The International Committee of the Children's Literature Association has chosen to alternate its annual panels between specific geographic or topological focal points and experiential or psychological themes that encourage transnational discussions. In the 2022 ChLA conference, we hosted a themed virtual panel on "Dreams". In 2023, we hosted a panel focused on "Islands". For the 2024 ChLA annual conference, we seek paper proposals with a focus on "Memory". "Memory" functions both individually and collectively. We each make memories through the processes and structures that enable encoding, storing, and retrieving information. "Memory" is also a social and collective phenomenon and a set of practices that often produce not one but several or many remembrances. Collective or cultural memory in turn influences not only how we understand or narrate our daily lives, but also how we see our lives fitting into or diverging from larger cultural landscapes or historical records.
We are interested in studies of "memory" as the capacity for mental retention, as specific recollections, and/or as social practice in children’s and young adult literature. Preference will be given to analyses from a global perspective and to papers that examine texts originally written in languages other than English and/or created by authors and illustrators from communities beyond Anglo-American children’s and YA publishing traditions, including global indigenous communities.
Topics could include but are not limited to the following in relation to children's and young adult literature and literary practices:
- Anniversaries, rituals, birthdays, and other commemorative practices
- Museums, archives, and other commemorative spaces
- Children’s/YA books as commemorative practice
- Constructions of childhood as products of memory
- Nostalgia and childhood: reflective nostalgia/ restorative nostalgia (Boym), Afro-nostalgia (Ahad-Legardy), authoritarian nostalgia
- Cultural acts of remembering or forgetting; how children’s and young adult narratives contest or shore up historical amnesia
- Children's literature as formative of and/or interrogation of collective memory
- Postmemory (Hirsch)/narrative inheritance and intergenerational storytelling
- Canonical and noncanonical chronicles of key events
- Colonial and anticolonial histories
- Memory and historical/cultural records of marginalized communities
- Public and multidirectional memories
- Psychoanalytic understandings of memory ("Screen memories" 1899, "The Mystic Writing Pad" 1925)
- Inability to recall or other disruptions in memory in response to trauma or loss
- Memory within autobiography/memory and the construction of identity
- Digital memories and afterlives
The panel will be held in person at the 2024 ChLA Conference in the Madison Concourse Hotel & Governor's Club in Madison, Wisconsin, USA, May 30-June 1, 2024.
We encourage scholars and students who are based outside of North America to submit proposals. Please submit a 300-word proposal and a 200-word biographical statement with the subject line, "ChLA 2024 Themed Panel Submission" to
The International Committee encourages those scholars who are not selected for the "Memory" panel to submit an abstract through the general Call for Proposals so that international children's literature will be featured in other panels at the conference. The deadline for general submission to the 2024 ChLA Annual Conference is October 15, 2023.