Young Adult Literature (Panel)


Standing Session
Genres and Audiences / Cultural, Historical, and Political Studies

Joseph Thomas (San Diego State University)
jtth@****.com (Log-in to reveal)

All papers pertaining to Young Adult Literature are welcome. Papers that attend to the conference theme of "Send In the Clowns" are welcome.

Though the notion of “antics” go hand-in-hand with childhood, “clowning around” can take on a more disapproving, if not downright insidious, implication over the course of adolescence, as young people are shepherded towards the presumed seriousness of adulthood.

This panel invites consideration of the “clown” figure and its utility in Young Adult Literature. This may lead respondents to questions of genre (how does a refusal of seriousness, or an insistence on laughter, function differently in contemporary versus dystopian YA?), questions of history (is “fooling around” more attached to an imagined teenaged past as opposed to an ultra-driven, hyper-scheduled imagined teenaged present?), or questions of gender (does the often-masculinized “class clown” figure necessarily represent a patriarchal “boys will be boys” permissiveness towards men’s antics, or may he also illustrate a rejection of institutions?).

All papers pertaining to Young Adult Literature are welcome, though papers that attend to the conference theme are particularly welcome.