Exploring Adolescent Identities through YA Literature
ALAN Breakout Session Proposal Form
Baltimore, MD, November 2019
My, Steve’s, first serious exposure to Young Adult Literature was in a class with a focus on Race, Class, and Gender in 2004. I continue to think about how these words provide a lens through which we can think about the books we teach, analyze, and offer students. However, they don’t feel as complete as they used to. As I embrace the “WeNeedDiverseBooks movement, I often wonder if latching on to a specific label restricts us. Race is different than Ethnicity. Class and its traditional descriptors: poor, middle class, and wealthy often depend on who is defining it and from whose vantage point it is perceived. Gender is different from Sexuality and people from different generations often struggle as we try to talk about it or try to understand different terms. This theme asks us to explore and embrace adolescent identity in an open format that might also include belief systems and social networks. The theme allows authors to define their characters as they will and one that finds us open to understanding identities as they are presented. How do awards exclude or include identities? How do we find identities and their classifying terminologies listed on Goodreads, on Amazon, or in our own syllabi? How do we address the issue frankly?
At the 2019 ALAN workshop, we will celebrate adolescent literature that explores adolescent identities in all their variety and as authors and adolescent express them.
We welcome breakout sessions that will spark conversation and explore identities as they are presented in young adult literature. Proposals may address, but are not limited to, the following questions:
- How do authors express identify in the books they write?
- How do we, as professionals, frame discussions of identity in our syllabus
- How are adolescents expressing their identities? Are books only about them or where can we or do we find their voices?
- How does YA lit take on traditional identity terms—race, class, and gender while it embrace others—ethnicity, religious labels, or the LGBTQ spectrum?
- Breakout sessions will be 50 minutes in length.
- All applicants must be members of ALAN (Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the National Council of Teachers of English). You can join or renew your membership at this page.
- Electronic submissions are due no later than midnight (CST) on Friday, January 28, 2019 and should be sent to: stevewithALAN@gmail.com.
- Proposals submitted by mail should be postmarked by Wednesday, January 23, 2018 and sent to: Steven T Bickmore, 4505 S. Maryland Parkway, Box 453005, Las Vegas, NV 89154-3005.
You can download an electronic version of the form using the button below: