Childhoods of Color an interdisciplinary conference
The Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture (http://www.wiscprintdigital.org/) is pleased to issue this call for paper and panel submissions to our 2019 conference, “Childhoods of Color,” exploring the various ways children of color interact with and are represented in print and digital media.
Approximately half of school-aged children in the United States today are not white. This fact is not reflected by representations of children in print and digital culture. UW-Madison’s Cooperative Children’s Books Center (which has tracked data on race and children’s book publishing since 1985) shows that African American, Latinx, Native American, and Asian American characters have been continually unrepresented in the children’s literature industry. Children’s Literature scholar Philip Nel shows a similar trend in visual representations of characters of color, in the example of young adult fantasy and science fiction novels whose covers illustrations whitewash nonwhite characters, replacing them with white or ambiguously-raced figures. While replacing an earlier trend of racist representations of people of color in children’s books, this sort of whitewashing amounts to a more insidious form of literary segregation. Similarly, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop’s report on Diverse Families and Media argues that “educational media are not being designed and vetted with all families in mind.” Employing principals similar to those of the Children’s Television Workshop’s founders, the report traces research on families’ media use to make suggestions as to how media designers might better serve families of color, low-income families, and language-minority families.