Peter E. Cumming

Department of Humanities

Professor Emeritus
Past Coordinator, Children's Studies Program

Office
Phone: 519-483-8801
Emailcummingp@yorku.ca
Primary websitePeter Cumming, Academic
Secondary websitePeter Cumming, Children's Author and Playwright

Professor Peter Cumming's work--in theatre, creative writing, and elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education--focuses on children and youth. His academic research focuses on children's and young adult literature and culture; contemporary Canadian fiction; picturebooks; masculinities in contemporary literature; digital culture; and First Nations writing in English (he worked for six years in Inuit communities in Nunavut). Peter is Past President of the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP).

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Much of Professor Peter Cumming's work, in various fields, has focused on children and youth. He has been an actor, director, and playwright in theatre for young audiences. He has taught and been an educational consultant in elementary and secondary schools. He has written award-winning books and plays, variously translated into French, German, Danish, Welsh, and Japanese, for children and young people. He has frequently presented writing workshops for young writers.

His academic research is in several areas: children's and young adult literature and culture; picture books; contemporary Canadian fiction; constructions of masculinities in contemporary writing; digital culture; and First Nations writing in English (he worked for six years in Inuit communities in Nunavut). He brings all of these varied experiences and interests to his current position as Associate Professor in the Children's Studies Program in the Department of Humanities in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies at York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

He is Past President of the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP), an association promoting "the study of and research in young peoples’ cultures and texts, in Canada and internationally, across a range of disciplines." He was co-convenor of the Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL) at York University, Toronto, Canada, in Summer 2017: several hundred members from more than 40 countries took part in this conference, "Possible and Impossible Children: Intersections of Children's Literature and Childhood Studies." From 2017-19, Peter is Treasurer & Membership Secretary of IRSCL.

Area of Specialization

Children's and Young Adult Literature and Culture

Degrees

PhD in English , The University of Western Ontario
MA in English, University of Guelph
Diploma in Education , McGill University
BA in English, Wilfrid Laurier University

Professional Leadership

Treasurer & Membership Secretary, International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL), 2017-19

Co-Convenor, Congress 2017, International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL)

Coordinator, Children's Studies Program, 2011 to 2016

Member, Editorial Board, Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature, 2011 to present

Past President, Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP - arcyp.ca)


Research Interests

Children and Youth , Canadian Studies , Children's and Young Adult Literature, Canadian Literature--Contemporary Canadian Fiction, Masculinities in Literature, First Nations Literatures in English, Digital Culture , New Media and Digital Culture

Selected Publications

“‘Another Children’s Literature’: Writing by Children and Youth,” a special issue of Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature (International Board on Books for Young People), Volume 55, Number 2, 2017. Peter E. Cumming, guest editor, with Björn Sundmark, Malmö University, Sweden.

"Fixing Stories 'Is Sure a Lot of Work': Watching 'the Men's Dance' in Medicine River and Green Grass, Running Water." Making It Like a Man: Canadian Masculinities in Practice. Ed. Christine Ramsay. Waterloo: WLU Press, 2011. 171-84.

Current Research Projects

"Youth and Community Development in Canada and Jamaica: A Transnational Approach to Youth Violence" ("Project Groundings")

Summary: 
Principal Investigator - Andrea Davis


Project Type: Funded
Role: Co-Investigator

Selected Publications

“‘Another Children’s Literature’: Writing by Children and Youth,” a special issue of Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature (International Board on Books for Young People), Volume 55, Number 2, 2017. Peter E. Cumming, guest editor, with Björn Sundmark, Malmö University, Sweden.

"Fixing Stories 'Is Sure a Lot of Work': Watching 'the Men's Dance' in Medicine River and Green Grass, Running Water." Making It Like a Man: Canadian Masculinities in Practice. Ed. Christine Ramsay. Waterloo: WLU Press, 2011. 171-84.

All Publications

Books

A Horse Called Farmer. Picture book. Translated into French, German, Welsh, Danish. First Prize, Children’s Fiction, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. “Our Choice” Award. Charlottetown, PEI: Ragweed Press, 1984. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 1988. Toronto: Prentice-Hall, 1998. Selected as part of Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network’s “The Identity of English-speaking Quebec in 100 Objects,” March 13, 2013: http://100objects.qahn.org/content/horse-called-farmer-childrens-book-1984 .

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay. Toronto: Annick P, 1994.

