Saturday, April 04, 2015

CFP: The Child in Popular Culture

Copy+Pasted from the original posting sent out to the childhoods-net mailing list earlier today:

CFP:  The Child in Popular Culture

Red Feather Journal (, an open-access, peer-reviewed, international and interdisciplinary journal, has expanded its scope to include the child in all aspects of popular culture.  Red Feather Journal seeks well-written, critical articles for the Spring 2015 issue (deadline April 25, 2015) on any aspect of the child in popular culture.  Some suggested topics include: children in film, television, the Internet; children in popular literature or art; the child in gaming, cosplay or cons; children dan social media; childhood geography or material culture; or any other aspect of the child in popular culture.  

Red Feather Journal welcomes international submissions.

Submissions to Red Feather Journal are accepted on a rolling basis. Red Feather Journal is published twice a year. Authors are welcome to submit articles in either MLA, APA, or Chicago citations systems. Red Feather Journal is indexed through EBSCO host and MLA bibliography.

Interested contributors please submit the article, an abstract, and a brief biography (with full contact information) as attachments in Word to 

Deadline for submissions for the Spring 2015 issue is April 25th, 2015.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Let's Kickstart Riftworld Chronicles!

While I've been insanely busy these past five months caring for and getting to know my amazing new baby, my partner has had the additional pleasure (and challenge) of creating a new web series, The Riftworld Chronicles. Based on his short film, The Portal, they shot the first season in December and are now hard at work on post-production. Since this is a sci-fi/fantasy/comedy, there are visual effects a plenty to add in at this stage, among various other expensive things they'd love to do...and so they've launched a Kickstarter Campaign to try to make this new show wow and awe (and hopefully get picked up for a second season, or even as a network series).

While not STRICTLY children's media and games related (which is otherwise the primary theme of this here blog), the series plans include all kinds of awesome, future transmedia intertextuality ventures and tie-ins; including comics and digital content, and perhaps even a game or two along the way. It's also a project that's - obviously - very near and dear to my heart.

And yes - it DOES star Tahmoh Penikett (Supernatural, Battlestar Galactica) and Erin Karpluk (of Being Erica), who just so happen to be two of my favourite actors.

Anyhow, if you like wizards, cross-dimensional travel, witty nerd humour and strong female protagonists, please check out the campaign and consider pitching in. Most importantly, if you like what you see, be sure to spread the word far and wide. There are only a couple of weeks left before the Kickstarter deadline, and the series still needs a big push in interest if it's going to reach its goal.

Here's a link to the Riftworld Kickstarter Campaign page, now with new, even more awesome funding incentives. Enjoy!

Monday, October 27, 2014

CFP for next year's CCA conference is live, deadline Dec. 12

Cut + paste and abridged from the original, as posted to the CCA mailing list last week:

Call for Papers
Canadian Communication Association (CCA) Annual Conference 2015
June 3, 4, 5 2015.
University of Ottawa,
Ottawa, Ontario

“Capital Ideas” is the theme of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS) 2015 Congress within which the Canadian Communication Association (CCA) will hold its Annual Conference, June 3-5 at the University of Ottawa, Ontario ( We are calling for proposals that explore, critique and extend this theme as well as for proposals on any other themes relevant to Communication Studies.
We invite scholars and professionals to submit proposals that develop the range and depth of scholarship in communication studies. Proposals may take the form of:

Deadline for Submission of Proposals

  • Single-paper presentations – Regular stream: December 12, 2014
  • Panels (maximum of 4 papers): December 12, 2014
  • Roundtables or Workshops: December 12, 2014
  • Single-paper presentations – Graduate Master’s Sessions (Optional for Master’s students only): December 12, 2014. NOTE: Deadline for Submission of Completed Papers (Graduate Master's Sessions ONLY): May 1, 2015

In order to facilitate discussion and debate about the changing university and the realities of precarious employment at universities in general (part-time, Contract Academic Staff, adjunct, limited term, etc.) and in Communication Studies in particular, we encourage submission of proposals for panels, individual papers, or roundtables on this topic.

