Tuesday, November 5, 2013

PAMLA wrap up, MAPACA, and the Dystopian (white) Child

Just some notes to start off the week...

1. PAMLA just flew by this weekend! Held at the Bahia Resort in San Diego, the conference offered a plethora of insightful, fascinating, and fun panels. Because the theme of the conference dealt with Stages of Identity, there were plenty of presentations that focused on children and childhood, making this a particularly fruitful conference for those of us studying children's literature and childhood studies. I'll talk a bit more about the experience and what I ruminated on in a later post. For now, kudos to everyone who participated and many thanks to Dr. Kenneth Kidd on his PAMLA Forum presentation on "beginner" culture. Did you all have a great experience?

2. The Mid-Atlantic Popular and American Pop Culture Association Conference is being held this week in Atlantic City, New Jersey, from November 7-9.  The conference consists of a huge number of subject areas, one of which is the Children and Childhood Studies Area. You can check out the conference schedule here to see all the topics, including "Food in Children's Literature, "Pediatrics and Popular Culture" and "Toys, Clay, and Satan: Animation and Children's Literature." If you happen to attend, share with us your experience!

3. In a recent Salon article, Dr. Anna Mae Duane talks about an emerging truth about childhood that we see from "The Walking Dead"and the rise of dystopias. She largely addresses the American need for "children to remain innocent, no matter what the cost. A quick glance at the stories we’ve told ourselves for centuries reveals a persistent tendency to categorize children as one of two things: innocent victims or bad seeds." Duane then turns that toward the reasons why all these dystopian child heroes and heroines are white -- because reality already consists of a violent world for minorities in America. Her argument pushes us to the starting point, raising important and necessary racial discussions but leaving it there for us to run with. What else can we make of dystopian heroes being white? What would happen with ethnic diversification? And when will we stop thinking of children as innocent vessels, but as human beings?

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