…Once paper submissions close on Sept. 23, seminar organizers will have until Sept. 30 to select the papers they would like to see in their seminar. After that point, seminars will be reviewed by the ACLA’s program committee for inclusion in the conference program. A reminder that you do not have to be a member of the ACLA to propose a seminar, or to submit a paper proposal to a seminar. You do, however, need to be a member and to register for the conference if you wish to present a paper, or moderate a seminar, at the conference itself. 2017 memberships in the ACLA, as well as registration for the 2017 ACLA Annual Meeting, will be available through the ACLA website beginning Oct. 1st, 2016.”

Please go directly to the ACLA submission page,, to upload your paper proposal to our panel (after September 1). You can search for our panel by its title: “Children’s Literature Crossing Borders.” If you have any questions or comments for us, please email Melek at and/or Vanessa at Issues with the ACLA website should be directed to their webmaster.