CFP – Childhood Teleologies: Climates of Growth

Childhood Teleologies: Climates of Growth
Seminar for C19: The Conference of the Society for Nineteenth-Century Americanists
Albuquerque New Mexico, March 22-25, 2018
Seminar Leaders: Anna Mae Duane and Karen Sánchez-Eppler

Childhood is a place where national, racial and scientific arguments coalesce. In childhood, time unfolds as teleology–towards adulthood, towards power, and success. Though, of course, trajectories of development are invariably more fraught and precarious than such naturalizing progress narratives admit. The nineteenth century proved a particularly volatile period for understanding and organizing the individual life cycle. In the process, childhood adhered to new conceptions of the environment, of nation, race, gender, and of time itself. The temporal loops of childhood–recalling the past and projecting the future–express the survival anxieties of the Anthropocene.

For this seminar we seek essays that think about how childhood reframes our approaches to nineteenth-century American teleologies of individual, national, and global time. The seminar will explore tropes of childhood growth and survival, in order to deepen questions about the climate of linear development, as they play out in settler colonialism, as they are rejected in queer time, as they affect disability rights, and predict environmental degradation, to name a just a few possible topics.

C19 seminars emphasize conversation and interactive dialogue as an alternative to traditional paper and roundtable formats by providing participants the opportunity to have a collaborative conversation around a particular topic. Seminars will be convened for two hours during the C19 conference and capped at 15 participants. Each participant will submit a five-page position paper before the conference to be read in advance by the other participants so that seminar time can be reserved for discussion. Seminar participants will be listed in the program. For more information about the C19 conference visit

The submission deadline for seminar applications is September 15, 2017.

Anna Mae Duane is Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut. She is the author of Suffering Childhood in Early America: Violence, Race and the Making of the Child Victim (U Georgia, 2010); the editor of The Children’s Table: Childhood Studies and the Humanities (U Georgia, 2013); Child Slavery Before and After Emancipation: An Argument for Child-Centered Slavery Studies (Cambridge 2016), and the co-editor of Who Writes for Black Children?: African American Children’s Literature Before 1900 (University of Minnesota Press, 2016). She is also the co-editor of Common-place: The Journal of Early American Life.

Karen Sánchez-Eppler is L. Stanton Williams 1941 Professor of American Studies and English at Amherst College. She received her PhD from The Johns Hopkins University in 1990. The author of Touching Liberty: Abolition, Feminism and the Politics of the Body (1993) and Dependent States: The Child’s Part in Nineteenth-Century American Culture (2005), she is currently working on two book projects The Unpublished Republic: Manuscript Cultures of the Mid-Nineteenth Century US and In the Archives of Childhood: Playing with the Past. Her scholarship has been supported by grants from the NEH, ACLS, the Newberry Library, the Winterthur Library, the Stanford Humanities Center, and the Fulbright Foundation. She is one of the founding co-editors of The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth and past President of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists.