Picturing Childhood in American Literature and Culture - SAMLA - Nov. 13-15, 2015 - Durham, NC

full name / name of organization: 
Laura Hakala / SAMLA: Graduate Students' Forum in English

In her recent book about the role of childhood studies in the humanities, Anna Mae Duane writes, "The study of children, often seen as peripheral to the important work of understanding social, political, national, and ethnic structures, allows us to rethink the very foundations underlying these structures." This panel will explore how children play central roles in "social, political, national, and ethnic structures" and consider the ways in which literary representations of childhood participate in this process. When we study child characters and fictional depictions of childhood, what new insights are revealed about social and cultural institutions? How have those roles shifted over time throughout American literature and culture? What does examining childhood tell us about gender, race, class, sexuality, and religion? Proposals should consider the role of young people in American literature and culture, including literature produced for adults, teenagers, or children. Papers that connect to this year's focus on literature and the arts are especially welcome, and topics might include but are not limited to film adaptations of children's/young adult books, picture books, graphic novels, child artists in literature, and the arts and children's education. This panel is open to submissions from graduate students. Please send abstracts (250-300 words) to Laura Hakala at Laura.hakala@eagles.usm.edu by May 15, 2015.