On Universal Children’s Day, November 20, 2017, the International Research Society for Children’s Literature, (IRSCL, www.irscl.com) 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: Lies.Wesseling@Maastrichtuniversity.nl