An international conference at Linnæus University, Växjö, Sweden, 6th–8th of October 2020
Upcoming: a conference issue of Barnboken
There will be a themed journal issue of the journal Barnboken that focuses on the conference theme. For more information, please see: https://barnboken.net/index.php/clr/call-girlhood
Due to the Corona pandemic, we have decided to turn our conference into an entirely digital conference. This means that everyone will take part in the conference from home/their office. We would of course love to see you in person, but under the current circumstances this is our best option.
- Sadly, one of our keynotes, Maria Margareta Österholm, will not be able to take part in the conference. Instead, we have the pleasure to announce that we will have an evening activity focused on Swedish author Astrid Lindgren's famous character Pippi Longstocking. During this event, Lisa Källström, who has just finished a doctoral thesis about Pippi, will give a lecture called "Pippi as Bullfighter: Illustrations as Medialized Spectacles". You will also get the opportunity to ask Lisa about her presentation and Pippi! And there will be recipes available, so that you can make your own children's literature themed food and snacks for the event
- If you would like to take part in the conference as a listener, please send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Do NOT use the registration link - that link is only for keynotes, paper presenters and organisers.
- We will use the e-meeting platform Zoom for the conference, please see below for more information on "how that works"!
- There will be a conference publication. The CFP will be sent out when it is ready.
- We are still fine-tuning the schedule, but a preliminary version is available - see below under "Programme"!
- Remember – the conference schedule mentions the time slots in Swedish time (CEST)! There are convenient converters of time differences available online if you need some help!
- The papers will be held live during the conference, so you do not need to pre-record your paper.
- It is really important that you stick to the time limit. You will be muted when your time has run out.
- We will soon send out conference packages to the address you have mentioned in your registration (invited speakers, paper presenters and organisers only).
- Please send us a guide on how to pronounce your name no later than the 15th of September.
- There is a bit more space in the programme than we originally thought there would be. If you have been told earlier that your paper will be 10 minutes long you now have two options:
1) To talk for 20 minutes instead.
2) To talk for 10 minutes and get more time for feedback.
Please let us know no later than the 15th of September which option you prefer!
- We have created a Facebook group for the conference: Conceptions of Girlhood! Join us if you want to share links, suggested readings, your recipes or something else related to the conference and/or girls' literature in general!
We are looking forward to seeing you virtually in October. Please do not hesitate to send your questions our way if there is something that seems unclear! And please take a look at the conference website regularly - we have a few surprises that will be revealed very soon!
Last but not least: thank you to our financiers Riksbankens Jubileumsfond (RJ), The Crafoord Foundation and Linnaeus University for making this conference possible!
Best wishes and stay safe,
The conference committee
Click titles/links (key notes, panels etc) in the programme for abstracts (as pdf).
If you would like to download all abstracts, keynotes and panels click the following link: Panels, abstracts and bios.pdf
Information concerning panel moderators and abstracts will be added soon!
Tuesday 6 October
9–9.45 Welcome! Introductions and practical information
10.05-11.45 Roundtable: “Girlhood in Academia: A Nordic Perspective”
Hilda Jakobsson (chair), Stockholm University, Sweden; Birgitta Theander, Lund University, Sweden; Eva Söderberg, Dalarna University, Sweden; Maria Nilson, Linnæus University, Sweden, and Malin Alkestrand, Linnæus University, Sweden
1–2.30 Keynote Presentation 1: “Black Girls and their Nineteenth-Century Autograph Albums” Nazera Sadiq Wright, Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky, USA
3–5 Session 1 (Panels 1-3):
Moderator: Dawn Sardella-Ayers
- “In the Company of Horses: Girlhood in Pia Hagmar’s Series about Klara” - Ann-Sofie Persson, Sweden
