CFP for JJS 4.1: Juvenilia, Trauma, and Intersectionality

2020-08-08

Juvenilia, Trauma, and Intersectionality: Call for Papers

Put my black father on the penny
put his smile at me on the silver dime
put my mother on the dollar
for they’ve suffered for more than
three eternities of time …

So begins the poem “Monument in Black” by the Black child writer Vanessa Howard. This poem, which memorializes the trauma experienced by Howard’s parents, grandfather, and brother, was anthologized more than once and was also included in Howard’s collection, A Screaming Whisper, published in 1972 when the author was seventeen. Yet despite predictions at the time that she was headed for a career as a “major poet,” this was Howard’s last book, and her work was largely forgotten until reintroduced by childhood studies scholar Rachel Conrad in Time for Childhoods (2020). Do we read trauma literature by children differently from trauma literature by adults? How did the generational trauma Howard witnessed and experienced affect her writing, and how might it have affected her career? What scholarly approaches does trauma writing by children call for?

The Journal of Juvenilia Studies (JJS) invites queries and submissions on the topic of literary and artistic juvenilia, trauma, and intersectionality, for publication in a themed issue planned for 2021. We welcome shorter articles (3000–4000 words) that directly address specific aspects of the topic; we also welcome full-length articles on child writers and child artists, whether little-known or canonical, that view their work through the lens of trauma studies.

For example, one of the best-known child writers was Anne Frank, whose diary records her life in hiding; in a time and place where her Jewishness was a death sentence, she did not live long enough to become an adult writer. To what extent does this fact influence whether readers have treated her diary as a work of art or a historical record, and in what ways might this matter? As another example, Opal Whiteley’s working-class childhood diary records harsh treatment by her mother that most today would consider abuse; although she lived to an advanced age, scandal and mental illness helped to ensure that her writing career both began and ended with the publication of her diary when she was a young adult. To what extent did her family’s poverty and lack of cultural capital help to fuel the accusations of fraud that ruined her budding career? In what ways might her early experiences of trauma have shaped her writing?

JJS welcomes a variety of approaches to the challenge of addressing how we, as scholars, might do a better job of accounting for the intersection of juvenile trauma with race, class, gender, nationality, or (dis)ability. How might such an accounting transform our scholarship of such canonical child writers as Jane Austen and the Brontës? When authors have no careers as adults to guide scholarly priorities, what criteria have, historically, been used to determine their status as childhood artists worthy of study, and how are these criteria currently being contested and revised? For submission guidelines, please see our website, journalofjuveniliastudies.com. For queries, please contact the JJS editor, Lesley Peterson, at lpeterson@editors.ca. The deadline for submission is 15 January 2021.