Submission Details
In order to present a paper at the conference, you must be a member of the Canadian Communication Association. Membership dues must be paid by March 2nd 2015 in order to be included in the final program. If you are not already a member and wish to join the CCA, please visit the Membership section of the CCA website (

Proposals can be submitted online at or


Important Deadlines
Submission of proposals: December 12, 2014

Beaverbrook Media@McGill Student Paper Prize:  April 1, 2015
Nominated papers should be sent electronically (.pdf format) to Prof. Penelope Ironstone, CCA President ( Title page must indicate paper’s title, the author’s name, contact info, university affiliation, and degree status.

Gertrude J. Robinson Book Prize: March 2, 2015
Nominations should be sent electronically to Prof. Penelope Ironstone, CCA President (, and must indicate the book’s title, author, publisher, date of publication and author’s complete affiliation and contact information.

[NOTE from SMG: Additional, detailed info and submission guidelines can be found in the original CFP, and on the conference website(s) listed above.]

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Configuring the Child Player: New Article Out, Online First, in Science, Technology & Human Values Journal

I am super excited to announce that I have a new article appearing in an upcoming issue of Science, Technology & Human Values journal, entitled "Configuring the Child Player." In the meantime, the article has already been published on the journal's website through the publisher's "Online First" program. Subscription to the journal, publisher or database is required to access the article in full, but anyone can view the abstract here (which I've also reproduced in full below :).

I'm extremely pleased and honoured to have had one of my articles accepted in STHV - it's a journal that I regularly read and have enormous respect for, and it's widely considered to be THE journal for science & technology studies (STS) research and theoretical contributions, which is particularly important for this piece (which engages very directly with STS theories).

Scholars from various disciplines have explored the powerful symbolic function that children occupy within public discourses of technology, but less attention has been paid to the role this plays in the social shaping of the technologies themselves. Virtual worlds present a unique site for studying how ideas about children become embedded in the artifacts adults make for them. This article argues that children’s virtual worlds are fundamentally negotiated spaces in which broader aspirations and anxieties about children’s relationships with play, technology, consumer culture, and the public sphere resurface as “configurations” of an imagined, ideal child player. The article begins with a brief overview of the children's virtual worlds phenomenon, followed by a discussion of related research on children’s play and play technologies. Findings from a case study of six commercial, game-themed virtual worlds targeted specifically to children are then presented, with a focus on how these artifacts configure their child players in highly ideological and normative ways, wherein play is narrowly defined in accordance with a neoromantic, consumerist ethos. The article aims to uncover the hidden politics inscribed within a particular genre of children’s technology and to explore some of the implications for children’s digital play.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Game Curious? The Hand Eye Society + Toronto Reference Library Has Just the Program for You!

Mostly Cut+Paste from the original announcement: This September, the second run of GAME CURIOUS will take place at the Toronto Reference Library, featuring another lively mix of presentation, group discussion, socializing and of course PLAY! 

While the program is open to just about anyone, it is especially aimed at self-described non-gamers or people who want to learn more about the medium but aren't sure where to start. There will also be a 6-week game-making component for select participants following the main program. Here are the details:

Saturdays 1-3 PM
Sept 13 - Oct 18 2014 (6 weeks)
Toronto Reference Library
(Browsery, Main Floor)
789 Yonge St. (Bloor-Yonge subway station)
Recommended for ages 16+
FREE! Drop-ins welcome.
GAME CURIOUS is a 6-week program exploring the untapped art of video games, for people who don’t necessarily identify as “gamers”. It’s a no-pressure learning environment of discussion, discovery and play, with the opportunity to connect with local storytellers who love the medium. While the direction of the program will be participant-driven, games to be played and discussed will include everything from classics such as Mario and Zelda, to independent games about relationships, queer identity, political satire, work, life, and more. The program also aims to promote diversity within gaming culture by encouraging participants from a variety of backgrounds to engage with games in a way that is personally relevant to their own lives. All are welcome to apply, whether you’re an artist, an activist, a parent, or haven’t picked up a controller in years. It’s like a book club… with buttons

Monday, August 18, 2014

CFP Alert: Society for the History of Children and Youth

Cut and paste from the Childhood Studies mailing list, the CFP for next year's Society for the History of Children and Youth Conference, which will be held in beautiful Vancouver, BC (in June, no less!). Note that the deadline for paper proposals is September 15, and panel proposals are due October 1.

