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The 23rd Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature will be hosted by the Children’s Studies Program, Department of Humanities, Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies, York University in Toronto, Canada.

Congress Co-Convenors
Cheryl Cowdy and Peter E. Cumming

Congress Dates
Saturday, July 29 to Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Congress Venue
Keele Campus, York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Children’s Studies Program is an Honours BA program with more than 500 majors and minors. York University is the third-largest university in Canada. Toronto is Canada’s largest city, the fourth-largest city in North America, and the leading Canadian destination for tourists. The economic, transportation, and cultural hub of Canada, with direct flights to many cities around the world, Toronto is one of the safest and most multicultural cities in the world.

Congress Theme
“Possible & Impossible Children: Intersections of Children’s Literature & Childhood Studies”

At least since Jacqueline Rose’s provocative argument about the “impossibility” of children’s fiction in 1984, children’s literature scholars have been profoundly anxious about “the child” and “children” in relation to children’s literature. Richard Flynn (1997), Mary Galbraith and Karen Coats (2001), Perry Nodelman (2008), David Rudd (2013), and Marah Gubar (2013) have variously noted the dangers, difficulties, necessities, and desirability of approaching children’s texts through conceptions of “children,” “childhood,” and “adulthood.” Thus, this Congress is grounded in ongoing debates in children’s literature scholarship about possible relationships of “the child,” “children,” and “childhood” to children’s literature; to what extent and in what ways such relationships are possible or “impossible”; and to what extent and in what ways these are necessary and/or desirable.

Over the past three decades, the multidisciplinary fields of children’s, childhood, and youth studies have developed dramatically. Childhood and youth studies, constantly negotiating intersections between actual young people and sociocultural constructions and representations of childhood and youth, offer compelling, if problematic, points of inquiry into the study of children’s literature, just as children’s and young adult literatures continue to challenge and inform childhood and youth studies.

Some Possible Congress Topics

The Congress 2017 theme lends itself to a variety of key issues related to production, interpretation, and reception of children’s and young adult texts from different historical periods; in diverse local, regional, national, and global contexts; inflected variously by differences in gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and ability, including:

Production & Reception

  • innovative methodological approaches to children’s and young adult literatures, such as ethnographic and reader-reception studies
  • crossover literature and intergenerational reception
  • child and youth authorship, including juvenilia
  • adult-youth-child collaborations in children’s cultural productions, such as theatre for young audiences
  • children’s and young adult literatures and “affect”

Ethics & Rights

  • ethical issues in the production and reception of children’s and young adult literatures
  • children’s literature, social justice, and child and youth activism
  • children’s rights, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, and children’s literature

Representation & Ideology

  • gaps between children’s and youths’ lived experience and literary representations of children’s and youths’ lives
  • representations of children’s work and child labour
  • representations of child soldiers and children’s and youths’ experiences of war and violent conflicts
  • space and place in children’s and young adult literatures

Genres & Media

  • picture books, comic books, graphic novels, film, television, video games and children’s cultures
  • manipulable and interactive children’s literature: children’s literature as toys, dolls, stuffed animals, pop-up books, hypertexts, e-books, talking books
  • children, youth, and new media: remediation, transmediation, convergence culture, transliteracy, and multimedia children’s and youth texts

We invite proposals for papers to be presented in either of Canada’s official languages: English or French. Presented papers will be 20 minutes maximum. Suggestions for panels of 3-4 papers are also welcome.

Please submit an abstract of 250-500 words by November 15, 2016, as an e-mail attachment to irscl17@yorku.ca. In this attachment, include: the title and detailed proposal for your paper (to enable blind vetting of proposals, please do not include any identifying information in this document).

In a separate e-mail attachment please provide:

  • a short biography of 50-100 words that includes your name, institutional affiliation, e-mail address, and one or two recent publications
  • an indication of your audiovisual needs
  • an indication of whether you would be willing to chair a panel
CFP – IRSCL Congress 2017