Special Issue of International Research in Children’s Literature
Curating National Children’s Literatures
Guest editors: Karen Sands-O’Connor, Lucy Pearson and Aishwarya Subramanian
This special issue seeks to examine the curation of “national” children’s literatures: how are national canons created and sustained? How is the notion of a national literature defined, and which voices are included?
The term “national,” like “classic” and “canonical,” confers prestige, but in doing so creates a hierarchy of values which frequently privileges the voices of a dominant group above all others. Indeed, ideas of “nationhood” are frequently predicated on ideas of exclusion as much as inclusion. Because the reifying of children’s literature means longer shelf-life, sales, and interest, such curation of a nation’s children’s literature matters. The contemporary increase in global migration, shifting international relationships, and the growing prominence of isolationist and nationalist movements around the world suggest that now is a useful moment to focus on the question of national children’s literatures. How are such canons compiled, and who has a stake in the creation, promotion, and maintenance of the idea of a national children’s literature? Which voices dominate, and how might more heterogeneous national literatures be curated?
Taking a broad view of “curation” as practiced across publishing, education, awards and prizes, and other cultural fields as well as by museums and archives, we invite abstracts for papers on the curation of national children’s literatures. We particularly welcome papers that consider how or if non-majority groups within a nation find space/place within the national conversation about children’s literature, and papers which consider how new national literatures are formed in countries which have historically lacked a strong indigenous children’s literature.
Abstracts due: 1 January 2019; completed papers 1 April 2019, publication July 2019.