Book Chapters

"Fixing Stories 'Is Sure a Lot of Work': Watching 'the Men's Dance' in Medicine River and Green Grass, Running Water." Making It Like a Man: Canadian Masculinities in Practice. Ed. Christine Ramsay. Waterloo: WLU Press, 2011. 171-84.

''The Cigar Was Essential': The Circulation of Power in Roald Dahl’s Matilda.' The Politics and the Political in Books for Children and Young Adults. Ed. Laurie Ousley. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. 87-108.

'Digital 'Reception': Hearing 'Stereo' in Matilda through Children’s Web-Based Reader Response.' Computing in the Humanities Working Papers. Ed. Alan Galey and Patrick Finn. The Networked Citizen: New Contributions of the Digital Humanities, January 2007. http://www2.arts.ubc.ca/chwp/CHC2005/Cumming/Cumming.htm

'When Men Have Babies: The Good Father in A Good Baby.' White Gloves of the Doorman: The Works of Leon Rooke. Ed. Gorjup and Branko. Toronto: Exile Editions, 2004. 252-68.

“‘The Only Dirty Word’: The Rape of April Raintree.” Critical Edition of In Search of April Raintree, by Beatrice Culleton Mosionier. Ed. Cheryl Suzack. Winnipeg: Portage & Main P, 1999. 307-22.

Journal Articles

'What Children’s Writing? Read by Whom, How, and To What Ends?' Canadian Children’s Literature / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse 34.1 (Spring 2008): 106-115.

'Queer (and Not So Queer) Childhoods.' Canadian Children’s Literature / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse 32.2 (2006): 165-83.

“‘The Prick and Its Vagaries’: Men, Reading, Kroetsch.” The George Wicken Prize in Canadian Literature for 1994. Essays on Canadian Writing 55 (June 1995): 115-39.

Conference Proceedings

"Through Memory, Past, Present, Future: The Challenge of Young People Reading In Search of April Raintree,", The Child and the Book Conference, “Time, Space and Memory in Literature for Children and Young Adults” National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, 10-12 April, 2014 [refereed].

“‘Here’s to Holy Fathers’: From the Law of the Father to the Love of a Father in Michael Ondaatje’s Writing.” Re-Constructing the Fragments of Michael Ondaatje’s Works: La diversité déconstruite et reconstruite de l’oeuvre d Michael Ondaatje. Ed. Jean-Michel Lacroix. Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 1999. 41-62.

“Metaphor, Metonymy, and ‘Metaphoric Narration’ in Elizabeth Hay’s Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York.” Diverse Landscapes: Re-Reading Place across Cultures in Contemporary Canadian Writing. Selected Proceedings of the Inter-National Regions Conference. Eds. Karin Beeler and Dee Horne. Prince George, BC: U of Northern British Columbia P, 1996. 100-119.

Conference Papers

“Children in Love: Representations of Romance in Children’s Literature and Film, Creating Childhoods, 22nd Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL), University of Worcester, UK, 8-12 August, 2015. [refereed]

“Implied Readers in Margaret Atwood’s Children’s Books,” Margaret Atwood’s Children, Margaret Atwood Society, Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2015, University of Ottawa, May-June 2015. [refereed]

“Through Memory, Past, Present, Future: The Challenge of Young People Reading In Search of April Raintree,” Time, Space and Memory in Literature for Children and Young Adults, The Child and the Book Conference, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, 10-12 April 2014. [refereed]

“Representations of ‘Sexting’ in Contemporary Fiction For and About Youth,” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), Congress 2013, University of Victoria, 1-4 June 2013. [refereed]

“Multimodal Munsch: Picturebooks as Performance,” Children’s Literature and Media Cultures, 21st Biennial Congress of International Research Society for Children’s Literature, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 10-14 August 2013. [refereed]

“Multimodal Munsch: Picturebooks as Performance,” Children’s Literature and Media Cultures, 21st Biennial Congress of International Research Society for Children’s Literature, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 10-14 August 2013.

“‘Cognitive Dissonance’ as Subject of and Narrative Strategy in I Am the Cheese,” presented as part of a panel, “Cognitive Dissonance and Interstitial Interactions in Children’s and Young Adult Texts,” at Literary Slipstreams, 39th Annual Children’s Literature Association Conference, Boston, June 2012. [refereed]

"Adolescent Endings: Hope and Lies in Contemporary, Canadian Young Adult Novels," Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), Congress 2010, Concordia University, Montreal, May 2010. [refereed]

“Theories of Homelessness: Cultural Walls Between Implied Readers of and Street Teens in Theories of Relativity,” Children’s Literature and Cultural Diversity in the Past and the Present, 19th Biennial Congress of International Research Society for Children’s Literature, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 8-12 August 2009.

