Special Issue "Children’s Narratives as Transnational Cultural Heritage"

A special issue of Humanities (ISSN 2076-0787).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 January 2019)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Lies Wesseling

Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Centre for Gender and Diversity, Maastricht University Grote Gracht 80, 6211 SZ Maastricht, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: cultural construction of childhood in fiction and science; narrative models for forging kinship in global adoption; the selling, forgetting and remembering of child removal in the Dutch East Indies in the (post-)colonial Netherlands.
Guest Editor
Dr. Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak

Institute of English Studies, Center for Young People’s Literature and Culture, University of Wrocław, ul. Kuźnicza 22,50-138 Wrocław, Poland
Website | E-Mail
Interests: contemporary children’s literature and culture; childhood studies; participatory research

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Children’s narratives have often been thought to sum up national character: Nils Holgersson as an introduction into Swedish landscapes and cultures, Heidi as the epitome of ‘Swissness’, Hansje Brinker as a prototypical Dutch hero, etc. It is important to realize, however, that they became national icons in the eyes of non-Swedish, –Swiss and – Dutch audiences, through transnational reception, adaptation and remediation: Heidi, for example, exemplified the Swiss way of life in the eyes of a German audience. Familiarizing children with and involving them in these ongoing processes of creative transnational appropriation may help them to deconstruct national stereotypes. Positively put, it may help them to feel at home in ‛a wider circle of we’ that allows for the coexistence of local, national and transnational identifications. Contemporary citizens may well identify simultaneously as, for instance, Bavarians, Germans, and Europeans. Heritage narratives for children may facilitate the development of such a poly-local, multidimensional sense of belonging in today’s globalizing world. Young and adult readers also actively contribute to these processes of adaptation and remediation as co-creators of heritage by, for example, participating in fan cultures, as a significant dimension of their emergent citizenship.

The aim of this special issue is to explore the viability of childhood heritage for citizenship education of 8-12-year-olds in a globalizing, multi-ethnic Europe. It seeks to address issues such as: How are children’s (non-)fictional narratives constructed as local, regional, national and/or transnational heritage through dynamic processes of adaptation and remediation? 2) How can childhood heritage institutions such as museums, archives and international advocacy organizations facilitate transnational appropriations of aesthetic and educative artefacts? 3) How can children be actively engaged in the process of heritage construction as a significant dimension of their emergent citizenship?

Papers may address topics such as:

-- the trope of home in children’s narratives: stories beyond the “home-away-home” plot described by Perry Nodelman in The Pleasures of Children’s Literature.

-- children’s texts in an imagological perspective

-- transnational fan practices related to children’s narratives

-- transnational memory in children’s literature

- children’s narratives as materials for  citizenship education     

-- children and/or young adults as active participants in heritage construction

-- children’s literature as national and transnational heritage in institutional contexts (museums, heritage libraries, etc.)

--  international organizations advocating children’s narratives as media for fostering international understanding

Length of the article: 6000-7000 words.

Prof. Dr. Lies Wesseling
Dr. Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Humanities is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 350 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • children’s narratives
  • childhood heritage
  • citizenship education
  • poly-local citizenship

