Academic journal article Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature

Editorial

Academic journal article Papers: Explorations into Children's Literature

Editorial

Article excerpt

In this issue of Papers we publish essays based on a selection of conference papers at the Seventh International Conference of the Australasian Children's Literature Association for Research (ACLAR) held in Melbourne on 13-14 July, 2006. The cover of this issue replicates Kathryn James's design for the conference programme, with its clever image of the 'undercover child' reading a comic. The theme of the conference emphasised newness: new texts, technologies, readings and readers, and the essays we present here traverse a variety of concepts and texts within this framework.

Kerry Mallan's invigorating plenary address sets the tone for this collection, focusing on the political climate in which researchers in children's literature work and addressing questions about the future of children's literature. Mallan moves between children's texts and their engagement with political and cultural shifts, and the value and potential of scholarship in children's literature. The essays grouped under the heading The politics of the present take up questions relating to contemporary politics and children's texts. Dudek considers activist texts challenging the Australian Government's policies regarding refugees, and Pearce and Lampert examine texts featuring Muslim protagonists in a post-9/11 world. Two essays touch on relations between humans and the non-human world: Sawers discusses the concept of animal-human hybridity in children's sci-fi; and Stephens considers relations between humans and the non-human world in environmental texts. Three essays--those of Free, Parsons and Bullen--hinge on questions of agency, as young people navigate familial, class and capitalist systems which seek to control their identities and futures. …

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