4-6 May 2017
Children’s Media and the Poetics of Materiality, Universität Zürich, Zurich, Switzerland
“How to Read Harold: a Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson, and the Making of a Children’s Classic.” Keynote. Details TBA.
9 May 2017
University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England
“Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books.” Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge, May 9, 5-6:30 pm, room TBC.
10 May 2017
The Children’s Book as Material Object, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, England
“How to Read Harold: a Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson, and the Making of a Children’s Classic.” Keynote. 10:00 am, room G06.
30 May – 1 June 2017
Children’s Media and Literature in a Mediatized World, Centre for Children’s Literature, Aarhus University, Aarhus, Denmark
“The Unbearable Whiteness of Nostalgia: Technology, Racial Erasures, and William Joyce’s Fantastic Flying Books.” Keynote. Details TBA.
22-24 June 2017
Children’s Literature Association Conference, University of South Florida, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
“Imagining the Future of Keywords for Children’s Literature” (panel co-chair and co-organizer, with Lissa Paul), featuring panelists Zoe Jaques (“Posthuman”), Ebony Elizabeth Thomas (“Diversity”), Michelle Martin (“Diaspora”), and Naomi Hamer (“Media”).
29 July – August 2 2017
International Research Society for Children’s Literature, York University, Toronto, Canada
“The Impossibility of an International Keywords for Children’s Literature” (panel co-chair and co-organizer, with Lissa Paul), featuring panelists Victoria Ford Smith (“Adult”), Lies Wesseling (“Family”), Nicole Markotic (“Disability”), and Derritt Mason (“Trans”).
9-12 November 2017
American Studies Association, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
“Children of the World, Unite!: Respecting Difference and Building Community Through Books for Young People.” Paper on the panel “Against Nationalism: Children’s Literature and Pedagogies of Resistance,” which features papers by Brigitte Fielder, Lara Saguisag, and response from Mary Niall Mitchell.
4-7 January 2018
Modern Language Association, New York City, U.S.A.
“Calling Dumbledore’s Army: Activist Children’s Literature,” organizer and chair of panel featuring papers by Charlotte Appel & Nina Christensen, Brigitte Fielder, Angel Daniel Matos, Ika Willis. Here’s the run-down:
- “Agents of change: Pupils, parents, and publishers moving towards enlightenment in Denmark 1780-1850,” Charlotte Appel & Nina Christensen, University of Aarhus, Denmark
- “Guiding White Tears: Looking to Abolitionist Children’s Literature,” Brigitte Fielder, University of Wisconsin at Madison, USA
- “Brujas, Revolutionaries, and Warriors: The Emergence of Radical Queerness in Contemporary Youth Literature,” Angel Daniel Matos, San Diego State University, USA
- “Harry Potter and the Nazis: Myth, Text, Social Change,” Ika Willis, University of Wollongong, Australia
I had far more good abstracts than I did slots on the panel. So, apologies to all I had to turn down. (There were 36 submissions from a total of 9 countries, including the US, Norway, UK, Australia, Canada, Denmark, France, India, and Japan.) The panel description (below) offers the rationale for this particular configuration of ideas and experts.
Because books can encourage children to question rather than accept the world as it is, this session (sponsored by the Children’s Literature Forum) examines children’s literature as a vehicle for social change. How can we raise a new generation less susceptible to the follies that created our current predicament? To address that question, first, the panel offers historical and geographical breadth in both subject matter and country of scholars. In thinking about resistance today, we need to be thinking historically and internationally. Second, the panel covers key areas under attack by Trumpism and its various fascist affiliates: the Enlightenment project itself (Appel & Christensen, covering 18th and 19th century Denmark), the efforts to forge a multi-racial struggle against racism (Fielder, 19th century U.S.), the fight for LGBTQ rights (Matos), and the very possibility of resistance itself (Willis). Third, the order of panelists offers a roughly chronological progression through history and subject matter, concluding with Willis’s paper, not just because it questions the panel’s “Harry Potter” metaphor but also because it functions as a kind of meta-commentary on the panel itself.