"The Elephants in the Room: Dismantling Biology, Psychology, and Education to Make Humanities Children’s Studies Possible,“ Part of "The Children's Table: Childhood Studies in the Humanities, A Roundtable," Children at Risk/Children Taking Risks: Historical Inquiries in International Perspective, Society for the History of Children and Youth, University of California at Berkeley, July 2009 .

“Children’s Rights, Children’s Voices, Children’s Technology, Children’s Sexuality.” Proposal for “Roundtable: Youth, Sexuality, Technology,” a joint session between the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP) and the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), Congress 2009, Ottawa, May 2009.

Cumming, Peter. "What Can Slumdog Millionaire Tell Us About 'Children's Studies'? What Can 'Children's Studies' Tell Us About Slumdog Millionaire?" at Million Dollar Questions and Answers: Slumdog Millionaire Roundtable, Association of Research in Cultures of Young People, University of Winnipeg, November 2009.

Cumming, Peter. "What Can Slumdog Millionaire Tell Us About 'Children's Studies'? What Can 'Children's Studies' Tell Us About Slumdog Millionaire?" at Million Dollar Questions and Answers: Slumdog Millionaire Roundtable, Association of Research in Cultures of Young People, University of Winnipeg, November 2009.

“Generation X as Children’s Literature: Douglas Coupland and the Construction of ‘Adultescents,’” Shifting Borders of Childhood, Youth, and Adulthood, Joint Session of Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP) and the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), Congress 2008, University of British Columbia, June 2008. [refereed]

“The ‘Play’ of Immigration: Canadian Multicultural Theatre in 1981 and 2008.” Proposed for Celebrating Pluralism: Honouring the Work of F. Graeme Chalmers. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, May 2008. [refereed]

“From ‘For and About’ to ‘By and For’: The Shifting Power of ‘Story’ in Queer Young Adult Anthologies.” Power and Children’s Literature: Past, Present and Future: the18th Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature. Kyoto, August 2007. [refereed]

“Reading Children Reading: Decolonizing Childhood Through the Voices of Child Experts.” In panel “De-Colonizing Childhood, Empowering Children: The Children's Studies Program at York University.” Anniversaries, Histories, and Colonialisms: 34th Annual Children’s Literature Association Conference. Virginia, June 2007. [refereed]

“It’s Quiz (and Reading, Attendance, Survey, and Review) Time!” TEL@York 2007. Toronto, April 2007. [refereed]

“‘Transforming Imposed Constraints into Risky Opportunities’: An Adultly Search for Childist Readings.” Transformations: 33rd Annual Children’s Literature Association Conference. Los Angeles, June 2006. [refereed]

“Necessity is the Mother of the Virtual Lecture.” TEL@York 2006. Toronto, April 2006. [refereed]

“Parents, Geniuses, Pilots, Prophets, and Meddling Teachers: False Families and Compulsory Childhood in The Maestro.” Expectations and Experiences: Children, Childhood and Children’s Literature: 17th Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature. Dublin, August 2005. [refereed]

“‘I Am a Middle-Aged Playwright Trying to Look Hip’: Nostalgia, Angst, and the Impossibility of Adult Theatre for Adolescents.” In panel “Containment, Resistance, and Empowerment: The Shaping of Contemporary Children’s Culture.” Children’s Worlds / Children in the World: Society for the History of Children and Youth. Milwaukee, August 2005. [refereed]

“Digital ‘Reception’: Hearing ‘Stereo’ through Children’s Web-Based Reader Response.” The Networked Citizen: New Contributions of the Digital Humanities: Consortium for Computers in the Humanities. Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences Congress 2005. The University of Western Ontario, May 2005. [refereed]

“The Carnival of Farts in Children's Literature: Comic Subversion or Adult (Lack of) Containment?” Laughing Matters: Comedy and Society 2005. University of Portsmouth, UK, April 2005. [refereed]

“‘The Cigar Was Essential’: The Circulation of Power in Roald Dahl’s Matilda.” Off to See the Wizard: Quests for Memory and Culture in Children's Literature. Monroe Community College, Rochester, New York, March 2005. [refereed]

“Students Say the Darndest Things: Pedagogical Benefits—and Costs—of Asynchronous Online Communication.” In Professional Concerns Committee Panel on “The Effects of New Educational Technology on Student Learning and Faculty Workload.” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. Dalhousie University, Halifax, May 2003. [refereed]

“Cultural Stereo: Rereading Ballantyne’s Ungava Through Pitseolak’s People from Our Side.” Telling Stories, Writing Histories, Shaping Identities. Pacific Rim Literary Conference, University of Alaska Anchorage, February 1999. [refereed]

“Places Close to Ellesmere and Other Home Movies.” Multimedia reading of long poem (Finalist, Canadian Literary Awards, 1998). Telling Stories, Writing Histories, Shaping Identities, Pacific Rim Literary Conference, University of Alaska Anchorage, February 1999.

