CFP: Childhood and Its Discontents

ESC: English Studies in Canada invites submissions for a Special Issue on
“Childhood and Its Discontents,” guest edited by Nat Hurley.

Deadline: June 18, 2012
Submit to: Nat Hurley


No figure more fully embodies the paradoxical demands of civilization than the
child. At once beloved and overdetermined, the child figures nothing less than
our most treasured cultural fantasies and so also becomes the repository of our
worst fears. Scholars across the fields of children’s literature, queer theory,
gothic studies, critical pedagogy, gender studies, and critical race studies
increasingly highlight the ways children—and representations of them—exceed
(and so flag the limits of) the utopianism governing their very
conceptualization. In effect, childhood has become a fascinatingly unruly
object of study.

To the extent that discontentment indexes a dissatisfaction with prevailing
social and cultural conditions, this special issue on Childhood and Its
Discontents invites essays that reflect on childhood’s unruly resistance to the
norms, genres, and cultural regimes that aim to normalize it. In the same
spirit in which Freud brought to light the counterintuitive instincts that
underwrite and undermine the very idea of civilization, so too do we seek
essays for this volume that highlight the central tensions at the heart of
childhood and its representations.

ESC invites papers for this special issue on “Childhood and its Discontents”
from scholars, writers, artists, and activists with an interest in the
historical conditions, theoretical implications, and emergent potentialities of
the concept of childhood. We accept submissions from any geographical location.
The journal seeks to publish a diversity of historical, national, and
theoretical perspectives. We warmly welcome interdisciplinary approaches to
this topic and are happy to consider essays informed by critical race studies,
feminist theory, ethnographic studies, philosophy of education, film studies,
queer studies, postcolonial studies, political economy, critical pedagogy
studies, and ecocriticism as well as relevant others.

Note to contributors: ESC normally accepts black and white images, up to a
limit of six per article. Contributors are responsible for securing

Please forward completed essays (maximum of 8500 words), in MLA format, along with a 100-word abstract
and a 50-word bio to Nat Hurley, Assistant Professor, Department of English and
Film Studies at the University of Alberta. Please send electronic submissions
to The journal’s style sheet is available at the ESC website.

ESC: English Studies in Canada is a quarterly journal of scholarship and
criticism concerned with the study of literature and culture. Recent special
issues include “Traffic” (Eds. Cecily Devereux and Mark Simpson), “Guilt” (Ed.
J. Faflak), “Sound/Poetry/Event” (Eds. L. Cabri, A. Levy, P. Quartermain), and
“Skin” (Ed. J. Emberley). For more information visit ESC Digital.