Impertinent Pedagogy: Mischievous Praxis in Children’s and YA Literature and Culture

deadline for submissions: 
March 15, 2020
full name / name of organization: 
Victoria Ford Smith, University of Connecticut

This guaranteed session sponsored by the Children’s and Young Adult Literature Forum welcomes proposals for 5-minute lightning talks introducing innovative, irreverent, revolutionary, or downright disorderly approaches to teaching children’s and young adult literature and culture in the college classroom. Scholars from across research areas and disciplines — including English, Education, Library Science, and others — are welcome, as are reflections on teaching young people’s texts and cultures in a variety of class contexts, from the undergraduate survey to the graduate seminar.


The place of courses in children’s and young adult literature varies, of course, from institution to institution, from department to department. However, in many places and fields, texts for young people and their study have not been prioritized in university settings. Happily, as Anna Mae Duane reminds us in her introduction to The Children’s Table: Childhood Studies and the Humanities, “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 those structures” (1). Sometimes being at the children’s table — or, in this case, the children’s literature classroom — affords and indeed encourages an important or even radical reordering of how our disciplines work, how our curricula are designed, or how our syllabi and assignments invite students participate in their own educations.


We invite short, snappy papers that make the most of the paradigm-shifting potential of children’s and young adult literature pedagogy. Papers submitted for this roundtable might outline innovative syllabi, describe successful assignments or class formats, recommend ways to queer or flip the classroom, make or break canons, expand the classroom walls to invite in other disciplines or the community beyond the university, or propose new teaching philosophies — or they might suggest something impertinent that this CFP cannot imagine. These five-minute presentations will leave plenty of time for a lively discussion among panelists and audience members that will, we hope, generate new strategies to make our teaching mischievous.


Please send a CV and a 250-word abstract to Victoria Ford Smith ( by March 15, 2020.


Victoria Ford Smith is an Associate Professor of English at the University of Connecticut, where she teaches children's, young adult, and British Literature and culture. Her book, Between Generations: Collaborative Authorship in the Golden Age of Children's Literature (UPM, 2017) won the Children's Literature Association Book Award.