7 January 2017
Modern Language Association Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
“Border Conflicts: Migration, Refugees, and Diaspora in Children’s Literature.” With Nina Christensen, co-organizer and co-chair of panel, featuring papers by Lee A. Talley, Carmen Nolte-Odhiambo, and Anastasia Ulanowicz. 1:45–3:00 p.m., Franklin 13, Philadelphia Marriott.
November 18, 2016
American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado
“Desegregating the Imagination: A Manifesto for Anti-Racist Children’s Literature.” Paper on the panel, “Home White Home: Childhood and the Racial Imagination,” featuring papers by Anna Mae Duane, Beth Marshall, Michelle Martin, and response from Lara Saguisag. 10:00 to 11:45am, Denver Convention Center, Level 3, Mineral Hall G.
“Where American Studies is at Home/not Home: Working in Different Disciplinary and Professional Contexts” (roundtable discussion). Panelist, with Nicole Hodges Persley, Mark Metzler Sawin, Stewart Varner, Patricia Sawin. 4:00 to 5:45 pm, Denver Convention Center, Level 3, Mineral Hall B.
July 25, 2016
Marantz Picturebook Research Symposium, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio
“How to Read Harold: Crockett Johnson, a Purple Crayon, and the Making of a Children’s Classic.” Keynote. 9:00am. University Library, room 330.
July 21, 2016
Comic-Con, San Diego, California
Official description: “Before Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, and Pogo, there was Barnaby. Crockett Johnson’s classic strip combined fantasy and satire, a child’s feeling of wonder and an adult’s wariness, with highly literate jokes and a keen eye for the ridiculous. Johnson’s biographer Philip Nel is joined by Eric Reynolds, co-editor of Fantagraphics’s Barnaby series, cartoonist Jeff Smith (Bone), and moderator Thomas Spurgeon (The Comics Reporter). They’ll talk about why the strip remains so influential and its place in the history of great American comics.” Click here for other Fantagraphics panels. Click here for full program schedule.
June 9-10, 2016
Children’s Literature Association Annual Conference, The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
“Animating Factors in Radical Children’s Literature.” I’m chairing this session, which features Kimberley Reynolds, Katharine Capshaw, Julia Mickenberg. (But all credit to the panelists for organizing it! I’m merely the chair.) 9 June 2016, 2 pm. Room: Judicial.
“Crockett Johnson’s Careful Satire: Barnaby Meets the Cold War, 1948-1949.” Part of a panel titled “Juxtaposed Ideologies in Deliberate Sequence: 20th-Century American Comics Get Political,” chaired by Charles Hatfield, and featuring fellow panelists Lara Saguisag and Susan Honeyman. 10 June 2016, 5:00 pm. Room: Judicial.
May 20, 2016
The Child and the Book Conference, University of Wroclaw, Wroclaw, Poland
“Drawing Lessons: Harold, a Purple Crayon, and Creative Play in Postwar America.” 4:10 pm. Faculty of Law, Administration and Economics, Building D, ul. Uniwersytecka 7/10. Room 2.04D.
May 17, 2016
University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
“Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: The Hidden Racism of Children’s Literature, and the Need for Diverse Books.” 8 pm. More information here.
March 15, 2016
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
“Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature.” S. Dillon Ripley Center, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. 6:45-8:45 pm. More information and tickets here.
January 8-9, 2016
Modern Language Association, Austin, TX
“Children’s Literature Scholarship and Its Publics” (panel chair and organizer). Discussion featuring Julie Walker Danielson, Marah Gubar, Don Tate, and Ebony Elizabeth Thomas. 8 January 2016, 12:00 noon-1:15 p.m.
“The Weird, the Wild, the Wonderful: A Cross-Cultural Look at Normality in Children’s Literature.” Paper, co-presented (and co-written) with Nina Christensen. On “Keep Children’s Literature Weird” panel organized by Karen Coats. 9 January 2016, 8:30-9:45 am.
October 11, 2015
American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Toronto, Ontario
“Hurricane Katrina, Racial Invisibility, and Fantastic Flying Books: The Aestheticization of Misery in William Joyce.” Paper on “Sad Children: Social Misery in the Real and Imagined Spaces of Childhood” panel, featuring papers by Natalia Cecire, Anna Mae Duane, and Beth Marshall, plus a response by Lucia Hodgson. 10 am.
