CFP: Children/Childhood in the Works of Stephen King

deadline for submissions: 
July 1, 2018
full name / name of organization: 
Debbie Olson
contact email: 

CFP: Children and Childhood in the Works of Stephen King

 

Stephen King is one of the twentieth centuries’ most prolific and well-known American authors. King’s work brought modern horror and the supernatural to mainstream audiences in 1974 with the publication of his first novel, Carrie, a coming-of-age story about a bullied and lonely girl who discovers she has a real and deadly power. One of the defining features of Stephen King’s oeuvre is his use of children and childhood in his novels and short stories. A King childhood is often framed within the horrors of the adult world--the dangers of uninhibited technology, abusive parents, the supernatural, or other strange or frightening circumstances--or the horrors of childhood itself. In a King narrative, children are often left unprotected and vulnerable while facing unimaginable threats. King’s use of child characters within the framework of horror (or of horrific childhood) raises questions about adult expectations of children, childhood, the American family, child agency, and the nature of fear and terror for (or by) children. Childhood in King’s work is often set within the mythos of small town America and the idealized spaces that have become emblematic of a pastoral or “proper” Western childhood. Such myths are then challenged or shattered by events that question notions of innocence, purity, reality, and American exceptionalism. This collection’s goal is to examine childhood throughout Stephen King’s works, from his early novels and short stories, through film adaptations, to his most recent publications. The ways King presents, complicates, challenges, or terrorizes children and notions of childhood provide a unique lens through which to view historically, philosophically, or theoretically, American cultural and familial or adult anxieties about children and childhood.

 

The collection seeks submissions that examine children and childhood from a variety of perspectives in the works of Stephen King, including his novels, novellas, short stories, and films or television adaptations of his works. Submissions are welcome from a variety of disciplines, and from multiple theoretical, or philosophical perspectives. International submissions are welcome. Some suggested topics include, but are certainly not limited to:

 

Misfit children

Child as monstrous

Lost children

Child victim/Child as victimizer

Bullying and bullies

Isolated/isolating children

Childhood culture (among children)

Adult anxieties and children

Fear and/in/of children

Children and the supernatural

Child hero/anti-hero

Child savior

Parenting/parenthood

Death and the Child

Gender

Race

Cruelty to or by children

The American family and the child

The child and authority (school, government, i.e. The Shop)

Play (dangerous and otherwise)

Sexuality

Pedophilia

Freaks and the nature of Freakishness

Sacrificial children

Nostalgia and horror

Nature of reality for children

 

 

Contributors please send a 300-400 word abstract, full contact information, and a brief biography (30-50 words) to Dr. Debbie Olson at debbieo@okstate.edu by July 1, 2018.  Full essays will be due by March 1, 2019. Please note that citations should be in Chicago notes/bibliography style.