- “Modern Girlhood in America: A Look at Intergenerational Female Relationships in Four Children’s Books” - Johari Imani Murray, Spain
- “Rational Women: Romance as Threat in the Work of Louisa May Alcott and Astrid Lindgren” - Malin Nauwerck, Sweden
Moderator: Corina Löwe
- “Frida på Sumatra: A Nordic Colonial Girlhood” - Anna Greek and Hans Hägerdal, Sweden
- “Transcending and Challenging National Identity: Anglophone Constructions of Chinese Girlhood in the Late 19th and Early 20th Century” - Jessica Medhurst, United Kingdom
- “Brave New Girl: Making Sense of Girlhood through Space and Place in Jane Vejjajiva’s The Happiness of Kati” - Khanthaporn Changprasert, Thailand
Moderator: Lesley Clement
- “Locating Girl Writers Then and Now: The Emily of New Moon Trilogy and the Beginning of the Modern Girl Writer Story” - Yan Du, United Kingdom
- “Female Control of Voice in Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking Trilogy” - Nic Hilton, United Kingdom
- “Speaking Up by Writing Down: Diary Writing and Empowerment in Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries” - Hanna Liljeqvist, Sweden
6.00–8 Party with Pippi! Listen to Lisa Källström, Lund University, Sweden, talk about "Pippi as Bullfighter. Illustrations as Medialized Spectacles" and mingle with other conference delegates
Wednesday 7 October
9.15–11.45 Session 2 (Panels 4-6):
Moderator: Maria Nilson
- “Girls’ Literature as Genre: American and Canadian Girls’ Lit in Discussion” - Dawn Sardella-Ayres and Ashley Reese, United States of America
- “Defense of a Mid-20th-Century Portrait of Happy, Harmonious Girlhood: The Betsy-Tacy Series of Maud Hart Lovelace” - Claudia Mills, United States of America
- “The Mythic Everyday of the Frontier in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House Series” - Ya’ara Notea, United Kingdom
- “Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy: Discovering the Jewish Girl in Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women” - Melanie J. Fishbane, Canada
Moderator: Corina Löwe
- “Collecting Girlhood: Intersections in the Archive” - Margaret Masterson, Ireland
- “Construction of Girlhood in the Oeuvre of Joke van Leeuwen” - Lindsey Geybels, Belgium
- “Jagoda Truhelka’s U carstvu duše (In the Realm of the Soul) in the Context of Croatian Girls’ Literature” - Ana Batinić, Croatia
- “The Junior Literarry Guild Selects Selma LAgerlöf: Girls' Reading in 1930s America” - Anne Morey, USA
Moderator: Malin Alkestrand
- “Elusive Girlhood in Adoption Memoirs” - Lena Ahlin, Sweden
- “‘Girls should be plump and round. Men don’t care for bony women’: Girlhood, Femininity and Next-Generation Memory in North American Diasporic Children’s Literature” - Mateusz Świetlicki and Justyna Mętrak, Poland
- “Anastasia and I: A Fictocritical Essay about Reading and Writing Girlhood” - Maria Freij, Sweden
1–2.30 Keynote Presentation 2: ”What about the Fat Girl in Fiction? Perspectives on Children’s Literature, Girlhood and Fat Studies” Åsa Warnqvist, Research Manager at the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books, Sweden and Mia Österlund, Associate Professor at Åbo Akademi University, Finland
3–5 Session 3 (Panels 7-9):
Moderator: Maria Nilson
- “I Like a Girl Who Can Eat: Female Hunger, Food and Desire in the Supernatural Romance” - Nicola Burke, Australia
- “Britain's First Supergirl? Pansy Potter Comic Strips as a Model for Girlhood” - Dona Pursall, Norway
- “The Popular and Contradictory Heroine Tiina in Finnish Girls’ Literature” - Sara Kokkonen, Finland
Moderator: Corina Löwe
- “Emotional Socialization in Swedish Post-War Literature for Girls” - Lydia Wistisen, Sweden
- “Mystery of Nancy Drew in the Nordic Countries: Emotional Characteristics Lost in the Norwegian and Finnish Translations” - Laura Leden, Finland
- “Good Girls, Bad Girls, and Suffocating Softness” - Vera N. Veldhuizen, Netherlands
Moderator: Anna Salomonsson
- “(Re)Imagining Girlhood: The Artistic Evolution of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” - Jade Dillon, Ireland
- “The Girlhood of Shakespeare’s Heroines” - Mette Hildeman Sjölin, Sweden
- “Becoming Pixie: Conceptualising and Challenging the Manic Pixie Dream Girl” - Jennifer Gouck, United Kingdom
6–8 Quiz Night! Join us for a night of fun and girls’ lit trivia! Sign up by emailing email@example.com no later than Monday October 5. Sign up as a single (you will be assigned a team) or as a team of 2-4 people."
