Picturing Otherness. A historical perspective on diversity in children’s literature (20th-21st Century)

Hamburg, 1st – 2nd March 2023

The conference is organized by members of the History of Education research group of the Faculty of Education, Department of General, Intercultural and International Comparative Education as well as Educational Psychology (EW1), University of Hamburg and aims to be an opportunity for debate, exchange, comparison and interdisciplinary reflection on Children’s Literature and Diversity. Thanks to the participation of professors and experts in the discipline belonging to several national contexts and with plural academic backgrounds, it is intended to reflect and problematize the representation of diversity – cultural, religious, gender – in children’s literature and the fundamental role of inclusion that the latter has. The conference intends to address these issues from an interdisciplinary point of view – with the contribution of educational sciences, history and history of education, intercultural studies, sociology, media studies, literature, etc., considering the methodological innovations in this field and from a multimedia, cross-media and comparative perspective.


Children’s literature has always been a privileged place where “diversity” has been represented. Beginning with ancient fairy tales, orphans, the oppressed, the excluded, have found room among the pages of stories intended for children and adolescents. The child himself has found in the narrative a space to recognize himself – with his own imaginative needs, his own authenticity and identity, as opposed to an adult world often perceived as hostile, distant and alien to childhood. Therefore, if otherness has always travelled hand in hand and within children’s literature, as an intrinsic element of stories, the changes of the contemporary age push us to investigate the way in which otherness inhabits children’s literature today and how the latter creates opportunities for the inclusion of otherness. Indeed, children’s literature can be an important vehicle for inclusion. However, even today the “world represented in children’s books is predominantly white. It is also a predominantly middle-class, heterosexual, non-disabled, Anglophone and male world” Crisp and colleagues tell us (Crisp, T. & alt, 2016). Considering this awareness, the objective of the conference is to analyse in an interdisciplinary perspective the imaginative changes linked to the construct of “otherness”, “diversity” understood as cultural, religious, gender diversity, etc. – in the narratives aimed at childhood and adolescence. How has diversity found a place in children’s literature in the past? How does it find space today? How has children’s literature helped to represent contemporary reality, a reality in which all diversities should have recognition? The aim of the conference is not only to analyse historical changes in the link between children’s literature and diversity, but also national and international best practices, as well as future directions and developments in this field of research. To explore these important issues, experts, and professors from academic institutions in different national contexts and with an interdisciplinary background were invited to participate and contribute to the debate.


Department of General, Intercultural and International Comparative Education as well as Educational Psychology (EW1)

University of Hamburg

Von-Melle-Park 8, 20146 Hamburg, Germany


Maria Lucenti (University of Hamburg, Germany)


Maria Lucenti (University of Hamburg, Germany)

Alexander Nordt (University of Hamburg, Germany)


Maria Lucenti (University of Hamburg, Germany)

Sylvia Kesper-Biermann (University of Hamburg, Germany)

Alexander Nordt (University of Hamburg, Germany)

Marnie Campagnaro  (University of Padua, Italy)

Anna Antoniazzi (University of Genoa, Italy)

William Grandi (University of Bologna, Italy)

Sivane Hirsch (University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières, Canada)


Maria Lucenti (University of Hamburg, Germany)

Alexander Nordt (University of Hamburg, Germany)

Sylvia Kesper-Biermann (University of Hamburg, Germany)

Anna Strunk (University of Hamburg, Germany)

How to participate (Call For Papers)

Proposals (maximum 300 words) must be accompanied by a short curriculum (200 words) and sent to the editorial staff:

Maria Lucenti: maria.lucenti@uni-hamburg.de

Abstracts should include the following information:

Author(s), Affiliation as you would like to appear in the programme, E-mail address, Title of proposal

Text of proposal (including research question, methodology, research context), Selected bibliography with academic sources (3-5 references), Five keywords

All submissions are reviewed by the members of the Reading Committee. All abstracts and papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English. Paper presentations will be 20 minutes maximum followed by a 10 minutes discussion.

Important dates

Deadline for submitting proposals: 15th October 2022

Communication of acceptance of proposals: 1st November 2022

Confirmation of participation in the conference: 15th November 2022

Submission of papers for publication: 1st May 2023

Submission of papers

The publication of the conference proceedings is expected. The authors admitted to the conference will be notified of the editorial rules for the preparation of contributions. The latter must not exceed 40,000 characters.

Participation costs

The conference is free and there is no registration fee. The living expenses and any overnight stays are charged to the participants.

With the support of the DFG: The Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft – German Research Foundation

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