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Diverging Diversities / ChLA 2014 (Columbia, SC, June 19-21)
full name / name of organization:
Children's Literature Association (ChLA)
In 1965, Nancy Larrick wrote an article for the Saturday Review entitled “the All-White World of Children’s Books.” Though Larrick was certainly not the first to draw attention to the lack of diversity in books for children, the empirical evidence that she offered from her three-year study of the new books in the genre clearly illustrated the extent of the problem; publishers recognized that it was time for a change. The children’s books circulating today are no longer “all-white,” but they still fall far short of reflecting the diversity of the U.S. population.
The 2014 Children’s Literature Association Conference invites papers that consider the diversification of the genre--and its limits--both within the U.S. and internationally. The most common understanding of “diversity” in Children’s Literature relates to ethnic and/or racial diversity, but this conference will consider the concept more broadly to include disabilities, gender, socioeconomic diversity, regional diversity, depictions of the South in children’s books, how children’s books are being impacted by shifting U.S. demographics (migration to the sunbelt, deindustrialization), multiple adaptations of texts, aesthetic shifts within the genre, internationalization of the genre, historical conceptions of plurality within the genre, historical innovations in form, how the “prizing” of children’s and YA literature has succeeded or failed in embracing diversity, etc. Augusta Baker, pioneer in African American children’s literature in the New York Public Library system, served as USC’s Storyteller-in-Residence from 1980 to 1994; papers on her literary legacy are encouraged. Anital Lobel will be a featured speaker at the conference, and an exhibition of her work will be integral to the conference; essay on Lobel’s work are also invited.
Though certainly not limited to these ideas, essays might address:
Conference website: http://www.chlaconference.org
Papers and panels considering aspects of plurality within Children’s and Young Adult Literature and culture will be given highest priority, but all essays on the genre will be considered. Paper abstracts should be 250 words and panel abstracts should consist of a 250-word description of the panel as well as 250-word abstracts for each proposed paper. Abstracts will be accepted between October 15, 2013 and January 15, 2014.