Friend or Fiend?
The Frankenstein Story in Children’s and Young Adult Culture
A Special Session of the Children’s and YA Literature and Culture Area of the Popular Culture Association
Sponsored by Frankenstein and the Fantastic, an outreach effort of the Fantastic (Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction) Area of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association
For the 2018 Annual Conference of the Popular Culture Association meeting in Indianapolis, Indiana, from 28-31 March 2018
Proposals no later than 1 October 2017
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein celebrates its 200th anniversary in 2018. It is a work that has permeated popular culture, appearing in versions found across the globe, in all known media, and for all age groups. However, many aspects of this tradition remain underexplored by scholars. One of these is how the story and its characters have manifested in children’s and young adult culture.
Like Frankensteiniana for older audiences, versions of the story for young audiences offer interesting and important approaches to the novel and its textual progeny, and they deserve to be better known and analyzed, especially since, for many, works designed for the young represent their first encounters with Frankenstein and its characters.
Criticism on these works remains limited; though a growing number of scholars (see the selected bibliography appended to this call) have begun to offer more in the way of critical analysis, as opposed to just seeing them as curiosities. It is our hope that this session will continue this trend and foster further discussion and debate on these texts
In this session, we seek proposals that explore representations of Frankenstein, its story, and/or its characters in children’s and young adult culture. We are especially interested in how the Creature is received in these works, especially by children and young adult characters, but other approaches (and comments on other characters) are also valid.
Please submit paper proposals (100 to 200 words) and a short biographic statement into the PCA Database by 1 October 2017. The site is accessible at https://conference.pcaaca.org/. Do include your university affiliation if you have one, your email address, your telephone number, and your audio-visual needs.
Upon submission, be sure, also, to send your details to the organizers (Michael A. Torregrossa, Fantastic [Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction] Area Chair, and Amie Doughty, Children’s and YA Literature and Culture Area Chair) at FrankensteinandtheFantastic@gmail.com, notifying them of your intentions to serve on the panel. Please use the subject “Frankenstein at PCA”.
Presentations at the conference will be limited to 15 to 20 minutes, depending on final panel size.
Do address any inquiries about the session to FrankensteinandtheFantastic@gmail.com.
Further details on the Frankenstein and the Fantastic project can be accessed at https://frankensteinandthefantastic.blogspot.com/.
Further details on the Children’s and YA Literature and Culture Area can be found at http://pcaaca.org/childrens-literature-culture/.
Additional Information to Note:
The Popular Culture Association does not allow submissions to multiple areas and limits presenters to one paper per conference. (Further information on these policies appears at http://pcaaca.org/national-conference/proposing-a-presentation-at-the-conference/rules-exceptions-for-presenting/.)
Accepted presenters must register AND be members of the Popular Culture Association or join for 2018. (Details can be found at http://pcaaca.org/national-conference/membership-and-registration/.)
The Popular Culture Association does offer a limited number of travel grants for the conference; nevertheless, potential presenters, when submitting their proposal, should be sure to have the necessary funds to attend the conference, as no shows are noted.
(please send details on additional references to FrankensteinandtheFantastic@gmail.com)
Coats, Karen, and Farran Norris Sands. “Growing Up Frankenstein: Adaptations for Young Readers.” The Cambridge Companion to Frankenstein, edited by Andrew Smith, Cambridge UP, 2016, pp. 241-55.
Hawley Erin. “The Bride and Her Afterlife: Female Frankenstein Monsters on Page and Screen.” Literature/Film Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 3, pp. 218-231.
- - -. “ ‘Children Should Play with Dead Things’: Transforming Frankenstein in Tim Burton’s Frankenweenie.” Refractory, vol. 26, October 2015. http://refractory.unimelb.edu.au/2015/10/07/hawley/
- - -. “Reimagining the Horror Genre in Children’s Animated Film.” M / C Journal, vol. 18, no. 6, 2015. http://journal.media-culture.org.au/index.php/mcjournal/article/view/1033
Hitchcock, Susan Tyler. Frankenstein: A Cultural History. W. W. Norton, 2007,
Jowett, Lorna, and Stacey Abbott. TV Horror: Investigating the Dark Side of the Small Screen. I. B. Tauris, 2013. (see especially “ ‘Show Us Your Fangs!’: Children’s Television,” pp. 26-30)
Michael A Torregrossa
Coordinator, Frankenstein and the Fantastic, an outreach effort of the Fantastic (Fantasy, Horror, and Science Fiction) Area of the Northeast Popular Culture/American Culture Association