CFP: Cultural Diversity in Children’s and Youth Literature – Translation and Reception

Faculty of Modern Languages UAM Poznan
Department of Slavonic Studies at Christian Albrechts University in Kiel
January 10-11, 2019
Stichtag: 2018 09 01

Children’s and youth literature is increasingly becoming an object of literary, cultural, and translation studies. The present conference, organized by The Young Readers’ Literature Research Team at Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań and the Department of Slavonic Studies at Christian Albrecht University in Kiel, is dedicated to intercultural processes in translation and the problem of reception of young readers’ literature. The concept of cultural diversity which we want to address in the context of current trends in this kind of literature will be the main subject of consideration.

As evidenced by O’Sullivan (2000), the mere fact of the existence of an international market for young readers’ literature does not automatically lead to intercultural encounters between nations. Does the global market still allow for diversity and authentic cultural exchange? This question should be addressed especially in the context of translation and reception of books for children and teenagers.

In the first place, it would be interesting to find out how this type of literature makes it possible to “tame” foreignness, i.e. to what extent it introduces young people to the experience of otherness. The issue to consider here should be the way the reader’s own culture as well as foreign culture are presented with their both stable and changeable elements, as it is in translation that cultural differences concerning, for example, childhood memories, are so noticeable. It is important to remember that asymmetries in the traditions depicted in young readers’ literature can lead to the creation of barriers or deficiencies in its reception. On the other hand, common trends in traditions can complement and enrich one another.

It is worth mentioning that the same texts read in another country can contribute there to filling reception gaps especially if the readers’ needs have not been met by native literature. Translated texts could also reinforce or eliminate reception barriers that have their origins in distinctive values. In this way, children’s and youth literature constitutes a complex system (Ewers), whose integral parts are its translation and reception mechanisms. In the face of the ongoing process of blurring the boundary between translation and adaptation, it seems justified to incorporate translation and reception in a common methodological framework with translation as an aspect of reception and intertextuality (see Koppenfels 1985).

Taking into account a child’s natural desire to experience otherness is becoming an increasingly common practice of ethnocentric translation. According to Venuti (1995), homogeneity, i.e. eliminating cultural diversity, is the result of employing domestication strategies in translation, which often cross the border of adaptation. These days they are imposed by integrating children’s literature with other media, e.g. film. Since translation of literary texts is increasingly linked to blockbuster movies satisfying the needs of the global market, it seems valid to consider whether cultural multiplicity is still possible in global hyperculture. Could translation and other aspects of reception become a negotiation platform for cultural differences or, due to the powerful influence of the media, should we reconsider the concept of translation as cultural transfer?

The aim of the conference is to discuss the multiple implications of the above problems. Both theoretical approaches as well as case studies in a variety of media formats (short stories, picture stories, comics, graphic novels, film adaptations) will be covered. Although the starting point for the discussion will be transcultural processes within the framework of German-Polish transfer, contributions to other language pairs are also welcome.

Suggested topics, aspects, approaches, and themes:

  • new translations of children’s and youth literature,
  • translation series,
  • cultural aspects of making the canon,
  • a book for children as a way of experiencing otherness,
  • cultural aspects of comics and graphic novels translation,
  • barriers in reception,
  • translation strategies,
  • taboo subjects in realistic literature for children and teenagers,
  • fantasy books for children and teenagers in Poland and Germany and their impact on each other.

Apart from the areas of research suggested above, papers on the theory of young readers’ literature are also welcome.

The official conference languages are German, Polish, and English. A presentation should not exceed the time limit of 20 minutes, with an extra 10 minutes for discussion.

Confirmed keynote speakers: Prof. Dr. Brigitte Schultze, Prof. Dr. Hans-Heino Ewers.

The deadline for submissions of paper proposals in the area of translation, literary and media studies as well as comic book research is 1 September 2018. Notification of acceptance will be delivered by mid-September 2018. An abstract of no longer than 400 words along with biodata (200 words) and contact details should be sent to: Prof. Dr. Michael Düring (, Dr. Anna Fimiak-Chwiłkowska ( The conference fee of 400 PLN (100 Euro) includes conference materials, coffee break snacks, dinner on the first day, and printing of conference papers. Please note that we are unable to share your travel and accommodation costs.

We are looking forward to receiving your submissions!

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