Mixed-Race/YA Lit Panel Proposal for MELUS 2022

deadline for submissions: 
October 11, 2021
full name / name of organization: 
Nancy Carranza / UC Riverside
contact email: 

Proposed Panel for MELUS 2022

March 23-27, 2022

New Orleans, LA


Panel Title: Mixed Awakenings: Reckoning with Multiraciality in Young Adult Literature

In response to the 2022 MELUS conference theme, “Awakenings, Reckonings, and Multiethnic Literature: Woke, What Now?”, this panel invites submissions that consider the significance of young adult (YA) literature by multiracial/mixed-heritage  authors and/or with multiracial/mixed-heritage characters.Over twenty years ago, Roberta Seelinger Trites’ landmark analysis on YA literature, Disturbing the Universe, Power and Repression in Adolescent Literature, concluded that the genre conventions of YA literature actually teaches young adults how to settle into the social systems and institutions that they set out to disturb. With the recent emphasis on “wokeness” in YA literature, does Trites’ conclusion still hold true, or has YA literature become a pedagogical force for social change? In particular, does the growing popularity of multiracial characters in YA literature signal a “wokeness” to racialization and racial injustice or an embrace of a postracial/colorblind neoliberal ideology? How do YA texts with mixed-race or mixed-heritage characters engage with the various discourses around “mixedness”? What role do these characters play in how non-mixed young adults “read” mixed ancestry subjects in real life? Applying this question from the MELUS conference CFP to YA texts, “What do we do with our wokeness? Are we awakening to a better life, or are we drowning?”

Please send 200-word abstracts and a short biography to Nancy Carranza at ncarr007@ucr.edu by October 11, 2021.