“‘Intercourse with the Natives’: Scottish-Inuit Encounter in ‘The Place of Translation.’” Culture, Community, Identity: Interdisciplinary Investigations. Graduate Student Conference. The University of Western Ontario, January 1998. [refereed]

“Places Close to Ellesmere and Other Home Movies.” Multimedia poetry reading. Culture, Community, Identity: Interdisciplinary Investigations. Graduate Student Conference. The University of Western Ontario, January 1998.

“From the Law of the Father to the Love of a Father in Michael Ondaatje’s Poetry and Fiction” at the Michael Ondaatje Symposium, Centre d’Études Canadiennes, Université de Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France, November 1997. [refereed]

“‘His Other History’: Reading the ‘Male’ in Contemporary Canadian Poetry.” Poetry and History. University of Stirling, Scotland, June 1996. [refereed]

“Virtual English: Multimedia Technologies and Literature Teaching.” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, May 1996. [refereed]

“‘Intercourse with the Natives’: Scottish-Inuit Encounter in ‘The Place of Translation.’” Boundaries. University of Edinburgh, May 1996. [refereed]

“Visual Bakhtin, Derrida Interactive, and Virtual English: A Practical Exploration of Multimedia Technologies and Literature Teaching.” Colloquium Series: Department of English, University of Western Ontario. London, Ontario, January 1996.

“Metaphor, Metonymy, and ‘Metaphoric Narration’ in Elizabeth Hay’s Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York.” Inter-National Regions: Contemporary Writing in English Produced in Canada. University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, October 1994. [refereed]

“The ‘Gude Mon’ and the ‘Little Pink Man’: Utopian Masculinities in Letters of a Woman Homesteader.” Literature Producing Masculinities: Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. University of Calgary, June 1994. [refereed]

“The Emperor Has No / New / No New Clothes: The Man in The Studhorse Man.” Colloquium Series: Department of English, University of Western Ontario. London, Ontario, February 1994.

“When Men Have Babies: ‘Re-visioning’ American Manhood in Leon Rooke’s A Good Baby.” Engendering America: Canadian Association for American Studies, Halifax, October 1993. [refereed]

Book Reviews

“Where West Meets North.” Rev. of . Essays on Canadian Writing 61 (1997): 174-78.

“‘Dry Bones’ and ‘Fictional Flesh’: A Structuralist Reading of Margaret Laurence.” Rev. of The Crafting of Chaos: Narrative Structure in Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel and The Diviners, by Hildegard Kuester. Essays on Canadian Writing 58 (1996): 65-70.

“Pocahontas: The ‘Emptiness Inside.’” Film review. Canadian Children’s Literature 83 (1996): 142-43.

“Existence and Life.” Book review of Shelby by Pete McCormack and Invisible Man at the Window by Monique Proulx. Canadian Literature 150 (1996): 132-34.

“Diamonds and Shit.” Book review of Leonard Cohen: A Life in Art by Ira Nadel and Take This Waltz: A Celebration of Leonard Cohen ed. by Michael Fournier and Ken Norris. Canadian Literature 150 (1996): 134-36.

“Missing Gold in Muppet Treasure Island.” Film review. Canadian Children’s Literature 82 (1996): 111-12.

“‘Lovers in a Dangerous Time.’” Book review of Cerberus by Rai Berzins and Sweetheart by Peter McGehee. Canadian Literature 147 (Winter 1995): 147-48.

Policy Papers

“Drop Everything and Read All Over: Literacy and Loving It.” The Horn Book (November 1997): 714-17.

“‘Virtual English’: Multimedia Presentation in Literature Teaching.” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. ACCUTE Newsletter (September 1996): 13-18.

“‘Virtual English’: Multimedia Presentation in Literature Teaching.” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. ACCUTE Newsletter (September 1996): 13-18.

