CFP Orphanhood, Foster Care and Adoption in Youth Media (ChLAQ)

Call for Papers

Orphanhood, Foster Care and Adoption in Youth Media:
A Special Issue of Children’s Literature Association Quarterly
Edited by Sarah Park Dahlen and Lies Wesseling

Deadline: November 1, 2014

This special issue of ChLAQ will focus on the different ways in which orphanhood, foster care, and adoption have been depicted in media for youth past and present. We also aim to take perspectives from birth countries and birth parents into account. We invite papers that both extend and disrupt existing adoption discourses, including but not limited to:

– the cultural construction of “adoptability”: constructions of children in need (deserving/undeserving children); of birth parents, foster parents and adoptive parents (deserving/undeserving parents)
– presence/absence of birth parents and birth countries in Western stories of adoption and fostering
– the genres of orphan narratives: the sentimental novel and beyond
– adultism and the hidden adult in orphan narratives
– the (ab)uses of children’s literature as a socialization tool in raising and educating adoptees
– representations of intercountry adoption in birth countries
– the politics of belonging; intersectional perspectives on race, class, nation, gender and sexuality in orphanhood, foster care and adoption
– the adoptees write back: adoptees’ perspectives on the cultural construction of orphanhood and adoptability
– the impact of narratives and visual art (action art, intervention art, etc.) on adoption laws, policies, and practices

Papers should conform to the usual style of ChLAQ and be between 5,000-7,000 words in length. Queries and completed essays should be sent to Sarah Park Dahlen and Lies Wesseling ( by November 1, 2014. The selected articles will appear in ChLAQ in 2015.

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