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Children’s Literature Symposium: Critical Perspectives on Children’s and Young Adult Literature

CALL FOR PAPERS: The Same Text but Different: Variants in Children’s Media
February 3-4, 2012
The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee



Conference Website:

About the Children’s Literature Symposium

Each year, the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee organizes a symposium centered on issues related to the study of children’s and young adult literature. The overarching goal of these symposia is to explore children’s and young adult literature through scholarship, research, and criticism: approaching children’s and young adult literature as genres, as opposed to indications of readership. The Children’s Literature Symposium (CLS) provides a program through which participants engage with critical and theoretical perspectives on children’s and young adult literature. Through presentations that address contemporary issues and trends affecting children’s and young adult literature, media, and culture, the CLS aims to engage professionals from the fields of English, education, and library/media science in scholarly discussions about children’s and young adult literature. Themes selected for CLS conferences both reflect current trends (or currently ignored but potentially significant areas) and work to shape where and how children’s literature studies might most usefully move forward. Undergirding the decision to focus each CLS on a specific topic is a belief in the value of a group of contributors all working in and around similar issues.

2012 Children’s Literature Symposium Theme

This year, the CLS Steering and Planning Committees invite proposals from scholars, critics, researchers, librarians, educators, children’s book authors and illustrators, and graduate students for presentations that address the topic of “variants” in children’s and young adult literature: books with plots built upon folklore or other previously written tales. Interest in variants is hardly new, and ultimately, all texts build upon one another. However, recent increases in the publication of picturebooks, novels, and releases of other media (such as film and video games) with plots or structures that draw on folklore (e.g., Gidwitz’s [2010] A Tale Dark and Grimm, Weston’s [2010] Dust City), the work of authors like William Shakespeare(e.g., Dionne’s [2010] The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet, Stone’s [2011] The Romeo and Juliet Code, Ray’s [2011] Falling for Hamlet), Henry James (e.g., Griffin’s [2011] Tighter), or Jules Verne (e.g., Blackwood’s [2010] “sort of sequel,” Around the World in 100 Days), or composers like Vivaldi (e.g., Zalben’s [2011] Four Seasons: A Novel in Four Movements) suggest a renewed cultural fascination with texts that “play” with other texts. In addition, single texts have been adapted across media: Neil Gaiman’s Coraline (2002), for example, has been released as both a 2009 feature film and as a 2008 graphic novel (adapted and illustrated by P. Craig Russell).

Through this year’s symposium, we seek to further discussions and enrich understandings of both historical and contemporary children’s and young adult literature and media that lean on, contradict, or extend other texts–privileging some at the expense of others. Potential topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Literary lore, fractured fairy tales, and the authorial use (and/or abuse) of folklore
  • Cultural literacy and cultural capital
  • Reinscribing and disrupting media Canons
  • Shifting audiences: retellings or the appropriation of children’s texts for adults (or “adult” texts being retold or appropriated by/for children)
  • Variants as/in translation
  • Fanfiction, slash fiction, and other reader-created retellings
  • Re-writing of “mainstream” texts by traditionally marginalized populations (i.e., people of color, queer sexualities)
  • Theories of variation in narrative and poetic structures (generally, and in texts for young people explicitly)

We invite abstracts (of approximately 250-500 words) for individual paper presentations or virtual papers treating critical concerns in children’s and young adult literature. While all proposals will be considered, preference will be given to those which focus on most clearly on the conference theme.

Proposals must be submitted electronically to the symposium website, on or before October 15, 2011. Proposals will undergo a process of blind review, and presenters will be notified of the results on or before November 15, 2011. Receipt of proposals will be confirmed via email within 24 hours of submission.

CFP – The Same Text but Different: Variants in Children’s Media