Creative Works

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay. Picture book. Translated into Japanese (2002). Winner of Tiny Torgi Award for Best Canadian Children’s PrintBraille book, 1995. Shortlisted for Mr. Christie’s Book Award. “Notable Book,” Canadian Library Association. “Our Choice” Award. Special 10th anniversary edition (2004). Toronto: Annick P, 1994, 2004.

“Places Close to Ellesmere” Long poem. Finalist, Canadian Literary Awards, 1998.

A Horse Called Farmer. Picture book. Translated into French, German, Welsh, Danish. First Prize, Children’s Fiction, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. “Our Choice” Award. Charlottetown, PEI: Ragweed Press, 1984. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 1988. Toronto: Prentice-Hall, 1998. 2013 - chosen for The Identity of English-Speaking Quebec in 100 Objects: http://100objects.qahn.org/content/horse-called-farmer-childrens-book-1984 .

Ti-Jean. Bilingual play for children. Toronto: Playwrights Union of Canada, 1983. In TYA 5: Theatre for Young Audience. Eds. Mira Frielander and Wayne Fairhead. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 1998.

“Who Can Guess How What We Read Will Weave Its Way Through the Rest of Our Lives?” Everybody’s Favourites: Canadians Talk about Books that Changed Their Lives. Ed. Arlene Perly Rae. Toronto: Viking, 1997. 108-10.

Mogul and Me. Children’s novel. Shortlisted for Geoffrey Bilson Historical Fiction Award. “Our Choice” Award. Charlottetown, PEI: Ragweed P, 1989. Toronto: Prentice-Hall, 1997.

Snowdreams. Bilingual play for young adults. Winner of Canada Festival Playwriting Competition, Toronto Board of Education, 1981. Toronto: Playwrights Union of Canada, 1982. In Cues and Entrances. 2nd ed. Ed. Henry Biessel. Toronto: Gage Educational, 1993.

Journalism and fiction in various periodicals: Atlantic Advocate, Between the Issues, Horn Book, University of Windsor Review, JAM, Essays on Canadian Writing, Cape Breton Times, Atlantic Provinces Book Review, Rural Delivery, Southender, Writers' News, and Chickadee. Contributing editor of Quill & Quire (1982-84); other articles, 1986, 1989, 1991.

“Elizabeth’s Signs.” Adult short story. First Prize, Adult Short Fiction, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. Audio Stage, CBC Radio, 1983. University of Windsor Review, 1987. 68-74.

“Song of Radiation.” Poem. Pottersfield Portfolio, 1985-86. Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry, 1986-88.

“This is Our Child / This is Your Patient,” a poem-essay about terminally ill children that has been published in the Netherlands, Britain, Australia, and the United States, including Spanish and slide-sound presentations. 1984.

An Eachdraidh air Flambois (The Story of Framboise). Local history. Framboise, N.S.: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 1984.

The Night Before, play, produced by Mulgrave Road Co-op Theatre Company, 1981.

Other

“‘Another Children’s Literature’: Writing by Children and Youth,” a special issue of Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature (International Board on Books for Young People), Volume 55, Number 2, 2017. Peter E. Cumming, guest editor, with Björn Sundmark, Malmö University, Sweden.

Approach To Teaching

Peter Cumming has taught university courses in children's and young adult literature, children's, childhood, and youth studies, fantasy, theatre, Canadian Literature, aboriginal literatures, digital Culture, professional writing, and creative writing.


Professor Peter Cumming's work--in theatre, creative writing, and elementary, secondary, and postsecondary education--focuses on children and youth. His academic research focuses on children's and young adult literature and culture; contemporary Canadian fiction; picturebooks; masculinities in contemporary literature; digital culture; and First Nations writing in English (he worked for six years in Inuit communities in Nunavut). Peter is Past President of the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP).


Much of Professor Peter Cumming's work, in various fields, has focused on children and youth. He has been an actor, director, and playwright in theatre for young audiences. He has taught and been an educational consultant in elementary and secondary schools. He has written award-winning books and plays, variously translated into French, German, Danish, Welsh, and Japanese, for children and young people. He has frequently presented writing workshops for young writers.

His academic research is in several areas: children's and young adult literature and culture; picture books; contemporary Canadian fiction; constructions of masculinities in contemporary writing; digital culture; and First Nations writing in English (he worked for six years in Inuit communities in Nunavut). He brings all of these varied experiences and interests to his current position as Associate Professor in the Children's Studies Program in the Department of Humanities in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies at York University, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

He is Past President of the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP), an association promoting "the study of and research in young peoples’ cultures and texts, in Canada and internationally, across a range of disciplines." He was co-convenor of the Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL) at York University, Toronto, Canada, in Summer 2017: several hundred members from more than 40 countries took part in this conference, "Possible and Impossible Children: Intersections of Children's Literature and Childhood Studies." From 2017-19, Peter is Treasurer & Membership Secretary of IRSCL.