August 11, 2015
Biennial Conference of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature, University of Worcester, UK
“Childhoods ‘outside the boundaries of imagination’: Race, Genre, and the Segregation of African American Children’s Literature.” Paper. 11:30 am.
August 6-7, 2015
Newcastle Children’s Literature Master Classes, Newcastle University, UK
As the announcement says, “In August 2015 the Children’s Literature Unit in the School of English at Newcastle University will be hosting a series of children’s literature Master Classes concentrated in two days. The classes will be led by a distinguished, international team of children’s literature scholars. The overall subject will be ‘The Future of the Subject’, with a particular focus on Archives.” The team includes me (obviously), Kim Reynolds, Kate Capshaw, Matthew Grenby, Kenneth Kidd, Bettina Kümmerling-Meibauer, Anja Müller, and others. Registration is free; lodging is not. For more details, click on the pdf. Deadline to apply is 31 May 2015.
July 15, 2015
Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC
“Dr. Seuss, American Icon: The Legacy of Theodor Seuss Geisel.” 6:45-8:45 pm. More information on this “Evening Program with Light Reception” can be found at the Smithsonian Associates’ page.
June 18-20, 2015
Children’s Literature Association Annual Conference, Richmond, VA
“Is This 2015 or 1965?: Structures of Racism in Children’s Literature” (paper). Panel features papers by Giselle Anatol, Melissa Hayes, and Jani Barker. 18 June, 11:00 am.
“Tales of Power and Independence: Liberating Legacies of Gianna Rodari, 1920-1980” (chair of panel). Panel features papers by Judith Plotz, Jack Zipes, Marina Balina, and Claudia Alborghetti. 20 June, 11:15 am.
March 10, 2015
Race & Children’s Literature Symposium, DePauw University, Greencastle, IN
“Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: Structures of Racism in Children’s Literature.” Keynote. 4:15 pm, Watson Forum.
Also, come and hear the great Michelle Martin’s talk, “From the Kitchen to the Edges: Hair Representations in African American Children’s Picture Books,” at 7:30 pm in Prindle Auditorium.
Both talks are free and open to the public!
Southwest Popular/American Culture Association Conference, Albuquerque, NM
Round table session on three SP/ACA Rollins Award Winners: my Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature, Kimberley Monteyne’s Hip Hop on Film: Performance Culture, Urban Space, and Genre Transformation in the 1980s, and Justin S. Vaughn and Lilly J. Goren’s Women and the White House: Gender, Popular Culture, and Presidential Politics. 9:45 am – 11:15 am, Sendero II.
I’m told there will be a book-signing afterwards.
November 9, 2014
American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Los Angeles, CA
“How to Read Uncomfortably: Affect, Power, and Resisting Racist Children’s Books.” 12:00 pm, Westin Bonaventure, San Gabriel C (L1).
September 26, 2014
Rowayton Historical Society, Rowayton, CT
“Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature.” 7:30 pm, Rowayton Community Center, 33 Highland Ave., Rowayton.
September 24, 2014
University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT
“Not So Simple: The Genius of Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon.” 4:00 pm, Co-op Bookstore at Storrs Center.
July 24-27, 2014
I’ll be at the Fantagraphics booth (#1718), signing Barnaby books (which I co-edited with Eric Reynolds). Currently available: Barnaby Volume One: 1942-1943 (2013) and Barnaby Volume Two: 1944-1945 (2014).
- Thursday, July 24, 4-6 pm: Don Rosa + Phil Nel + Trina Robbins (4-5 pm)
- Friday, July 25, 9 am-10 am: Phil Nel
- Sunday, July 27, 9:30-11 am: Paul Hornschemeier + Trina Robbins
Stop on by, even if it’s just to say hi!
July 2, 2014
Australasian Children’s Literature Association for Research, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia
“What We Talk About When We Talk About Race: Affect, Racism, and Classic Children’s Books” (paper). 11 a.m.
