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CFP: Humour in Children’s Literature

Nordic Journal of Childlit Aesthetics is an international open-access journal. The aim of the journal is to develop cross-disciplinary discussions on children’s literature and its interaction with other art forms. We are currently seeking articles on the following topic:

Humour in Children’s Literature

Selected articles will form part of a special series issue on humour in children’s literature, to be published during 2021–2022.

Nordic children’s literature is renowned for its interest in exploring controversial topics through children’s literature, such as death, domestic violence, and the power balance of child-adult relations. The role of humour in Nordic children’s literature, and in children’s literature generally, has not been equally emphasised in scholarly research. Bearing in mind both the frequent verbal humour of Astrid Lindgren’s beloved classics, and Kerry Mallan’s observation in Laugh Lines: Exploring Humour in Children’s Literature (1993) that “Slapstick or banana-skin humour provides the basic ingredient of much humorous literature for children” (p. 34), this CfP invites analyses of humour in children’s literature in a multimodal, historical and internationally comparative perspective.

In light of the astounding success – also in the Nordic countries – of international humorous and illustrated book series for children, such as the Treehouse series by Australians Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton, Jeff Kinney’s Diary of A Wimpy Kid series and Liz Pichon’s Tom Gates series, there is reason to investigate the roles of the different modalities in multimodal texts in representing humour and in triggering laughter.

Furthermore, given a social climate in which many groups are outspokenly sensitive about what topics are suitable laughing matter, it is of interest to analyse how children’s literature navigates these sensitivities. If we might laugh at our hoarding habits during the Covid-19 crisis, can we laugh at the climate crisis or about our own responses to it? Is humour used as a distancing effect or a coping mechanism?

We are also interested in querying whether differing cultural views of child-adult relations result in particular brands of humour in children’s literature.

This CfP invites multimodal, historical and internationally comparative perspectives on humour in children’s literature. Topics include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • The role of humour in Nordic children’s literature, considering its quest to deal with controversial topics and dismantle taboos
  • Humorous topics and tropes in children’s literature
  • Humour for its own sake, or as a sweetener of moral or educational pills
  • The aesthetics of humour in children’s literature
  • Humour in children’s literature from historical perspectives
  • Humour taboos and the navigation of sensitivities in relation to humour in children’s literature
  • The roles of different modalities in representing humour and in triggering laughter
  • Humour in ecocritical children’s literature
  • Humour in children’s apps
  • Humour in children’s non-fiction
  • Humoristic genres of children’s fiction or non-fiction
  • Humour and reader address
  • Comparative perspectives on Nordic and international humorous tropes in children’s literature
  • The status of humorous children’s literature (awards, critical treatment)

We invite abstract submissions of around 350 words outlining the article’s central thesis and its core theoretical underpinnings.

Abstract submission deadline: November 15th, 2020.
The deadline for the submission of the full article (30,000 characters including spaces) is April 15th, 2021.

Series editors: Professor Lykke Guanio-Uluru, Western Norway University of Applied Sciences & Dr Lydia Wistisen, Stockholm University

Submissions should be sent to Lykke Guanio-Uluru: hagl@hvl.no and Lydia Wistisen lydia.wistisen@littvet.su.se

Do not include any contact information in the article itself. Please send the title of the article and a brief presentation of the author in a separate file.

For more information, see https://www.idunn.no/blft?languageId=2#/authors

Nordic Journal of Childlit Aesthetics accepts articles in Norwegian, Danish, Swedish and English. The journal uses double-blind review and publishes articles continuously.

Nordic Journal of Childlit Aesthetics is designated scientific level 1 in NSD (Norway and Sweden), the Danish Ministry of Higher Education and Science’s Authorization list for serials (Denmark), and in Publication Forum (Finland).

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