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Special issue of Literature & Theology: Children’s Literature and Theology

Co-editors: Dr Elizabeth Anderson, University of Stirling
Professor Kirstie Blair, University of Stirling

Children’s literature has been theological from its origins, and highly influential works from the seventeenth, eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, such as John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress, the didactic poetry of Ann and Jane Taylor, William Blake’s Songs of Innocence or the mid-Victorian family fictions of Charlotte Yonge, continue to exert an influence over current developments in children’s literature. Twentieth-century literature, from C. S. Lewis to Philip Pullman and beyond, has built upon and questioned these models, and as the twenty-first century advances, it is clear that works for children remain highly invested in creative explorations and interrogations of religious cultures. We are soliciting essays for a special issue of Literature & Theology that will reflect upon these developments and advance our understanding of what is, and has been, at stake for children’s literature in its many and varied engagements with theology and religion. Possible topics might include but are not limited to:

- sacrifice and atonement
- sin and salvation
- power and ethics
- conflict and liberation
- religious pluralism
- religious belonging and community
- ritual and practice
- feminist and queer theologies
- eco-theology
- alternative spiritualities (pagan, occult, magical)
- interactions between science, technology and religion
- form and aesthetics

We invite proposals concerned with genres as diverse as poetry, picture books, educational texts, magazines and periodicals, school stories, graphic novels, young adult fiction, science fiction and fantasy, utopia and dystopia. We welcome proposals that investigate under-researched works and authors, or that explore new approaches to more familiar texts. While we hope that this special issue will cover an expansive time-period, and include essays dealing with earlier children’s literature, we are particularly keen to attract innovative work on late twentieth and early twenty-first century literature.
Potential contributors are welcome to contact us with informal expressions of interest. The deadline for submitting proposals, consisting of a 500 word abstract and 1 page CV, is 1 December 2014. These should be emailed to kirstie.blair@stir.ac.uk. Contributors will be informed of the outcome by January 2015, with 5-6000 word essays due by 1 September 2015. The issue is scheduled for publication in 2016.

 

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