Cfp: Short Forms and Adolescence – University of Angers, June 19-21, 2019

The concept of adolescence, which emerged in a 19th-century occidental context, has evolved towards the birth of “the teenage group as a specific age in life” (C. Cannard, 2012). Several research projects have dealt with the cultural landscape of adolescents (a broader term than “teenager”, both of which are worth exploring), yet the specific articulations of adolescence and short forms have mostly remained uncharted. Moreover, while academic research on short forms and childhood has been carried out, these forms have rarely been addressed in the context of young adulthood.

From the vantage point of various fields, including literature, visual arts, history, sociology and psychology, adolescents will be envisioned not only as consumers, producers and innovators of short forms, but also as objects of representation in a large corpus.
The conference sets out to explore whether specific links bind adolescence to short forms. Because of their density, especially by use of intersemiotic references, short forms echo the double constraint of the spoken and the unspoken that defines the in-betweenness of adolescence. The semantic and poetic compactness typical of the short form’s economy resonates with the questioning of adolescents seeking cognitive and emotional resources that provide both challenges and comfort. Finally, the short form is a laboratory for astounding experiments which potentially meet the creative needs of adolescents.

Abstracts may address the following aspects, among others:

  1. The poetics of the short form
  • Short forms in the adolescent group, both new and old (as some manifestations can be traced back to the Middle Ages).
  • Graffiti, traces on walls, inscriptions in penitentiaries, stand-up, happenings, rap, hip-hop, slam, slogans (May 1968), one-line poems, beat poetry.
  • Rock songs, poems and other counter-culture outputs aimed at a specific teenage audience since the 1950s.
  • Short story collections and cycles aimed at ─ or featuring as protagonists ─ teenagers (Joyce Carol Oats, Small Avalanches; Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women; James Joyce’s Dubliners; Rudyard Kipling, Mowgli Stories; John Steinbeck, The Red Pony, Nadine Gordimer, Jump).
  • Literary classics (Poe, Dickens, Shelley, Shakespeare, Wilde, Brontë) adapted for a teenage audience (Sarah K. Herz & Donald R. Gallo, From Hinton to Hamlet: Building Bridges Between Young Adult Literature and The Classics, 2005).
  • Multimodal outputs and adaptations (films, series, comics).
    The advent of new technologies (hyperliterature, blogs, tweets, etc.).
  1. Reception/production of short forms by teenagers
  • – Social networks and fan fiction, chronicles.
  • – Collaborative reception/production practices on the internet.
  • – The blurring of the frontier between reception and production by adolescents (see Convergence Culture. Where old and New Media Collide, 2006).
  • – Self-publication of literary short forms on line, self-production and diffusion of short films and songs, user-friendly tutorials enabling fast access to video games.
  • – The pedagogical and didactic use of short forms in teaching, especially languages: traditional short forms (morceaux choisis) as well as contemporary ones.
  1. Some thematic aspects
  • – Identity construction: identity might be assessed based on narrative, graphic, musical or theatrical productions. Among its dominant manifestations are traces of the quest for identity (inscriptions on a wall, journal, names and nicknames, pseudos, signatures by rappers, youtubers, graffiti artists).
  • – Metamorphosis and mutation: the physical, psychological and moral changes of adolescents are recurrent themes in literature and the arts. These changes include phases of initiation, transformation and coming of age (Margaret Atwood’s Moral Disorder, Eudora Welty’s The Golden Apples); the development of sexual, ethnic and political awareness (Sherwood Anderson’s I Want to Know Why; the TV series 13 Reasons Why); issues of integration/exclusion and marginality; the questioning of authority (Roberta S. Trite, Disturbing the Universe. Power and Repression in Adolescent Literature, 2012).
  • – Trauma: the expression and representation of trauma might be studied through various angles: psychological, historical, sociological, literary and artistic.

Authors from diverse backgrounds are invited to submit 300-word abstracts (in English or French) and brief 50-word biographies to Karima Thomas ( and François Hugonnier ( by January 31, 2019.

Guest speaker: Michael Cart (USA)

MICHAEL CART is a writer, lecturer, consultant, and an expert in Young Adult literature. In 2008, he became the first recipient of the YALSA/Greenwood Publishing Group Service to Young Adults Achievement Award, and in 2000, he received the Grolier Foundation Award for his contribution to the stimulation and guidance of reading by young people.

 Scientific committee :

Elke D’hoker (University of Leuven)

Emily Eells (University of Paris-Nanterre)

Margo Lanagan (Australian author)

Simonetta Valenti (University of Parma)

Martine Hennard Duteil de La Rochère (University of Lausanne)

Shannon Wells-Lassagne (University of Bourgogne)

Cécile Meynard (University of Angers)

Manuelle Peloille (University of Angers)

Raúl Caplán (University Grenoble-Alpes)

Emmanuel Vernadakis (University of Angers)

Anne-Laure Fortin-Tournès (University of Le Mans)

Eric Pierre (University of Angers)

Aubeline Vinay (University of Angers)

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