CFP: Society for the History of Children and Youth SHCY Eighth Biennial Conference*Date*: June 24-26th, 2015*Location: *University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada Description: “Relationality and the global circulation of children’s literature and culture” We invite papers for a prospective panel that explores the global circulation of children’s literature and concepts of childhood, particularly along paths determined by the processes of history and imperialization and colonization. The historical importance of children and children’s literature in the colonial context cannot be denied. Children are the future of the nation, and thus, what children read, and what is written for them, becomes an important part of the nation building process. And when artifacts of children’s culture travel across geographical spaces they create relationships between people, places, and ideas that shape children’s relationships with themselves and the world. The literature imported to and produced within the colonies has a direct influence on not only the subjectivity of the colonial child, but also, on the concept of childhood within the colonized nation. For instance, Enid Blyton, whose works are immensely popular in India and African countries, has provided images of play and companionship which have affected the worlds of hundreds of children living far away from the English culture and countryside described in her books. In turn, the presence of the colonies and images traveling back from the colonies affects the literature written for children, as well as the worlds and professions for which children are reared. Historical research into the circulation of children’s literature will expand our understanding of the wider network of relationships between geographical spaces as well as children’s relationships with the modern world. Possible topics include: --Circulation of children’s books within a colonial or imperial context--The role of children’s literature or culture in the colonization process--Colonial children’s texts that respond to children’s literature of the colonizing nation--The development of ideas about childhood within a global/colonial context--Depictions of colonization and/or globalization in children’s literature and culture--Relationality as a theme in colonial or imperial children’s texts 
If you’re interested in being a part of such a panel, please send a 250-word paper proposal by September 15 to Courtney Weikle-Mills ( and Sreemoyee Dasgupta ( A complete panel proposal will be submitted to SHCY for consideration on October 1.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Survey for Kids (& Parents) Who Make Things with Games

The survey for my Playing at Making project is now live and we need everyone's help in getting the word out and ensuring we receive a sufficient number of responses. I've included the ad above (we also have one aimed directly to kids), and Copy+Pasted the text from our project website below. 

Basically, we're looking to get the survey out to kids aged 12 years and under who create content in/using digital games, anything from a Minecraft server, to costumes in Stardoll, to mini-games in Scratch or LittleBigPlanet. Details below - any questions can be directed to me. 

Thank you all!


Do you have a CREATIVE child? Does your child like to BUILD THINGS? Do they like VIDEO GAMES? If so, we’d like to hear from you! We’re surveying children who like to play creative games (and their parents/guardians). From Minecraft to Little Big Planet and everything in between, we want to know more about what kids are creating and making while they play today’s popular video games. We want to know more about how kids make things with video games, and why video games are so important to kids’ creativity and play. And we need your help!
If you think that your child (or a child you know) might fall into this category, please let them know about our survey. The survey itself only takes about 20 minutes to complete, and all of the answers we collect will be kept anonymous. We’ll also be sharing our results with the public once the survey is done, so if you’re interested in finding out more about kids and game-making, be sure to keep an eye on this space in the coming months.
Please click here to take the survey, which includes a section for children and one for parents.
Additional Info and Next Steps:
While we’re encouraging everyone to complete the survey asap, it will remain open for most of Fall 2014. That said, if necessary, we will keep it running a bit longer to ensure that we’ve collected a large enough sample to do some rigorous analysis and draw compelling conclusions.
But the study itself will continue on after the survey (Stage 1) is complete. During Stage 2, we want to look at some game creations made by actual kids! Instructions on how to participate in Stage 2 are included at the end of the survey. But if your child has made something in a game that they’d like to share, and you’d like to find out more about this phase of our research, you can also email us via the Contact Page!
Also, be sure to send us an email if you and your kids would like to be invited to future Playing at Making workshops and learning events, or if you have any questions or concerns about the survey or any other aspect of the project.
Please note: This study is being conducted out of Faculty of Information’s Semaphore Lab at the University of Toronto. It has been reviewed by the University of Toronto Research Ethics Boards (REB).
Creative Commons License
Gamine Expedition by Sara Grimes is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.