CFP: The Formative Years – Children’s Literature in the University

Call for Papers
The Formative Years: Children’s Literature in the University

The NEW YORK UNIVERSITY DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH AND AMERICAN LITERATURE and the FALES LIBRARY are pleased to announce a two-day Graduate Student Conference on Children’s Literature entitled “THE FORMATIVE YEARS: CHILDREN”S LITERTURE IN THE UNIVERSITY” to be held March 26-27, 2009. The conference will feature a Keynote Address by KAREN SANCHEZ-EPPLER.

From Harry Potter to Phillip Pullman, Winnie the Pooh to Olivia the Pig, literature for children commands a significant place in the literary marketplace and in popular culture, yet children’s and young adult literature remain under-theorized components of traditional literary criticism. Recent works by scholars such as Leonard Marcus, Seth Lerer, and others, as well as the publication of more comprehensive anthologies, have initiated the process of writing children’s literature into the canon of humanist study. This conference is meant to provide an opportunity for graduate students to explore the interpretive potential of contemporary critical methods in relation to children’s and young adult literature. A component of each paper may deal with “experiential autobiography,” allowing developing scholars to consider themselves as readers and critics, consumers and researchers, of children’s literature, and to reflect on how this influences their scholarship, or on the strategies they as scholars deploy to resist or avoid such influence.

Proposals for 20-minute papers may address the following topics, among many others:

  • Adult Appropriations of Children’s and Young Adult Literature: Gossip Girl, Karen Finley’s Pooh Unplugged, etc.
  • Alternative Literacies: New Media and the Formation of Readers
  • Children and Animals
  • Children’s Book Publishing, Marketing and Textual Formations
  • Children’s Holocaust Literature
  • Children and Genocide
  • Experiential Autobiography – the critic as reader – and Critical Thought
  • Geographies and Material Cultures of Childhood: Classroom, Playground, Toys, and Tech
  • Medieval and Early Modern Childhoods
  • National or Historical Pedagogy
  • Postcolonial and Multicultural Childhoods
  • Sexuality and Gender in Young Adult Fiction
  • Single Author Studies: Roald Dahl, Maurice Sendak, Henry Darger, etc.

Graduate Students, please email your 200-300 word abstract and CV to the New York University Children’s Literature Conference at by December 15, 2009.


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