MLA 2023 / Guaranteed Session Pandemic Childhoods (DEADLINE EXTENDED 3/10/2022)

deadline for submissions: 
March 10, 2022
full name / name of organization: 
Gabrielle (Brie) Owen / MLA Children's and Young Adult Literaure Forum
contact email: 

How has the Covid-19 pandemic changed or disrupted the contours of childhood both as a cultural concept and a lived experience? The term childhoods in this panel refers simultaneously to the complex and infinitely varied experiences of people called children while also evoking a shifting set of cultural investments, projections, desires, and disavowals. This guaranteed panel sponsored by the MLA’s Children’s and Young Adult Literature Forum seeks papers that theorize how the radical changes of pandemic life have altered the functions of concepts like childhood innocence and protection; developmentalism or developmental models of childhood; notions of family, dependency, interconnectedness, and/or relationality; ideologies about parenthood, mothering, and domestic labor; and capitalist value systems of work, success, independence in the U.S. and worldwide. How have the last two years transformed the functions of children’s storytelling, literature, film, and games? Models of education? Our relationship with screens? Viral misinformation and conspiracy theories? How do income inequality, class status, privilege, and minoritized identities impact pandemic survival strategies and our negotiations with dominant ideologies? Papers that approach these questions from the perspective of Indigenous, critical race, queer, trans, feminist, ecocritical, historical, activist, and/or literary methods are particularly welcome.    

Please send 300-word abstract and 2-page CV by March 1, 2022 to Brie Owen at