Thursday 8 October
9.15–11.45 Session 4 (Panels 10-12):
Moderator: Maria Nilson
- “Girls’ Ambivalent Presence in Animal Rights Oriented Children’s Literature” - Marianna Koljonen, Finland
- “Girls! A Study of the Representation of Girls in Swedish YA-Easy Readers” - Anna Nordenstam, Sweden
- "Sara Gay Model Girl: On Fashion Modelling inFour Girls' Series Books in 1961" - Erika Lunding, Sweden
Moderator: Dawn Sardella-Ayers
- “Diana Barry 2.0: Reimagine the Bosom Friend in Anne with an E and Its Fandom” - Tuva Haglund, Sweden
- “Formula and Feminist Impulses in the Russian Translations of Anne of Green Gables” - Irina Levchenko, Austria
- “Meaning of ‘Girlhood’ in Slovak Children’s Literature of Communism” - Natália Dukátová, Slovakia
- “Politicizing Anne: Literary Adaptations and Girls’ Literature” - Anette Svensson, Sweden
Moderator: Malin Alkestrand
- “Girlhood in Early Historical Fantasy: Challenging the Traditional Hero’s Quest” - Susanne Schneider, Sweden
- “Female Heroes in Young Adult Fantasy Fiction: Reframing Myths of Adolescent Girlhood” - Leah Phillips, United Kingdom
- “Antigone: A Tragic Heroine, A Rebellious Teenager” - Tzina Kalogirou and Voula Chourdaki, Greece
1–3 Session 5 (Panels 13-15):
Moderator: Lydia Wistien
- “‘Fantastically Great Women’ and ‘Rebel Girls’: Do Children’s Biographies about Women Inspire or Responsibilize Young Girls in their Conceptions of Girlhood?” - Louise Couceiro, United Kingdom
- “A Utopia of Co-Becoming? Figurations of Girlhood in Superhero Comics” - Charlotte Johanne Fabricius, Denmark
- “‘Girly Methods’, or ‘Doing Science’ in Lena Andersson’s Picture Books” - Piia K. Posti, Sweden
Moderator: Malin Alkestrand
- “Loving Girls: Romance and the Realisation of Queer Identity in Young-Adult Fiction” - Robyn Dennison, Australia
- “Young Adult Graphic Novels and Female (Bi)sexual Identity in Long Red Hair and Blue is the Warmest Color” - Dalila Forni, Italy
- “Non-Normative Bodies, Queer Identities: The Marginalization of Queer Girls in YA Dystopian Literature” - Miranda A. Green-Barteet, Canada and Jill Coste, United States of America
Moderator: Dawn Sardella-Ayers
- “Alienated Girlhood in Works by Christabel Coleridge” - Claudia Nelson, United States of America
- “Brave New Heroine? Katniss Everdeen, the Burnt ‘Girl on Fire’ Who Did Not Revolutionise Young Adult Dystopian Fiction” - Sara Pini, Italy
- “Girls Living Together: A Feministic Utopia?” - Birgitta Theander, Sweden
3.30–4.30 “Where Do We Go From Here?” Ideas for the future and closing remarks
4.30– Mingle Session Last chance to mingle! Zoom room open for continued conversations
Keynotes and invited speakers
Dr. Nazera Sadiq Wright is Associate Professor of English and African American and Africana Studies at the University of Kentucky. She is the author of Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century (University of Illinois Press, 2016), which won the 2018 Children’s Literature Association’s Honor Book Award for Outstanding Book of Literary Criticism. Her Digital Humanities project, DIGITAL GI(RL)S: Mapping Black Girlhood in the Nineteenth Century documents the cultural activities of black girls living in Philadelphia in the nineteenth century. In 2019, she was elected to the American Antiquarian Society. Fellowships through the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation funded archival research for her second book, Early African American Women Writers and Their Libraries.
Dr. Åsa Warnqvist is the Research Manager and Director of the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books. She is also affiliated with Linnaeus University. Warnqvist’s research has primarily been focused on Canadian writer L.M. Montgomery, the Swedish children’s book market, gender studies, and normativity studies. Her ongoing research is on depictions of fat characters in children’s and young adult literature, transgender narratives, and the impact of L.M. Montgomery on Swedish readers. Warnqvist is the editor of the Swedish academic journal Barnboken: Journal of Children’s Literature Research and a member of the editorial board of Journal of L.M. Montgomery Studies. She is also a member of the IRSCL executive board (International Research Society for Children’s Literature), organizer of the IRSCL Congress 2019, and vice-president of IRSCL.