June 20-21, 2014
Children’s Literature Association Annual Conference, Columbia, SC
“Dreaming in Red: Russia and the Soviet Union in Anglo-American Children’s Literature, 1905-1945” (chair of panel, featuring panelists Julia Mickenberg, Kim Reynolds, and Jane Rosen). June 20, 11 a.m.
April 27, 2014
Academic Freedom and Responsibility in the Age of Social Media, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS
“Fighting for Freedom of Speech: The First Amendment Under Attack.” 3:30 pm, Alderson Auditorium, Kansas Union.
January 11, 2014
Modern Language Association. Chicago, IL
“Queer Youth: Sexuality and Adolescent Transformations” (panel chair; session organized by Kristen Proehl). Features a response from Sarah Sahn, and these 3 papers:
- “The Queer Case against Willa Cather’s Paul,” Adam Sonstegard, Cleveland State Univ.
- “Queer Sentiments: Tomboys and Familial Belonging in Carson McCullers’s The Member of the Wedding,” Kristen Proehl, State Univ. of New York, Brockport
- “When Queer Isn’t So Queer: The Absent Adolescent in the Work of David Levithan,” Kent Baxter, California State Univ., Northridge
12:00 noon, Chicago F, Chicago Marriott.
November 24, 2013
American Studies Association Annual Meeting. Washington, DC
“Laughing from the Left: Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby, and the Limits of Satire as a Means of Dissent” (paper, on panel “When Does Laughter Liberate?: Humor and Dissent in 20th-Century Popular Culture,” which features papers by Juniper Ellis, Gary Richards, and a response from Lori Brooks). 8:00 am, Washington Hilton / A – Albright.
October 24-25, 2013
“Not So Simple: The Genius of Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon” (invited talk). Oct. 24, 3:30 pm.
“Was the Cat in the Hat Black?: Seuss and Race in the 1950s” (seminar). Oct. 25, 12:00 pm.
October 21, 2013
New York Comics & Picture-story Symposium, Parsons School, New York, NY
“Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby: The Greatest Comic Strip You’ve Never Read” (invited talk). 8:00 pm, Parsons School (2 West 13th Street), in the Bark Room (off the lobby). Free and open to the public.
October 19, 2013
Bookfest @ Bank Street, Bank Street School of Education, New York, NY
“Ruth Krauss, Crockett Johnson, and Other Little Rebels: Philip Nel in conversation with Lindsey Wyckoff.” 9:35 am, Auditorium.
August 12-13, 2013
Biennial Conference of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature. Maastricht, Netherlands
“Whiteness, Nostalgia, and Fantastic Flying Books: The Disappearance of Race in William Joyce” (paper). 12 Aug. 2013.
“Keywords for Children’s Literature: A Roundtable Discussion”: panel session co-chaired with Lissa Paul, and featuring Nina Alonso, Nina Christensen, Francesca Orestano, Emer O’Sullivan. 13 Aug. 2013.
June 25, 2013
Visual/Verbal Texts Symposium. Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
“‘He came up thinking fast’; or, How does Crockett Johnson’s Harold and the Purple Crayon work” (invited).
June 14, 2013
“Manifesto for a Comics-Children’s Literature Alliance” (as part of a panel titled “Taking a Risk: Manifestos for Children’s Literature,” which also features manifestos from Robin Bernstein, Marah Gubar, and Karin Westman).
March 22, 2013
Washington University, St. Louis, MO
“Was the Cat in the Hat Black? Seuss and Race in the 1950s.”
March 18, 2013
College of Charleston, Charleston, SC
“Was the Cat in the Hat Black? Seuss and Race in the 1950s.”
November 16, 2012
American Studies Association Annual Meeting. San Juan, Puerto Rico
“Getting a Race-Lift: Whitewashing, Marketing, and Resistance in Children’s Literature” (as part of a panel session titled “Black, White, or Other?: Reading Race, Constructing Childhood in American Popular Culture”). 10:00 am, Puerto Rico Convention Center, 101A.
October 27, 2012
Children’s Literary Salon, New York Public Library, New York, NY
“Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature.” 2 p.m., Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium.
