CFP: The Undead Child

deadline for submissions: 
May 15, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Debbie Olson, Craig Martin
contact email: 

CFP: The Undead Child: Representations of Childhoods Past, Present, and Preserved 


Deadline for abstracts: May 15th, 2021



Craig Martin

Debbie Olson or


In a new study on representations of children and childhood, we are seeking essays that explore the theme of undeadness as it applies to cultural constructions of the child. The undead in popular culture commonly refers to the living dead monsters of horror and mad science that transgress the borders between life and death, rejuvenation and decay. For our purposes, undeadness is a broad concept that explores how people, objects, customs and ideas deemed lost or consigned to the past might endure in the present. When undeadness is applied to the child, an array of interpretive possibilities emerge. These might include nostalgic texts exploring past incarnations of childhood, mementos of childhood (hair, teeth, clothes, art and craft, games, photographs, audio and video recordings), images and artefacts of deceased children, as well as states of arrested development and an inability or refusal to embrace adulthood. 


In our application of undeadness, we seek essays that explore attempts at countering the transitory nature of childhood. We believe that such an approach will enable deeper exploration of the parameters of childhood, including the theoretical viability of the child as a key social construct, as well as the ways innocence is itself a redundant concept that nevertheless maintains cultural currency.  While the focus of this collection will not be horror, submissions from contributors writing in the field are welcome, with the understanding that our purpose is to expand undeadness beyond the realm of horror while acknowledging its roots in the genre. 


Themes may include, but are not limited to, the following:


Outmoded theories of childhood 

Changing definitions/applications of child

Historical practises in childrearing

Arrested development and the “kidult”

Media landscapes and the infantilized adult

Dead language and generational slang

Representations of time and childhood 

Preserving the child image 

Nostalgia and artefacts of childhood

Monuments to deceased children

Child fashion and sentimentality

Visual and sonic records of children

The child in photography 

Child violence and crime 

Children in war 

Trauma and remorse

Restoring “lost” childhoods

Dolls, automatons and mechanized children

Synthetic and artificial children

The resurrected child


Child monsters

Zombie children

Child vampires


Please send an abstract (200-500 words), current contact information, a brief biography, and current CV as attachments in Word (or compatible) by May 15th, 2021, to Craig Martin at and Debbie Olson at or   


Final date for completed papers, which should not exceed 10,000 words, inclusive of references, is December 31, 2021.