full name / name of organization:
Call for Proposals: Canons of Childrenâ€™s Literature
15 May 2008, University of California, Berkeley
Keynote Speaker: Paula Fass, author of Children of a New World: Society,
Culture, and Globalization
The University of California, Berkeley Childrenâ€™s Literature Working Group
invites papers on the theme of canons of childrenâ€™s literature for its
conference to be held on the UC Berkeley campus on Saturday, 15 March 2008.
As studied in Anglo-American universities, literary canons have long been
the province of dominant groups within globally dominant cultures. The last
several decades have seen the expansion and destabilization of the
traditional western canons, and the construction of new canons
(African-American, postcolonial, women's, queer, and genre literatures, for
instance). In spite of these radical changes to the idea of "the canon,"
children's literature has been largely ignored. Recently, however, literary
critics have begun to attend seriously to childrenâ€™s literature as an
integral component of the literary canon. Scholars such as Uli
Knoepflmacher, Peter Hunt, John Rowe Townsend, Perry Nodelman, Jack Zipes,
and Gillian Avery, to name only a few, have dedicated their careers to
exploring childrenâ€™s literature and explicating the centrality of this
literature to humanistic criticism as a discipline, making a broader
acceptance of childrenâ€™s literature possible for students and fellow
scholars. The recent publication of two academic anthologies of childrenâ€™s
literature represents the beginning of the institutionalization of
childrenâ€™s literature within the academy and the recognition that
childrenâ€™s literature needs to be considered and discussed by todayâ€™s
scholars and students. Simultaneously, however, these anthologies and
their reception have demonstrated the indeterminacy surrounding childrenâ€™s
literature as a genre and a canon.
This conference, as part of a growing movement in literary criticism, seeks
to address these fundamental questions: What is â€œchildrenâ€™s literatureâ€?
What is the place of children's literature in the mainstream literary
canon? What can literary scholars say about existing children's literature
canons, which have not generally come out of literary-critical traditions?
How do children's literature canons speak to more mainstream literary
canons, and how do the mainstream canons speak back?
Twenty-minute papers could consider topics such as:
â€¢ the construction of children's literature canons by publishers, academia,
popular culture, or the texts themselves
â€¢ the mobilization of a childrenâ€™s literature canon to induct children into
â€¢ the construction of canons by childrenâ€™s literature
â€¢ the subversion of canonical conventions in childrenâ€™s literature
â€¢ the use of childrenâ€™s literature canons to colonize and/or create
â€¢ the role of gender in canon formation and organization
Papers may engage with individual authors and texts in the process of
considering the above topics or others related to the conference theme.
Please email your 300-500 word abstract, cover letter, and CV to the
University of California, Berkeley Childrenâ€™s Literature Working group at
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Received on Tue Oct 16 2007 - 12:25:14 EDT