Theme: Children's literature and media cultures

Contemporary children and adolescents divide their time over many different media. These media do not develop in isolation. Rather, they shape each other by continually exchanging content and modes of mediation. This conference addresses the exchanges between children’s literature and adjacent newer and older media (oral narrative, theatre, film, radio, TV, digital media).

Media are best defined as cultural practices that forge specific links between senders and receivers of messages, facilitating certain types of communicative behavior. As newer media tend to imitate if not absorb older media, they force older media to continually reassert their uniqueness and indispensability in a rapidly changing media landscape. How has children’s literature staked out its own niche in these historically variable ‘mediascapes’ in the course of time? How do electronic and digital media affect children’s emergent literacy and literary competence? How have children’s books and the newer electronic and digital media impacted on children’s play? What sort of communicative behaviors are facilitated by the diverse media available to children and adolescents nowadays? Which ethical and political issues are raised by the fact that children’s literature has to share its claim to the audience’s attention with a whole gamut of alternative media? These questions are central to the 21st biennual conference of the IRSCL.

The aim of the conference is to strengthen the ever closer ties between children’s literature scholars and media experts, and to bridge the gap between hermeneutic methods from the humanities and empirical, experimental methods from the social sciences.

The conference includes the following tracks:

I Historical Perspectives:

  • orality and literacy
  • the changing place of children’s books within shifting media ecologies
  • adaptations of children’s literature to other media
  • remediation (the absorption and reorganization of older media in newer children’s media)
  • children’s media and children’s play
  • narratives across media (picture books, comic strips, graphic novels, games etc.)

II Sociological, Ethnographic and Cultural Studies’ Perspectives

  • children and online communities
  • fan practices (fan videos, comics, fiction, role play and costume play)
  • age and media: how do media solidify and destabilize distinctions between age groups?
  • the circulation of social stereotypes (class, ethnicity, gender, nationality, religion) between children’s media
  • migration, globalization and children’s media

III Pedagogical Perspectives

  • emergent literacy and literary competence  in a multimedia  world
  • the dynamic acquisition of media literacy
  • the acquisition of cultural literacy through diverse children’s media
  • online contexts for promoting children’s literature
  • digital environments  for researching children’s literature

IV Ethical and Political Perspectives

  • strategies of (dis)information in children’s media
  • children’s media and issues of  age-appropriateness (media moral panics)
  • the ethics of social media
  • children’s media and global inequality (digital divides)

V  Other related topics


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