Transformation and Continuity: Political and Cultural Changes in Children’s Literature from the Past Century to the Present Day

Nous avons le plaisir de publier l’appel à propositions pour le 15e congrès “The Child and the Book”, organisé en 2020 à la Freie Universität Berlin sur le thème Transformation and Continuity: Political and Cultural Changes in Children’s Literature from the Past Century to the Present Day.La manifestation se tiendra à Berlin du 27 au 29 mai 2020.

Tying in with political and cultural changes in Germany and Europe, this conference focuses on current discourses on the significance of democratic systems in opposition to authoritarian regimes, to fathom the transformation but also continuities in children’s and young adult literature since the beginning of the 20th century to the present day. In the disjunction of democracy and authoritarianism, value patterns regarding the degree of freedom, political equality and control can be questioned by ideological bipolarities, such as nationalism vs. globalism, xenophobia vs. philanthropy and migration vs. isolation. These broad forces shape the future of young generations, but also resonate with the past, and therefore cannot be seen outside the context of tensions between transformation and historical continuity – as is visible throughout post-war Europe and in the city of Berlin in particular.

Referring to the history of Germany and Europe beginning with the rise of fascism in the 1920s and 1930s, this conference focuses on the presence of both historical continuity and radical departures from the past, whether that past is conceived of in political, aesthetic, or pedagogical terms.It will gather international scholars who represent a multitude of disciplinary perspectives. We hope to spark discussions surrounding issues of continuity and transformation, with an emphasis on the political dimensions of these concerns, by inviting papers addressing these topics in children’s and young adult literature and media, such as picturebooks, comics, and children’s films.

We invite papers related to the conference theme. Possible areas for investigation include, but are not restricted to:

  • connection of political topics and ideology in children’s literature

  • representation of the 20th century in historical narratives

  • publishing policy and censorship

  • changing conceptions of childhood

  • trauma and (post)memory (World War II, Holocaust, displacement, migration, exile, etc.)

  • transformation and continuity in cold-war children’s literature and media

Transformation and Continuity: Political and Cultural Changes in Children’s Literature from the Past Century to the Present Day will reflect academic diversity, and host studies from across different fields of research, academic systems, and cultural backgrounds. We welcome proposals for individual papers as well as panels. We particularly encourage graduate students and other early-career scholars to apply. Please send an abstract of 300 words and a short biography (100 words) as two attached Word documents to Catalina Zech at: c.zech@fu-berlin.de before November 15, 2019.

Panel proposals may consist of either three or four papers. Panels should consolidate papers with focus on the conference main theme. The panel organizer should invite participants and evaluate each paper in the panel, but the panel as a whole and its individual papers will also be reviewed by external evaluators. For a panel proposal, the panel organizers should submit a short overview statement of the panel theme (300-500 words), a list of participants, and the abstracts of their papers.

Abstracts should include the following information:

  1. author(s) with affiliation(s)

  2. title and text of proposal

  3. selected bibliography with 3-5 academic references

  4. five keywords

All abstracts and papers accepted for and presented at the conference must be in English. Papers will be 20 minutes maximum followed by a 10 minutes discussion.
Deadline for abstract submission: November 15, 2019
Notification of acceptance: January 15, 2020

All submissions are blind reviewed by the members of the Reading Committee.

Conference venue: Freie Universität Berlin

Scientific Committee:

Farriba Schulz (Freie Universität Berlin)
Petra Anders (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)

Advisory Board:

Maria Alcantud, Valencia, Spain
Marnie Campagnaro, Padua, Italy
Vanessa Joosen, Antwerp, Belgium Georgia (Tzina) Kalogirou, Athens, Greece Xavier Minguez Lopez, Valencia, Spain Dorota Michułka, Wrocław, Poland Smiljana Narančić Kovač, Zagreb, Croatia Åse Marie Ommundsen, Oslo, Norway Ana Margarida Ramos, Aveiro, Portugal

[illustration d’en-tête: Benoit Ers et Vincent Dugomier, Les Enfants de la Résistance, Le Lombard – citée par Mélissa Baril sur son blog Les p’tits mots dits: http://lesptitsmotsdits.com/bd-les-enfants-de-la-resistance/]

Cécile Boulaire

maître de conférences HDR à l'Université de Tours, est spécialisée en littérature pour la jeunesse.

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