Co-editors, Karen Coats (Illinois State) and Gretchen Papazian (Central Michigan)

Humors. Passions. Sentiments. Sensibilities. Feelings. Emotions. Affect. Are they natural, learned, culturally scripted? Are they embodied, biochemical, contagious? Are they personal, interpersonal, social? Are they rational or impulsive? Are they good or dangerous? Can they be controlled? How are they framed similarly or differently in relation to identity categories (e.g. gender, age, race, class, nation)? How do textual forms function to generate them for readers?

 

These questions and topics have been circulating in English Studies for some time. However, they have recently gained more prominence, through Sarah Ahmed’s work on the cultural politics of emotion, Teresa Brennan’s study of the transmission of affect, and Patricia Ticineto Clough and Jean Halley’s historicizing of “the affective turn.” They have gained such academic purchase, in fact, that the FALL 2015 PMLA Special Topic issue was devoted to Emotions.

 

The collection proposed here aims to extend consideration more firmly into the field of children’s and young adult literature. While the PMLA issue included incidental discussion of some texts designed for children, and while there has been a smattering of attention to emotion in children’s and young adult literature already (articles and book chapters by Perry Nodelman, Maria Nikolajeva, Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer, and Karen Coats; plus Jerry Griswold’s 2006 monograph Feeling Like a Kid), the time is ripe for a collection of essays that pulls together the range of ways that texts for children approach emotion, as well as the range of ways emotion can be approached in, through, and around texts for children. Ultimately, the collection aims to more clearly and sharply articulate what is at stake in the emotions and emotional-workings of literature, film, and other media designed for children and young adults.

 

Proposals are welcomed from all areas of literature study, as are all approaches to the topic. Possible areas of investigation might include the following:

  • How do emotions work within texts for children and young adults?
  • What emotions might CYAL be scripting? Does that vary over genre, format, or imagined audience?
  • How does CYAL value and evaluate affect?
  • Are emotions—or particular emotions—marked as “childish”? Or gendered? Or racialized?
  • How does CYAL create and/or transmit affect? What are the techniques used by various formats (picture book, novel, film, game, video game) to create feeling (i.e., a sad story)?
  • Are specific genres or formats more invested in or better at representing emotion—or certain kinds of emotion—than others?
  • Have the emotions of CYAL changed over time?
  • What are the politics and ideologies of emotions in and around children’s and young adult literatures?

 

300-word proposals (plus brief scholar bio that includes rank and institutional affiliation) due by December 31, 2017 to papaz1gd@cmich.edu. Full manuscripts due by December 31, 2018.

 

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