“Enchanted Places”, Imagined Childhoods: A Symposium on Children’s Literature and Psychoanalysis

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“Enchanted Places”, Imagined Childhoods: A Symposium on Children’s Literature and Psychoanalysis
Collaboration Liaison Committee of the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia and the University of Pennsylvania
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Featured Author: Jerry Spinelli
Saturday, September 20, 2014, University of Pennsylvania

In a blend of gritty realism and casual magic, Spinelli locates his stories in the places where ordinary children live–old cities, dreary suburbs and school classrooms–then enchants these places with transcendent language and characters who radiate courage and bold eccentricity. His stories confront difficult and conflictual themes like poverty, homelessness and urban race relations, as well as mourning and social ostracism, but they do so without sentimentality. Spinelli’s characters are never victims, but are tough survivors and often moral and spiritual heroes in his and their imagined worlds.

It is a challenge to psychoanalytic theory and practice to acknowledge the “enchanting”role of language on a day to day basis as we practice our “talking cure,” as well as to go beyond our normative developmental narratives in order to account for the survivors, the exceptions, and the morally courageous characters who have emerged from difficult environmental circumstances to transform their own lives and the lives of others in the process. This symposium will provide an opportunity for explorations of language, of “enchantment” in psychoanalysis and literature; of the reciprocal acts of imagination between author and reader involved in creating works of children’s literature; and, the possibilities for transformation of the painful realities of ordinary childhood in both psychoanalysis and literature. It will provide a forum for Jerry Spinelli’s work, for the work of other authors, as well as for works of theoretical, clinical and literary interest. Academics, psychoanalysts, graduate students and psychoanalytic candidates are encouraged to submit original papers on any aspects of the above.

Guidelines for submission:
Completed drafts only: 8-10 pp. No abstracts or proposals.
Names and identifying information on separate cover sheet only.
Deadline: February 15, 2014
Send papers to Elaine Zickler, PhD, at

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