We are developing an edited book with McGill-Queen’s University Press with the working title Our rural selves: Memory, place, and the visual in Canadian rural childhoods. This text brings together three areas of inquiry, children’s rural geographies, memory work, and visual studies (through, for example, photographs, picture books, TV programs, film, and digital spaces). Memory work is presented as a framework for generating knowledge about growing up rural as well as a creative challenge to the myths that surround young rural people. This approach not only offers a way to look at things differently, but also provides an access point into the often neglected experiences of rural children, past and present, real and imagined. The volume uses memory work to question how imagined landscapes and inhabitants both inform and reflect perceptions, identities, and the socialization of rural children.
Research into experiences of growing up rural, whether personal or collective, through autobiography/memory work point to the ways in which the past and present are mutually informing. Through various visual traces and legacies, this book portrays the realities of rural life but also touches upon the more intangible: identity struggles, the deep connections and tensions between the rural landscape and its inhabitants, and how the land shapes the childhood self in ways that are carried through to adulthood.
On the eve of Canada’s 150th birthday it seems appropriate to think about the place of rurality and childhood. We are particularly interested in work that explores Indigenous understandings of rural childhood in the Canadian context as well as experiences and representations of rural Canada through childhood memories of TV and film.
Please send abstracts of approximately 200 words to [email protected] by April 15, 2016. The writing of full manuscripts will take place in mid to late 2016.