Childhood is now widely recognized as a social construct (Fass, Jenks, Mintz). As the artifice behind the construction of childhood has been revealed, there has been a marked increase in the analysis of children and childhood in contemporary culture (Demarr and Bakermann, Edelman, Latham, McLennan, Renner, Stockton). Despite the increase in scholarly attention, depictions of childhood in comics and other forms of comic art are ripe for further study. The forthcoming issue of the Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics, focusing on comics, picturebooks, and childhood, should provide interesting insights into these depictions. Yet there remains plenty of room for consideration regarding how different comics construct childhood. This is an especially interesting area of inquiry given the somewhat vexed association comic books have traditionally maintained with childhood. In an attempt to continue developing the scholarly focus on childhood, as well as comics, we seek proposals for scholarly articles that analyze, explore and interrogate depictions of childhood in comics or comic art for inclusion in a book-length anthology.
We welcome all proposals, although, based on responses so far, we are particularly interested in more submissions regarding depictions of childhood in comics aimed at adults.
Potential topics include:
What do comics teach us about current constructions of childhood?
How do comics resist or undermine contemporary constructions of childhood?
How can comics help us better understand the role of children in a given societal context?
How do comics shed light on the relationship between children and adults? Between adults and their own childhood?
How can depictions of childhood be understood as metaphors for specific cultural phenomena, values, disruptions or evolutions?
What anxieties regarding culture, politics, education, etc. do comics reveal?
How have ideas regarding childhood affected comics?
Please submit an abstract of 300 words and a short CV to Mark Heimermann, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, and Brittany Tullis, St. Ambrose University, at [email protected] by January 1st, 2014 for consideration. Full papers will be due by June 1st, 2014.