CFP: Place and Space in Children’s Literature

Farah Mendlesohn sent out the following CFP for the “Place and Space in Children’s Literature” conference at the University of Oxford.  If you’re a children’s literature scholar, you might want to check this out.  Read on for the details.

Place and Space in Children’s Literature

27-28 March 2009, University of Oxford

Keble College, Oxford

Keynote speech by Philip Pullman

The University of Oxford Children’s Literature Reading Group invites papers on the themes of place and space in children’s literature for its conference to be held at Keble College, Oxford. The keynote speech, opening reception, and delegates’ dinner on the evening of Friday 27 March will be followed by a day of panels and discussions on Saturday 28 March, 2009.

Space is fundamental in any exercise of power

–Michel Foucault

From the Prince Edward Island of Anne of Green Gables to Gossip Girl‘s glamorous Upper East Side to the multiple Oxfords in His Dark Materials, the locales of children’s and young adult literature often aid in defining the child’s relationship to his or her world and delineating the terms and possibilities of youth. More abstract concepts of proximity, size, positioning, and enclosure likewise contribute to the construction of the child and the world in which s/he exists. This conference aims to address these issues through a day of papers by established and rising academics in the field of children’s literature studies. As such, the Oxford Children’s Literature Reading Group solicits a wide range of submissions that explore how metaphorical and physical space create landscapes of power, knowledge, and identity in texts aimed at youth audiences.

Appropriate to its theme, this conference will be held in Oxford, a location that has special importance for children’s literature as the home and/or university of such notable children’s authors as Lewis Carroll, Kenneth Grahame, C.S. Lewis, Diana Wynne Jones, Richard Adams, Susan Cooper, Alan Garner, and Kevin Crossley-Holland, among many others. It features as the setting in works by Penelope Lively, Philip Pullman, Matthew Skelton and more, and has served as a primary shooting location for the film adaptations of the Harry Potter novels and The Golden Compass.

Please email your 250-word abstract with your name and institutional affiliation to the University of Oxford Children’s Literature Reading Group at oxchildrenslit[at]gmail[dot]com by December 1, 2008.

Published by Jason W. Ellis

I am an Associate Professor of English at the New York City College of Technology, CUNY whose teaching includes composition and technical communication, and research focuses on science fiction, neuroscience, and digital technology. Also, I direct the B.S. in Professional and Technical Writing Program and coordinate the City Tech Science Fiction Collection, which holds more than 600 linear feet of magazines, anthologies, novels, and research publications.