Mia Österlund, Docent, is Associated Professor in Comparative Literature at Åbo Akademi University, and principal investigator of the research project “Competing Temporalities: Chrononormativity in Postmillennial Finland Swedish Literature and Culture for Children and Young Adults 2019–22” at the Swedish Society for Literature in Finland. As a pioneer within Nordic girlhood studies, much of her research is centered on gender and children’s literature, for example fat studies and picturebooks. Österlund has published a book on crossdressing in young adult fiction and co-edited a range of studies such as Novel Districts: Critical Readings of Monika Fagerholm (2016) and published extensively. Her research interests are girlhood and gender studies, queer studies as well as picturebook and young adult fiction studies. She is co-editor of Barnboken: Journal of Children's Literature Research.
Hilda Jakobsson has a doctoral degree in literature since 2019 and presently works as a teacher in child and youth studies, Stockholm University. Her dissertation is about the Swedish author Agnes von Krusenstjerna’s early works, her depictions of girls becoming – or not becoming – women in encountering love and sexuality, as well as her relationship to the girls’ book genre. Jakobsson has published an article on the Swedish girls’ book series Kulla-Gulla and presented several papers on the subject of girls’ books. Furthermore, she has taught children’s and young adult literature. She is particularly interested in depictions of love and sexuality, queer and intersectional theory.
In her dissertation Pippi between Worlds and Word (2020), Lisa Källström describes the gaze as a form of techne discussing illustrations, sketches and cover images of Pippi Longstocking from German, French and Swedish Editions. Pippi is an interesting object of study because she has become something of a role model in gender equality. The concept of techne – as in the gaze as techne – stems from rhetorical theory. Techne is both art and craft, which modern languages tend to separate. On one hand, techne indicates something technical, strictly rule based, drill-based, and almost mechanical. On the other hand, it indicates something creative and expressive, for which there hardly exist any clear rules, and where skilful and mindful discretion is decisive. Techne gives us the possibility to stress the dynamic encounter of pictures and gaze as a creative act. To notice, to have a closer look, to shift perspective, and to question one‘s view is something people do; it is not simply a matter of receiving sensory data but of constructing meaning based on what we think we know about the world. Talking about what we see is a way to become aware of what we take for granted.
Birgitta Theander is PhD in literature since 2006. She is now affiliated researcher at Lund University. Her main interest is girls’ fiction from the early and middle twentieth century, on which subject she has written two books, Loved and Denied: Girls’ Fiction in Sweden 1945–65, and To the Work! Vocational Dreams and Working Life in Girls’ Fiction 1920–65. She has also presented Astrid Lindgren’s Katibooks on the net-based Litteraturbanken and contributed with several articles for The Swedish Biographic Encyclopaedia of Women.
Eva Söderberg is a Senior Lecturer in Literary Didactics at Dalarna University and has also been part of the interdisciplinary research projects “Challenging Gender” at Umeå University and “Normalization and the Neoliberal Welfare State” at Mid Sweden University, both in Sweden. One of her research focus is on children’s literature (girls’ fiction and picture books) and gender. In her dissertation (2004) she broadens the contextual space surrounding the classic girls’ story series about Kulla-Gulla by Sandwall-Bergström. Söderberg is also one of the pioneers in the interdisciplinary research network FlickForsk! Nordic Network for Girlhood Studies and has been active on its steering committee since its inception in 2008 until 2013.
Maria Nilson is a senior lecturer at Linnaeus University. In her research she focuses on popular literature and has written on popular romance, steampunk and YA dystopias among other subjects.
Malin Alkestrand, PhD, is currently an Assistant Professor in comparative literature at Linnæus University, Sweden. In her dissertation Magiska möjligheter: Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl och Cirkeln i skolans värdegrundsarbete [Magical possibilities: Teaching values in schools with Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl and the Circle] (2016) she explored how fantasy literature can be used to discuss and problematize democracy, human rights, and multiculturalism in a school context. She is currently working on a project about the relationship of power between adults and adolescents in Anglophone and Swedish YA dystopias.
The conference will be hosted by Centre for Childhood Research in Literature, Language and Learning (CHILLL) at Linnæus University in Växjö, Sweden. It will be co-organised with the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books and Dawn Sardella-Ayres, who holds a PhD in Children’s Literature from the University of Cambridge.
We are looking into the possibilities of compiling an essay collection based on a selection of the conference presentations.
A "digital conference" - how does that work?
The entire conference will use the e-meeting platform Zoom. In order to participate, please read the following and see further below for instructions of how to connect and install the Zoom client - we strongly recommend everybody to do that because it will give you much better technical quality.
Links to the sessions and will be provided shortly before the conference starts.
Important for all!
- Links to all zoom rooms will be available shortly before the conference starts. The links will be active 30 mins before the beginning of each lecture or session so that all participants can enter and make sure that everything works.
