Advanced Research Seminar in Children’s Literature ‘Where Children Rule: Child Governance in Action and Contention’

Last updated:22 Mar 2016

December 2nd – 4th 2013, Macau

In children’s literature childhood is frequently represented as a state of being – as an imaginary ‘state’ even – and children are seen as aliens in need of passports to Adultland (and vice versa). Peter Pan’s Neverland is an example of a country you will have to leave if you decide to grow up. Narnia is another one of these childhood nations, since it is a fairyland closed to adults, a place where children rule. As Perry Nodelman shows in The Hidden Adult (2009) a general ambition is that the child should eventually receive a green card and full rights as a citizen in Adultland. There are very many key texts of and about childhood (e.g. The Lord of the Flies) in which we can see forms of child governance in action or in contention. Many children’s texts play with adult-child authority relations. This round-table colloquium will explore a range of texts in which children are, in various ways, empowered. We will discuss whether childhood itself may be thought of as a nationality, and if the wisdom of children might be seen as a helpful corrective in adult politics. The hoped-for outcome of the colloquium would be a second volume, edited by Kit Kelen and Björn Sundmark, functioning as a sequel to Nations of Childhood, to be proposed to Routledge for their Children’s Literature Research Series. Thus the colloquium is a meeting with a practical goal in mind – the creation of an edited international volume of essays on the captioned theme.


Host and Convenor:

Prof Kit Kelen, University of Macau


Our distinguished guests, who are world experts in the field, are:


Attending International Participants:

Prof Björn Sundmark, University of Malmö

Prof Mavis Reimer, University of Alberta

Prof Emer O’Sullivan, University of Luenberg

Prof Junko Yokota, National Louis University, Chicago


Project Participants (not attending):

Prof Clare Bradford, Deakin University, Melbourne

Dr Zoe Jaques, Anglia Ruskin University

Dr Åse Marie Ommundsen, Oslo and Akershus University College of Applied Sciences

Prof Bob Davis, University of Glasgow


Other Possible Book Contributors:

Prof Vanessa Joosen, University of Antwerp

Prof Roberta Trites, Illinois State University

Prof David Rudd, University of Bolton

Dr Sirke Happonen, University of Helsinki

Prof Michael Heyman, Berklee College of Music, Boston

Prof Christina Bacchilega, University of Hawaii

Prof Marek Oziewcz, University of Wroclaw

Prof Robert Davies, University of Glasgow

Dr Svein Slettan, University of Agder

Prof Jack Zipes, University of Minnesota