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Irena Barbara Kalla

Irena Barbara Kalla

Roundtable title: Children’s Literature and Culture Scholarship in/of the Anthropocene: Towards New Bonds and Crossovers 

Discussants: Marnie Campagnaro, Macarena García-González, Irena Barbara Kalla, Suzanne van der Beek, Aliona Yarova

Abstract: Over the last twenty years, children’s literature and culture studies has developed a strong orientation towards ecocriticism, ecopedagogy, ecopoetics, animal and plant studies, posthumanism, and new materialism (see e.g. Dobrin and Kidd 2004, Gaard 2008, Echterling 2016; Goga et al. 2018; García-González, Deszcz-Tryhubczak 2020; Oziewicz and Saguisag 2021, Yarova 2021, Campagnaro and Goga 2022, Duckworth and Guanio-Uluru 2022, van der Beek and Lehmann 2022). In this roundtable, a group of international scholars following these approaches in their work on children’s culture share reflections on the field’s current and forthcoming engagements with the Anthropocene (see e.g. Oziewicz et al. 2022) and with the scientific, pedagogical, cultural, and socio-political debates around it. Some of the issues we intend to address include:

– the emergence of the concept of the Anthropocene as radically changing how we think of and research childhood, children, and children’s culture

– children’s culture creators’ responses to the Anthropocene

– practices of learning about the Anthropocene with and from children

– challenges of teaching about the Anthropocene to students of children’s culture, including developing students’ ecoliteracy and fostering their environmental activism

– pressures of the researcher’s/educator’s obligation to propagate hope for a better, post-Anthropocene future (Braidotti 2019).

We believe that this exchange of questions and insights will encourage both ourselves and the audience to consider children’s literature and culture scholarship as an important contribution to interdisciplinary conversations about the Anthropocene. This roundtable is convened under the aegis of the Erasmus Mundus International Master: Children’s Literature, Media & Culture.

Bio: Irena Barbara Kalla is an Associate Professor, head of Dutch Studies, and coordinator of The Centre for Research on Children’s and Young Adult Literature at the Faculty of Letters, University of Wrocław, Poland. She has published on Dutch and Flemish literature, including Huisbeelden in de moderne Nederlandstalige poëzie (2012). She also co-edited Minoes, Minnie, Minu en andere katse streken (2017, with Jan Van Coillie), On the Fringes of Literature and Digital Media Culture. Perspectives from Eastern and Western Europe (2018, with Patrycja Poniatowska and Dorota Michułka), and Rulers of Literary Playgrounds: Politics of Intergenerational Play in Children’s Literature and Children’s Literature and Intergenerational Relationships: Encounters of the Playful Kind (2021, with Justyna Deszcz-Tryhubczak). She is Chief Editor of the series Lage Landen Studies (15 volumes, published by Academia Press Ghent, Belgium) and member of Editorial Committees of the journals Filoteknos: Literatura dziecięca – mediacja kulturowa – antropologia dzieciństwa / Children’s Literature – Cultural Mediation – Anthropology of Childhood, Neerlandica Wratislaviensia, and Spiegel der Letteren. In 2022, she was elected an honorary member of the Royal Academy of Dutch Language and Literature in Belgium/Flanders, where she serves as chair of the jury for Children’s and Young People’s Literature Prize.