September 29, 2012
Children’s Literature and the European Avant-Garde, Linköpings University, Norrköping, Sweden
“Surrealism for Children: Paradoxes and Possibilities” (invited talk). 2 pm.
September 15, 2012
Small Press Expo, Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, Bethesda, MD
“Crockett Johnson’s Barnaby and the American Clear Line School” (panelist), with Daniel Clowes, Mark Newgarden, and Chris Ware. 12 pm, White Flint Auditorium.
“Comics as Children’s Literature” (moderator). Panel features Renée French, Françoise Mouly, Mark Newgarden, and Brian Ralph. 5 pm, White Flint Auditorium.
August 24, 2012
“Keywords for Children’s Literature: Mapping the Critical Moment” (keynote), with Lissa Paul.
June 14, 2012
Children’s Literature Association Annual Conference. Boston, MA
“Don’t Judge a Book by Its Color: Whitewashing, Race, and Resistance” (as part of a panel session, “Slipstreams of Race: Whiteness and Children’s Literature”).
March 26, 2012
Illinois State University, Normal, IL
“Crockett Johnson and Ruth Krauss: How an Unlikely Couple Found Love, Dodged the FBI, and Transformed Children’s Literature.” Lois Lenski Lecture. 7 p.m., 138 Schroeder Hall. Free and open to the public.
March 23, 2012
University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
“Harry Potter: A Cultural Biography.” 1:30 pm, 501 Cathedral of Learning.
January 7, 2012
Modern Language Association, Seattle, WA
“Not Genres, but Modes of Graphic Narrative: Comics and Picture Books” (as part of a panel session on “Why Comics Are and Are Not Picture Books”). 5:15 p.m., 303 Washington State Convention Center.
January 5, 2012
Modern Language Association, Seattle, WA
“Filling the Gaps: The Future of Keywords for Children’s Literature”: panel session co-chaired with Lissa Paul, and featuring Jack Zipes (on “Fairy Tale”), Karin Westman (on “Genre”), and Kelly Hager and Talia C. Schaffer (on “Family”). 1:45 p.m., 205 Washington State Convention Center.
November 11, 2011
Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
“Accidental Experts: Strategy, Serendipity, and the Places You’ll Go,” with Karin Westman. 2:10-3:45 p.m. Buttrick Hall 309.
October 26, 2011
Cambridge Festival of Ideas, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK
“Keywords for Children’s Literature,” with Lissa Paul. (Lissa will be there, physically; I’ll be participating via Skype.) 5:00-7:30 pm GMT. East Road, Lord Ashcroft Building, LAB 107.
October 23, 2011
American Studies Association, Baltimore, MD
“Re-Imagining America: Jeff Smith, Herman Melville, and American Dreamscapes,” co-presented with Jennifer A. Hughes (as part of a panel session on “Transforming Melville”), 8 a.m., Hilton Baltimore: Douglass.
July 5, 2011
International Research Society for Children’s Literature, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia
“Erasing Race to Keep Kids Safe?: The Ideological Effects of Bowdlerizing Children’s Literature” (second paper on panel session), 5 p.m., room Z306.
June 25, 2011
Children’s Literature Association Conference, Hollins University, Roanoke, VA
“Radical Children’s Literature Now!” (keynote), co-presented with Julia Mickenberg. 10 a.m., Babcock Auditorium, Dana.
November 20, 2010
American Studies Association, San Antonio, TX
“The Hope in the Joke: The Politics of Laughter in Dr. Seuss” (as part of a panel on “Laughing at Power: Subversive Humor in American Visual Culture”), 12:00 p.m., Grand Hyatt: Presidio C.
October 19, 2010
Young Harris College, Young Harris, GA
“Q&A,” 3:30 p.m., Wilson Lecture Hall.
“Harry Potter: A Cultural Biography,” 7 p.m., Wilson Lecture Hall.
October 11, 2010
Central Michigan University, Mount Pleasant, MI
“Dr. Seuss, American Icon: The Legacy of Theodor Seuss Geisel,” 7 p.m., Park Library Auditorium.