IRSCL Congresses

2017 Congress, Toronto, Canada

2017 IRSCL Congress Logo

The 23nd Biennial Congress of IRSCL will be held by the Children's Studies Program at the Keele Campus of York University, Toronto, Canada, 29 July - 2 August 2017.

Theme: 'Possible & Impossible Children: Intersections of Children's Literature & Childhood Studies'
Co-Convenors: Peter Cumming and Cheryl Cowdy
Dates: July 29 - August 2, 2017
Host Institution: York University, Toronto, Canada
Twitter: Twitter address - @irscl17

Online registration for IRSCL Congress 2017 is now open. "Early-bird" fees are available until 13 April 2017. Please see full details about registration, accommodation, and travel at the Congress 2017 website at

Call for Papers

At least since Jacqueline Rose's provocative argument about the "impossibility" of children's fiction in 1984, children's literature scholars have been profoundly anxious about "the child" and "children" in relation to children's literature. Richard Flynn (1997), Mary Galbraith and Karen Coats (2001), Perry Nodelman (2008), David Rudd (2013), and Marah Gubar (2013) have variously noted the dangers, difficulties, necessities, and desirability of approaching children's texts through conceptions of "children," "childhood," and "adulthood." Thus, this Congress is grounded in ongoing debates in children's literature scholarship about possible relationships of "the child," "children," and "childhood" to children's literature; to what extent and in what ways such relationships are possible or "impossible"; and to what extent and in what ways these are necessary and/or desirable.

Over the past three decades, the multidisciplinary fields of children's, childhood, and youth studies have developed dramatically. Childhood and youth studies, constantly negotiating intersections between actual young people and sociocultural constructions and representations of childhood and youth, offer compelling, if problematic, points of inquiry into the study of children's literature, just as children's and young adult literatures continue to challenge and inform childhood and youth studies.

The Congress 2017 theme lends itself to a variety of key issues related to production, interpretation, and reception of children's and young adult texts from different historical periods; in diverse local, regional, national, and global contexts; inflected variously by differences in gender, sexuality, race, ethnicity, class, and ability, including: Production & Reception; Ethics & Rights; Representation & Ideology; and Genres & Media.

See full call for papers for further details.

Past Congresses

2015 Worcester, United Kingdom - Creating Childhoods: Creation and (Re)-Interpretation through the Body, Histories and the Arts
2013 Maastricht, The Netherlands - Children's Literature and Media Cultures
2011 Brisbane, Australia - Fear and Safety
2009 Frankfurt, Germany - Children's Literature and Cultural Diversity in the Past and the Present
2007 Kyoto, Japan - Power and Children's Literature: Past, Present and Future
2005 Dublin, Ireland - Expectations and Experiences: Children, Childhood and Children's Literature
2003 Kristiansand, Norway - Telling a World, Shaping a World.
2001 Klein Kariba, South Africa - Change and Renewal in Children's Literature
1999 Calgary, Canada - Children's Literature and the fin de siècle (Joint meeting with the Children's Literature Association)
1997 York, England - The Presence of the Past in Children's Literature
1995 Stockholm, Sweden - Reflections of Change: the last 50 Years in Children's Literature
1993 Geelong, Australia - Crossing the boundaries: Multiculturalism in Children's Literature
1991 Paris, France - The Applications of Contemporary Literary and Cultural Theory to Children's Literature
1989 Salamanca, Spain - The History of Children's Literature
1987 Cologne, Germany - Books for children, Books for adults; The Relationship between them
1985 University of Quebec, Montreal - Literary Aspects of Fantasy and Fantastic Literature for Children and Young People
1983 Bordeaux, France - Portrayal of the Child in Children's Literature
1981 Moscow, USSR - International Dissemination of Children`s Literature Research; Trends in Teaching of Children's Literature, Status of Research in Specific Countries
1978 Exeter, Great Britain - Responses to Children's Literature: Children's Responses to Text and Illustrations
1976 Södertälje, Sweden - Problems of Translation in the Field of Literature for Children and Young People
1974 Boldern, Switzerland - Study of Reading Habits and Research on Sex Role Stereotyping in Literature for Children and Young People
1971 Frankfurt, Germany - Children's Literature as a Subject of Research