2018 Children's Literature Association Conference

Hosted by the Texas State University

June 28-30, 2018

San Antonio, Texas

Sheraton Gunter Hotel

Conference Theme:  Refreshing Waters/Turbulent Waters

This call has been revised since its original posting. Please see click here for further explanation.

Refreshing Waters/Turbulent Waters

45th annual meeting of the Children’s Literature Association
June 28-30, 2018
Hosted by Texas State University at the Sheraton Gunter Hotel, San Antonio, Texas.

Water is central to children’s and young adult literature as motif and metaphor: In Pam Muñoz Ryan’s Esperanza Rising, two characters are in a relationship described as being separated by a wide, difficult-to-cross river; in The Lorax Dr. Seuss warns us to protect our environment by planting a truffula tree seed and enjoins us to “Give it clean water. And feed it clean air”; and the poetry of Langston Hughes uses water in its various forms to compare the complexities of race to a deep river, to characterize a lost dream as a “barren field frozen with snow,” and to call on us all to re-imagine and reclaim the American dream, saying that “We, the people, must redeem/ The land, the mines, the plants, the rivers.”

While proposals to present research on a wide variety of topics, genres, and periods related to children’s and young adult literature, texts, and culture are always welcome and encouraged at our annual conference, a common theme can be a useful tool for thinking through texts and approaches in innovative ways. Proposals to present your current, original scholarship can include but are not limited to some of the meanings and forms water can take in literature and culture for younger readers:

  • Water as symbol, allegory, setting, and metaphor in works of children’s literature; Water as healing, flowing, still, eroding, dividing, connecting, drowning, saving, violent, shallow, transparent, muddy, calm, or turbulent
  • Rivers, lakes, streams, oceans, ponds, clouds, rain, snow, mud, slush, fog, and ice in fiction and non-fiction, prose and poetry, cartoons and comics, historical fiction and science fiction, plays and films, toys and television programs, picture books and textbooks, etc. 
  • The significance of water in specific cultures, communities, families, traditions
  • Water and race; segregated drinking fountains and swimming pools; rivers as sites of travel, settlement, or colonization, of collaboration and contestation, of freedom and enslavement
  • Water in indigenous cultures and literatures
  • Oceans crossed, migrations, colonizations, the Middle Passage
  • Access or lack of access to clean drinking water, water shortages, contested waters, water rights, water protectors, water and poverty, water as commodity, water as power
  • Water and the environment, water pollution, environmental activism, climate change, rising waters, Standing Rock, Flint
  • Water, spirituality, and religion; sacraments, blessings, and baptisms; water as sacred
  • Animated, illustrated, photographed, filmed, or virtual waters
  • Regional literature, the San Antonio and San Marcos Rivers, state and local cultures and histories, local indigenous literatures, San Antonio’s contested histories, Texas and/in children’s books 
  • Water spaces and their social functions; waterways as hubs, connectors, or dividers
  • Water symbols and metaphors in discussions about identities, sexualities, genders, ethnicities, races, abilities, sizes, and ages 
  • Water as a life source and/or potential destroyer
  • Water and play; water guns and water balloons; water’s role in childhood or its construction; sprinklers, waterparks, fire hydrants, and baths before bedtime
  • Water as a weapon, water cannons and fire hoses
  • Water creatures, real and/or mythic, animals anthropomorphized, water personified 
  • Water as poetic inspiration; books as oases for readers; renewal and rebirth: personal, cultural, spiritual, and/or literary, including reboots in media and literature
  • Water as social and political symbol, the tides of change, the rising flood
  • Water and immigration, dislocation, refugees
  • Interpreting real and fictional waters through various critical lenses: literary criticisms, queer theories, ecocritism, critical race theories, materialism, feminist theories, disability studies, etc. 
  • Given that Texas State is the home of the Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award, discussions of Tomás Rivera Book Award winners and honor books would also be welcomed (http://www.education.txstate.edu/ci/riverabookaward/); book awards generally; monolingual and bilingual works for children; translation of children’s literature

Proposal Guidelines:

Proposals are due October 15, 2017 and should be submitted via the ChLA web portal.  Acceptance letters will be email by January 31, 2018.

We invite scholars to propose individual papers we will assemble into 3- or 4-person panels or pre-organized panels, roundtables, workshops, or discussions.

While most of the program is typically panels consisting of three or four 15- or 20-minute presentations, we are also open to alternative formats and new ideas. Because we have limited space in the conference program, scholars may only propose one paper and may only appear once on the program as a presenter (with the exception of a few standing panels like the editors’ roundtable and syllabus exchange).

Individual paper proposals should include a 300-350-word abstract, a 140-character bio, and a list of up to five keywords. To facilitate creating the conference program, please include keywords, putting them in order of their importance to you – Possibilities include: time period, form, genre, issue, topic, theoretical approach.

Proposals for pre-organized discussions must include a chair, who is organizing the panel, and contact information and a 140-character bio for each participant. The panel organizer needs to explain, in precise terms, the form the panel will take (eg. three scholars will each read a 20-minute paper; six scholars will each present for 5 minutes and the chair will then moderate a discussion, etc.), and a list of up to five keywords. To facilitate creating the conference program, please include keywords, putting them in order of their importance to you – Possibilities include: time period, form, genre, issue, topic, theoretical approach.

Proposals are blinded before being submitted to the paper selection committee for evaluation.

Hotel and surrounding area:

The Sheraton Gunter Hotel is located in the heart of the San Antonio’s Downtown district. It is ideally placed within easy walking distance of the famous River Walk and its many fine restaurants, cafes, shops, and miles of walking/biking trails. The River Walk offers more accommodations for impaired mobility than many less central locations, and conference planners are working with the hotel to make our meeting spaces as accessible as possible.

Let's plan for discussion, refreshment, and renewal next summer—we’ll meet you by the river!

The 2018 Francelia Butler Lecture will be presented by Dr. Debbie Reese.

Debbie Reese is a tribally enrolled member (citizen) of Nambe Pueblo, a federally recognized tribal nation in northern New Mexico. She holds a PhD in Education from the University of Illinois, and an MLIS from San Jose State. A former school teacher and assistant professor in American Indian Studies, she publishes American Indians in Children's Literature, a resource and review site focused on depictions of Native peoples in children's and young adult literature. Her articles and chapters in journals and books are used in Education, Library Science, and English courses in the US and Canada. 




Get Connected!
Join the ChLA 2018 Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/chla2018/

For more information, contact the Conference Coordinator:
Marilynn Olson, mo03@txstate.edu

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