- The paper presentations are organized in parallel sessions, and each session will be led by a moderator. The papers are presented live, and there will be room for questions and comments either immediately after each paper or at the end of the session in question.
- Please also note that the names and identity of participants will only be visible within the sessions and the same thing goes for the personal identity in the chat rooms.
Questions and support
For all types of questions before the start of the conference, please use the conference e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. During the conference you can either use the same mail address or, of course, chat with us live via zoom.
Connecting to Zoom
If you do not already have the Zoom client installed on your computer, you will need to make the following steps to install and configure Zoom:
- Download the Zoom.us software on the device which you will use for the video conference (Windows, macOS, Android or iOS)
- Test the internet connection and the audio system (microphone + headphones/ speakers) and video (webcam). You can click here to test a Zoom conference meeting.
Steps for the actual video conference:
- Accessing the video conferencing link, in the form of https://zoom.us/j/xxxxxxxxxx, which you will find for each session. This will open the already installed application.
- The authentication in the video conference is done with the email and password previously received from the conference administration.
General recommendations for using Zoom
- Write your name and institution - eg. John Doe - University of Everywhere. In order to see how to do this please read this.
- Keep the microphone turned off when you are not speaking, since background noise can be very distracting.
- In order to talk with the moderators and other speakers try using the chat. Find instructions here.
- In order to share your screen watch this short tutorial.
- During a zoom conference you can give more non-verbal feedback - by raising your hand to ask for permission to speak, or by answering yes / no, etc. To see where you can access them, look at the explanatory images here.
Only for keynotes - some tips for better technical quality in recordings
- Set your video resolution to 1920x1080. If you use a mobile phone to record, record in landscape (horizontal) format.
- Use a neutral background and record in good light.
- Place yourself slightly to the left or right of the centre of the frame, and make sure not to have too much air above your head.
- Place your camera at the same level as your head.
- Preferably, use a wired lavalier microphone plugged into your computer or phone. In case you do not have access to a lavalier, use a high-quality USB microphone or a high-quality phone headset. Try to avoid large headsets, as these do not look good on video.
- Avoid using a room witch echo or other disturbing sounds.
- Preferably, do not use a virtual background. In case you record in Zoom with a lit green screen behind you, it is ok to use a virtual background.
- Choose mp4 as your file format
Call for paper
The history of comprehensive analysis of “girls’ literature” as a genre is an established study in Nordic scholarship. Scholars such as Birgitta Theander, Marika Andræ and Mia Österlund have explored girls’ literature and coming-of-age stories in Swedish-language texts as well as in translated texts. The concept of “flickbok,” which roughly translates into “girl’s book,” is a specific genre label with a defined set of characteristics within a Swedish-language context.
Drawing on this scholarship, we are seeking academic papers exploring the idea of girls and girlhood in children’s literature and young adult literature and film, both in Nordic and in international primary texts. We welcome papers on both historical texts that have been defined as girls’ literature and conceptions of girlhood in contemporary literature of various genres. Scholarship might include what it means to be a girl in specific texts or as demonstrated by particular fictional girls, how girlhood is constructed in texts, how we define “classic texts for girls,” and the ways in which those definitions change over time, or in different countries.
We are especially interested in papers that examine shifting definitions of gender and how it is performed in texts defined as “girls’ literature,” the ways in which texts respond to social issues of girls and girlhood, and how contemporary coming-of-age stories address what it means to be a girl in a specific time and place.
This conference will be hosted by Centre for Childhood Research in Literature, Language and Learning (CHILLL) at Linnæus University in Växjö, Sweden. It will be co-organised with the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books and Dawn Sardella-Ayres, who holds a PhD in Children’s Literature from the University of Cambridge.
We encourage papers on (but not limited to) topics such as:
- Representations of girls/girlhood in children’s and YA literature and film
- Intersectional approaches to the concept of girls’ literature and girlhood in children’s and YA literature and film
- Adaptations, revisions, and translations of “classic” girls’ books
- Girl-centric communities in children’s and YA literature and film
- LGBTQ+ approaches to the concept of girls within children’s and YA literature and film
- National and international perspectives on and definitions of girls and girlhood, as well as “girls’ literature” as a genre
- Norm-critical readings of children’s and YA literature and film
- Pedagogical approaches to girls/girlhood in children’s and YA literature and film
The conference language is English. Academic papers should be accessible to an international audience. Please see below for further information on e.g. paper submission, fees, travelling to Växjö etc.