The Queerly Magical Child
Featuring Rebekah Sheldon (Indiana University Bloomington)
In their field-making introduction to Curiouser: On the Queerness of Children, Steven Bruhm and Natasha Hurley argue that ideas about childhood innocence not only regulate children toward heternomative outcomes but also enable the queerness of children. “The figure of the child is not anti-queer at all,” they write. “Its queerness inheres instead in innocence run amok.”
Bruhm and Hurley read across canonical British and American novels to discover the figure of the queer child that grows laterally around that innocence. Continuing their line of inquiry, this project turns to the genre of young adult science fiction and fantasy. These genres have long forged an association between childhood and wonder, but rarely has the ostensible “magic” of childhood been approached theoretically. In this presentation, Sheldon reads the magical child as a queering of rationality through the trope of epistemological innocence.
Sheldon is associate professor of English at Indiana University Bloomington, where she teaches queer theory, childhood studies, and science fiction and fantasy studies. She is the author of The Child to Come: Life After the Human Catastrophe (U Minnesota 2016).
Everyone is welcome to attend.
Please RSVP by Monday, Feb. 24 to firstname.lastname@example.org.