Call for Papers for Edited Collection: Children in the Films of Steven Spielberg

full name / name of organization: 
Adrian Schober/Monash University
contact email: 

Editors: Adrian Schober and Debbie Olson
'I use my childhood in all my pictures, and all the time. I go back there to find ideas and stories. My childhood was the most fruitful part of my entire life. All those horrible, traumatic years I spent as a kid became what I do for a living today, or what I draw from creatively today.'- Steven Spielberg

Children are an almost essential feature of the landscape in the films of Steven Spielberg: from the alien-abducted Barry in Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) and Elliott and his unearthly alter-ego in E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial (1982), to the war-damaged Jim in Empire of the Sun (1987), the lost mecha child David in A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001), and the eponymous boy hero of The Adventures of Tintin (2011). There are many other instances across Spielberg's oeuvre. And contrary to his reputation as a purveyor of innocuous 'popcorn' entertainment, Spielberg's vision of children/childhood is not all sweetness and light. Indeed, more discerning critics have noted the darker underpinnings of this vision, often fraught with tensions, conflicts and anxieties. While childhood is Spielberg's principal source of inspiration, his 'subject matter,' this has never been the focus of a collection. We therefore seek original articles addressing both the 'light' and 'dark' aspects of childhood in the full spectrum of Spielberg's cinema, in a forthcoming collection to be published in Lexington Books' new 'Children and Youth in Popular Culture' series.

Please submit a 500 word abstract, current contact information along with brief biography (or CV) as Word attachments to both Adrian Schober at and Debbie Olson at by 31 October 2014. Authors will be notified within four weeks of the outcome of their submission. The deadline for completed essays (which should not exceed 10,000 words, inclusive of references) is 31 March 2015.

Adrian Schober has a PhD in English from Monash University, Australia, and is the author of Possessed Child Narratives in Literature and Film: Contrary States (Palgrave Macmillan, 2004). He has published widely on the child figure in journals such as Literature/Film Quarterly, The Journal of Popular Film and Television, The Journal of Popular Culture (forthcoming), Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature and Senses of Cinema. He also serves on the editorial board of Red Feather: An International Journal of Children's Visual Culture and is a member of the advisory board for the Lexington series.

Debbie Olson is lecturer at the University of Texas, Arlington. She has edited or co-edited a number of collections on children and popular culture, including Lost and Othered Children in Contemporary Cinema (2012), Portrayals of Children in Contemporary Culture (2013) and the forthcoming Hitchcock's Children: The Child in the Films of Alfred Hitchcock for Palgrave Macmillan. She is the founder/editor-in-chief of Red Feather: An International Journal of Children's Visual Culture and the Series Editor for the Lexington series.