Little Horrors: Representations of the Monstrous Child

full name / name of organization: 
Simon Bacon and Leo Ruickbie
contact email: 
leo@ruickbie.com

Little Horrors: Representations of the Monstrous Child

Gone is the Victorian innocence of childhood. We have entered the age of the monstrous child, the little horror.

Each historical period can be seen to have prioritised a different facet of the child, the Victorian era idolised the innocence of the pre-pubescent child, the twentieth century the disaffected teenager, whilst the early twenty-first sems to be that of the monstrous child. Whilst global organisations such as UNICEF and Save the Children promote the sanctity of childhood as a fundamental human right, popular culture and empirical, sociological data would intimate something else. Here children are not configured as the wealth of the family and the community, but are seen as an economic burden, a luxury or even a parasite

Far from being the repository of all society holds dear about itself, the child becomes something at once uncontrollable and monstrous, not to be loved and cherished but feared and expelled. Whether supernatural or just plain wicked, the child becomes a liminal being caught outside of normalised categorization; not mature, not socilaised, not under the rule of law and not conforming to adult nostagia over what they should be.

Is there a relationship between the declining birth rate in the West and the increasing representation of children as an alien other? However, as witchcraft accusations against children in Africa and representations in the Asian horror film genre show, this is not just a Western phenomenon. So just what are the underlying reasons, if any? This volume aims to assemble the evidence from history, psychology, sociology, literature and media studies to map the extent and meaning of this representational development.

Topics to include:

Witch children, witchcraft accusations against children, children using witchcraft accusations
Magical children: children with magical or superhuman powers, the wunderkind
Werewolves and other shapeshifters: children as animals
Fairies and changelings: the folklore of strange children
Undead children: vampires, zombies and others
Ghosts and demonic children: children possessed, children as demons
Child crime and culpability: moral evil and legal responsibility
Monstrous children through history: physical deformity and mental health issues
Children as embodiments of other aspects of supernatural horror
The monstrous as a new role model for children
Children as adults and adults as children
Society and children and public and private spaces
Immigration, post-colonialism and foreign adoption
War children and child soldiers

A brief bio and abstract of circa 300 words should be sent to -

For literature and media studies: Simon Bacon (baconetti [at] googlemail [dot] com)

For history and social sciences: Leo Ruickbie (leo [at] ruickbie [dot] com)

Deadline for abstracts: 1st September 2013

cfp categories: 
african-american
american
childrens_literature
cultural_studies_and_historical_approaches
ecocriticism_and_environmental_studies
eighteenth_century
ethnicity_and_national_identity
film_and_television
gender_studies_and_sexuality
general_announcements
interdisciplinary
journals_and_collections_of_essays
medieval
modernist studies
poetry
popular_culture
postcolonial
professional_topics
religion
renaissance
romantic
science_and_culture
twentieth_century_and_beyond
victorian