Containing Childhood: Space and Identity in Children's Literature

deadline for submissions: 
September 23, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Danielle Russell, Associate Professor, Glendon College, York University

Containing Childhood: Space and Identity in Children’s Literature

Home. School. Nature. The spaces identified with childhood are both descriptive and prescriptive. They reflect/reveal adult expectations of where we (read adults) expect to “find” children, of where children “belong.” Certainly, the trio of spaces are important in children’s lives and Children’s Literature but not in a simplistic or straightforward way. In their depictions of setting, many authors deliberately complicate these spaces and expand those accessed by their child characters. Mobility—movement between and within a variety of spaces—is often a key factor in the development of child characters. Space is never neutral. It carries social, cultural, and political histories; it imposes—or attempts to—behavioural expectations.

This book is a collection of essays exploring the relationship between space and identity in Children’s Literature. The authors address such questions as what is the nature of that relationship? What happens to the spaces associated with childhood over time? How do children conceptualize and/or claim their own spaces? Can the same space fulfill adult goals and the needs of children? Space is multifaceted in the essays—emotional, imaginative, physical, political, psychological, social—and dynamic.

Chapters focusing on the impact of race on the experience/depiction of space in Children’s Literature are required.

Please email proposals of 250-300 words and a brief bio to Danielle Russell drussell@glendon.yorku.ca by September 23rd, 2019.

Finished papers of approximately 7500-8000 words will be required by November 30th, 2019.