Bending the Clock: Crip Time in Children’s and Young Adult Literature

deadline for submissions: 
October 15, 2023
full name / name of organization: 
Children's Literature Association Accessibility Committee

Albert Einstein famously told the world that time is relative, and theorists from various fields–including children’s literature and disability studies–continue to grapple with what that means for lived experience. Children’s literature (and childhood studies more broadly) scholars examine how societies believe young people move through time towards adulthood, leading to theories of developmentalism and stages of childhood (like Piaget’s). Conversely, disability scholars explore what has been termed crip time: the kind of time experienced by people whose disabilities mean that they engage with the world at a different pace than normative time. As Alison Kafer claims: “Rather than bend disabled bodies and minds to meet the clock, crip time bends the clock to meet disabled bodies and minds” (Feminist, Queer, Crip 27). 

This panel, sponsored by the Accessibility Committee, invites scholars to examine the intersection of these two fields’ research on time, aligning with ChLA’s fiftieth anniversary and a conference themed “Looking Back, Looking Forward: 50 Years of ChLA”. Topics may include but are not limited to:

  • How crip time is seen in children’s and/or YA literature/media

  • How theories around time in children’s literature and disability studies can combine or reimagine each other

  • How crip time intersects with other non-normative theories of time (e.g., queer time) in children’s and/or YA literature/media

  • How crip time is embodied in fiction by and about young people

  • How the futurity of childhood interacts with crip time

  • How disabled youth engage with children’s and/or YA literature/media through their own crip time

  • How crip time intersects with racism, sexism, classism, and other marginalized or underprivileged communities

Presentations will be fifteen minutes each before we transition into a broader conversation and Q&A session. We hope to hear from scholars from a variety of standpoints and career stages and have them propose a topic they wish to explore. We particularly encourage BIPOC scholars, disabled scholars, grad students, and early career scholars to apply. Presenters will be welcome to participate in this panel in addition to delivering a regular conference paper. Reach out to us if you have any questions, and we hope to see your 150-200 word proposal paragraph and CV sent to by 15 October 2023. This panel will be held in-person during ChLA’s 2024 Conference from May 30 - June 1, 2024 in Madison, Wisconsin.