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Destination Antwerp! Fan Tourism and the Transcultural Heritage of A Dog of Flanders
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 90; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020090
Received: 19 February 2019 / Revised: 20 March 2019 / Accepted: 5 May 2019 / Published: 9 May 2019
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Abstract
Antwerp, the fictional home of Nello & Patrasche from A Dog of Flanders (1872) written by Marie Louise de la Ramée, attracts thousands of tourists every year to see the city and get close to the fictional text. European children’s literature such as [...] Read more.
Antwerp, the fictional home of Nello & Patrasche from A Dog of Flanders (1872) written by Marie Louise de la Ramée, attracts thousands of tourists every year to see the city and get close to the fictional text. European children’s literature such as this inspires dedicated fans who long to make more real the imagined spaces described by authors. The city and associated monuments and markers become sites of secular pilgrimage; people traveling to them experience children’s literary culture as localheritage. Traveling across borders, visiting these European spaces of children’s literature, taking official and unofficial tours, and listening to the stories which people share while physically present help to secure a place in which international fans can play with notions of local identity and culturalheritage. Or, as Yi-Fu Tuan argues, “When space feels thoroughly familiar to us, it has become place.” This case study seeks to interrogate the importance of place in the transcultural fan community of A Dog of Flanders. I analyse the touristic pilgrimage to Antwerp and the social/communal rituals associated with what John Urry calls the “mediatised gaze” as fans inhabit spaces typically reserved for city locals. This paper also considers the importance of place in the transcultural fan community of European children’s literature, discussing how glocalization allows texts to travel across international borders and encourage transcultural appropriation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Narratives as Transnational Cultural Heritage)
Open AccessArticle
Researching Child Authors: Which Questions (not to) Ask
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 87; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020087
Received: 4 February 2019 / Revised: 22 March 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 5 May 2019
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Abstract
It used to be taken for a given fact that children’s literature is written by adults for children. This assumption is contested by the emergence of “another children’s literature”, namely literature about, for, and by children. Facilitated by digital platforms, this alternative type [...] Read more.
It used to be taken for a given fact that children’s literature is written by adults for children. This assumption is contested by the emergence of “another children’s literature”, namely literature about, for, and by children. Facilitated by digital platforms, this alternative type of children’s literature is gathering momentum, compelling us to rethink the (im)possibilities of children’s creative agency. As research into children’s literature is largely premised upon the asymmetry between adult authorship and juvenile readership, we need to rethink some fundamental tenets of this academic field in order to come to terms with child authorship. This article reviews leading publications on the topic, to address the question of how we can best acknowledge, facilitate, and appreciate children’s creative agency as an indispensable dimension of their emergent citizenship. Methodological deliberations are illustrated with references to primary works by child authors about topical societal issues such as ethnic conflict, homelessness, and migration. Its aim is not so much to provide a complete survey of all available publications on the topic, but rather to stake out representative publications that exemplify more and less fruitful approaches to the problem at hand. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Narratives as Transnational Cultural Heritage)
Open AccessArticle
Productive Remembering of Childhood: Child–Adult Memory-Work with the School Literary Canon
Humanities 2019, 8(2), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8020074
Received: 10 February 2019 / Revised: 25 March 2019 / Accepted: 4 April 2019 / Published: 12 April 2019
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Abstract
This essay, co-written by adult and child researchers, marks an important shift in the field of children’s literature studies because it promotes an academic practice in which children are actively involved in decision-making. In our polyphonic account of the collaboration, we draw on [...] Read more.
This essay, co-written by adult and child researchers, marks an important shift in the field of children’s literature studies because it promotes an academic practice in which children are actively involved in decision-making. In our polyphonic account of the collaboration, we draw on the ideas of productive remembering, re-memorying, and child-led research to advance a new pedagogical approach to the current, adult-centered literary school canon in Poland, which was compiled in 2017 by a panel of politically appointed experts. We exemplify our proposal by discussing “Staś and Nel in the 21st Century”: Do Long-established School Readings Connect Generations?”, a participatory research project conducted at a primary school in Wrocław, Poland, in spring 2018. As we argue, selected texts from the canon may catalyze memories of childhood from older readers that can be shared with younger readers to develop their own connections with these texts. Such an exchange may open new individual and collective remembering spaces linking intragenerational perspectives with intergenerational meanings and resulting in a school canon that promotes both national cohesion and openness to other cultures. Seen thus, our approach can be adopted in school and other settings to engage children and adults as co-creators of particular memory-work methods. In broader terms, it can promote a critical and action-oriented understanding of the heritage of childhood in Poland and elsewhere. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Narratives as Transnational Cultural Heritage)
Open AccessArticle
Protest and Apology in the Arctic: Enacting Citizenship in Two Recent Swedish Films
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 49; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010049
Received: 7 January 2019 / Revised: 23 February 2019 / Accepted: 1 March 2019 / Published: 7 March 2019
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Abstract
Today, Sweden enjoys a positive international reputation for its commitment to human rights issues, for instance, in relation to the recent migrant crisis. Abuses committed by the Swedish state against certain ethnic groups within the country are less well known, both within and [...] Read more.
Today, Sweden enjoys a positive international reputation for its commitment to human rights issues, for instance, in relation to the recent migrant crisis. Abuses committed by the Swedish state against certain ethnic groups within the country are less well known, both within and beyond its borders. These included systematic attempts to curtail the use of indigenous and local languages, thereby causing communicative and ideological rifts between children and their parents. These policies were enacted through the school system from the 1920s until the 1970s, and particularly affected people living in the Arctic region where the national borders are disputed. In this article, we examine two twenty-first-century films set during this era, featuring feisty female characters responding to the school policy. Elina: As though I wasn’t there is a children’s film created by people “outside” the cultural group represented; and Sámi Blood features an adolescent protagonist (and her older self), created by “insiders” of the cultural group represented. In both films, the female protagonists’ relative lack of agency within the state school system is contrasted with their powerful connections to the Arctic landscape. We seek to examine how these films contribute to the work of apology, beginning with a public acknowledgement of the wrongs of the past. Whilst one of the films concludes with a celebration of the female protagonists’ agency, the other proffers a more ambiguous portrayal of power in relation to culture, nationality, and identity. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Narratives as Transnational Cultural Heritage)
Open AccessArticle
Children’s Literature in Translation: Towards a Participatory Approach
Humanities 2019, 8(1), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/h8010048
Received: 8 January 2019 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 21 February 2019 / Published: 6 March 2019
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Abstract
In the Netherlands and Flanders, more or less a fifth of all children’s books are translations. The decision of what gets translated and funded is, for the most part, informed by adults’ decisions. This paper offers a first step towards a more participatory [...] Read more.
In the Netherlands and Flanders, more or less a fifth of all children’s books are translations. The decision of what gets translated and funded is, for the most part, informed by adults’ decisions. This paper offers a first step towards a more participatory approach to the translation of books for young readers by investigating children’s understanding of translation processes and the criteria that they put forward as desirable for the international circulation of children’s books. It presents the findings from interviews and a focus group talk with child members of the “Kinder- en Jeugdjury Vlaanderen”, a children’s jury in which the jurors read both original and translated works. While the children did not always realize which books were translated, they did express clear views on their preferred translation strategies, highlighting the potential to learn about other cultures while also voicing concern about readability. They cared less about exporting their own cultural heritage to other countries, and put the focus on the expansion of interesting stories to read as the main benefit of translations. While this project still involved a fairly high level of adult intervention, it makes clear the potential of children to contribute to decisions about the transnational exchange of cultural products developed for them. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Children’s Narratives as Transnational Cultural Heritage)
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