ASA17 "Radical Children’s Literature in Education/ Radical Education in Children’s Literature”

deadline for submissions: 
January 25, 2017
full name / name of organization: 
David Aitchison

Proposed session for the annual convention of the American Studies Association (theme: “Pedagogies of Dissent”) in Chicago, Nov 9-12, 2017

This session will explore the culturally and socially transformative possibilities of classic and contemporary works of children’s and young-adult literature that either engage with formal education (at the level of plot and character), or serve formal education (in real-life classrooms). Whether examining stories given to depicting the learning, growth, and development of young people, or reflecting on pedagogies invested in the educative value of children’s literature, we will consider the ways in which artists, critics, and educators give thought to liberatory practices and critical literacies in the broad realm of education. Though not limited to discussing American texts, panelists will foreground contexts relevant for American readers and educators at this particular historical juncture.

Questions to address might include, but are not limited to:

  • In what ways do particular children’s or young-adult texts imply attitudes to teaching or learning that are bound up with transforming the social order?
  • How do children’s authors imagine the socially and culturally transformative potential of schools, colleges, students, or teachers?
  • In what ways do authors figure educational experience as a critical response to a world in crisis?
  • How might children’s texts be integrated in elementary, secondary, or college curricula to rouse political consciousness and encourage civic engagement?
  • How do we respond to readers and educators who assert that politics has no place in the teaching of children’s literature?

Brief abstracts (100-200 words) by 25 January 2017 to David Aitchison (