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Canon Conference

TübingenLogo der Universität SiegenThyssen

Canon Constitution and Canon Change in Children's Literature

International Conference at the University of Tübingen, Germany, 11-13 September 2014


Whereas children's classics and their adaptations and transformations into other media have been widely discussed, the history of canonization processes in children's literature in general and the development of a canonical theory of children's literature in particular still need further exploration. Althouth several scholars have already investigated how national canons of children's literature have developed, such historical approaches have mostly focused on aesthetic matters or on changing concepts of childhood. The impact of cultural concepts that are constitutive for the construction of cultural identities (so-called social imaginaries) on canon formation has, on the other hand, been widely neglected. The same applies to a transnational perspective on canon constitution, which transcends national boundaries and instead locates children's literature in a more comprehensive communicative space. Issues that might be investigated in this respect are the presentations of children's literature in literary histories, the historical contingency of the status of canonicity, the impact of social institutions and awards on the appreciation of certain types of children's literature, the possible reasons for excluding or including particular children's books from/into the canon, the conceptual shifts in the acknowledgement of children's literature in national canons, the influence of genre preferences for canon constitution and the perception of a canon of children's literature as a transnational phenomenon.