The Colloquium for Children’s Literature (KLK) is an open networking platform whose aim is to foster academic exchange on Eastern European children’s and young adult literature and increase the visibility of research in this subject area. Since 2021, the Colloquium has provided a forum primarily for scholars from German-speaking Slavic Studies and other departments and institutions interested in Eastern Europe to discuss aspects of Eastern European children’s and young adult literature, present their research, collaborate on conferences, publications and other projects, and promote the integration of topics relating to children’s and young adult literature into research and curricula. The Colloquium’s meetings are held once per semester as online or hybrid events. The KLK is organised by ZOiS and the Slavic Institutes of the Universities of Halle and Heidelberg.
As young people’s attitudes and values are still being formed, the content, values and worldviews which we find in children’s and young adult literature are often those which societies regard as particularly relevant now and in future. At the same time, children’s and young adult literature, especially in unfree societies, may provide a space to explore alternatives to prevailing official narratives and aesthetics. Viewed from both a historical and a contemporary perspective, Eastern European children’s and youth cultures serve as a “cultural code” (Maria Nikolaeva) that offers scholars of literary and cultural studies insights into how communities view themselves. We find references to classical works of children’s literature and film not only in highbrow and popular culture but also in other fields such as the economy or politics. Children's literature and culture cannot be strictly separated from the adult world. Ultimately, children’s and young adult literature in Eastern Europe and its borderlands are a great aesthetic adventure, whose language and images reflect and perhaps even foreshadow cultural trends and open up frames of reference for other forms of artistic expression from comic books to cinema.
The next colloquium will be held on 15 December 2023.