Play and Risk in Children’s and Young Adult Literature and Culture

 

2013 ChLA Conference

 The 40th Annual Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) Conference will address play and risk in children’s and young adult (YA) literature and culture. Much of John Newbery’s A Little Pretty Pocket-Book, one of the first books to mark the emergence of children’s literature as a successful commercial enterprise, is devoted to teaching the alphabet through play and games.  Innovators of children’s literature have taken risks in building businesses or careers around the notion of pleasurable works for children, just as the scholars who gathered for the first ChLA convention in 1974 and those who followed have taken risks to establish the professional study of the “Great Excluded.” Thus, from its beginnings as both a literary and scholarly enterprise, children’s literature has been linked with play and risk. Many classic and contemporary works for young people represent children or young adults entertaining themselves or taking chances: the March sisters put on plays in Little Women, and Beth risks her own life to care for the Hummel baby; Alice plays croquet in Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and risks losing her head; Peter and Wendy play house in Peter Pan and risk being killed or kidnapped by Captain Hook. Play and risk are everywhere in children’s and YA literature and culture. 

                                                                

               

                        We invite paper or panel proposals on the following topics:

 

  • play and games in children’s and YA literature and culture
  • children’s games as texts
  • children’s theatre and drama or school plays
  • linguistic, stylistic, or formal play in children’s and YA literature
  • game theory or risk theory and children’s and YA literature and culture
  • role-play, performance, or performativity in children’s and YA literature and culture
  • childhood/adolescence as play, playing at childhood/adolescence
  • video games and/as children’s and YA literature
  • sports or competition in children’s and YA literature and culture
  • winning and losing in children’s and YA literature and culture
  • risk-taking in children’s and YA literature and culture
  • uncertainty or chance in children’s and YA literature and culture
  • the personal or professional risks of studying, writing, or reading children’s and YA literature
  • the discourse of “at risk” youth
  • how children’s and YA literature or culture put children at risk
  • the risks of how children and childhood are constructed or experienced
  • playing with race, class, gender, or sexuality in children’s and YA literature and culture

 

 

Abstracts of 300 to 500 words will be accepted by the selection committee between October 15, 2012,

and January 15, 2013