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


Tying in with political and cultural changes in Germany and Europe, the 15th International Child and the Book Conference, 27-29 May 2020, Berlin, Germany 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 recent years, scholarship on children’s and young adult literature has addressed radical changes occurring in this period. These include the rise of nationalism, the discursive construction of migration, and increased awareness of Othering, resulting, for instance, in racism and discrimination against disability, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity. 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 early 20th century, 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 a wide range of subjects 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:

  • transformation and continuity in politics and ideology
  • discourses of identity and identity politics in children’s literature
  • past and present in historical narratives
  • considerations of children’s publishing policy and censorship
  • changing conceptions of the child citizen
  • the politics of pedagogy
  • 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: Diese E-Mail-Adresse ist vor Spambots geschützt! Zur Anzeige muss JavaScript eingeschaltet sein! 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:

a. author(s) with affiliation(s)

b. title and text of proposal

c. selected bibliography with 3-5 academic references

d. 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)
Ada Bieber (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Petra Anders (Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin)
Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer (Eberhard Karls Universität Tübingen)

[Quelle: Call for Papers]