The Very Hungry Capital - ACLA Mar 20-23, 2014 - NYU - Deadline Nov 15th

full name / name of organization: 
Shelly Jansen - Rochester Institute of Technology
contact email: 

Zombies, vampires, werewolves…and poverty? In recent young adult literature we have witnessed a trend of incorporating more "adult" issues as the main crisis driving the story. Indeed, YA literature heroes/heroines, and their readers, must deal with real and complex social and economic issues. This panel will explore how YA literature, dystopian and otherwise, has become increasingly concerned with issues of economics, poverty, hunger, and social injustice. We seek to examine how different cultures tackle these socioeconomic issues in YA literature and how these texts represent children and teens facing economic hardship. Is there a worldwide movement of socioeconomic-focused children's literature or is this only an American phenomenon? How have different cultures evolved in how they deal with these issues in their YA literature? How does children's literature from the Great Depression compare with that from the Great Recession in terms of representing the severity of the economic situation and its effects on children? How can we compare Little Women's treatment of the Civil War with modern depictions of the War on Terror? Does the story serve as romantic escapism for the reader or does it acknowledge and offer possible solutions to the (potential) real life socioeconomic situations for the reader?

Possible topics include but are not limited to:
- YA literature as economic education
- representing homelessness/hunger/poverty
- the city as escape/enchanted space
- labor/the working class/class warfare in YA fiction
- cultural-historical comparisons of YA's treatment of the economy
- emigration/immigration in YA lit

KEYWORDS: children, young adult, hunger, poverty, war