Area of Specialization

Children's and Young Adult Literature and Culture

Degrees

PhD in English , The University of Western Ontario
MA in English, University of Guelph
Diploma in Education , McGill University
BA in English, Wilfrid Laurier University

Professional Leadership

Treasurer & Membership Secretary, International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL), 2017-19

Co-Convenor, Congress 2017, International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL)

Coordinator, Children's Studies Program, 2011 to 2016

Member, Editorial Board, Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature, 2011 to present

Past President, Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP - arcyp.ca)

Research Interests:

Children and Youth , Canadian Studies , Children's and Young Adult Literature, Canadian Literature--Contemporary Canadian Fiction, Masculinities in Literature, First Nations Literatures in English, Digital Culture , New Media and Digital Culture

Current Research Projects

"Youth and Community Development in Canada and Jamaica: A Transnational Approach to Youth Violence" ("Project Groundings")

Summary: 
Principal Investigator - Andrea Davis


Project Type: Funded
Role: Co-Investigator

All Publications

Books

A Horse Called Farmer. Picture book. Translated into French, German, Welsh, Danish. First Prize, Children’s Fiction, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. “Our Choice” Award. Charlottetown, PEI: Ragweed Press, 1984. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 1988. Toronto: Prentice-Hall, 1998. Selected as part of Quebec Anglophone Heritage Network’s “The Identity of English-speaking Quebec in 100 Objects,” March 13, 2013: http://100objects.qahn.org/content/horse-called-farmer-childrens-book-1984 .

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay. Toronto: Annick P, 1994.

Book Chapters

"Fixing Stories 'Is Sure a Lot of Work': Watching 'the Men's Dance' in Medicine River and Green Grass, Running Water." Making It Like a Man: Canadian Masculinities in Practice. Ed. Christine Ramsay. Waterloo: WLU Press, 2011. 171-84.

''The Cigar Was Essential': The Circulation of Power in Roald Dahl’s Matilda.' The Politics and the Political in Books for Children and Young Adults. Ed. Laurie Ousley. Newcastle upon Tyne, UK: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2007. 87-108.

'Digital 'Reception': Hearing 'Stereo' in Matilda through Children’s Web-Based Reader Response.' Computing in the Humanities Working Papers. Ed. Alan Galey and Patrick Finn. The Networked Citizen: New Contributions of the Digital Humanities, January 2007. http://www2.arts.ubc.ca/chwp/CHC2005/Cumming/Cumming.htm

'When Men Have Babies: The Good Father in A Good Baby.' White Gloves of the Doorman: The Works of Leon Rooke. Ed. Gorjup and Branko. Toronto: Exile Editions, 2004. 252-68.

“‘The Only Dirty Word’: The Rape of April Raintree.” Critical Edition of In Search of April Raintree, by Beatrice Culleton Mosionier. Ed. Cheryl Suzack. Winnipeg: Portage & Main P, 1999. 307-22.

Journal Articles

'What Children’s Writing? Read by Whom, How, and To What Ends?' Canadian Children’s Literature / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse 34.1 (Spring 2008): 106-115.

'Queer (and Not So Queer) Childhoods.' Canadian Children’s Literature / Littérature canadienne pour la jeunesse 32.2 (2006): 165-83.

“‘The Prick and Its Vagaries’: Men, Reading, Kroetsch.” The George Wicken Prize in Canadian Literature for 1994. Essays on Canadian Writing 55 (June 1995): 115-39.

Conference Proceedings

"Through Memory, Past, Present, Future: The Challenge of Young People Reading In Search of April Raintree,", The Child and the Book Conference, “Time, Space and Memory in Literature for Children and Young Adults” National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, 10-12 April, 2014 [refereed].

“‘Here’s to Holy Fathers’: From the Law of the Father to the Love of a Father in Michael Ondaatje’s Writing.” Re-Constructing the Fragments of Michael Ondaatje’s Works: La diversité déconstruite et reconstruite de l’oeuvre d Michael Ondaatje. Ed. Jean-Michel Lacroix. Paris: Presses de la Sorbonne Nouvelle, 1999. 41-62.

“Metaphor, Metonymy, and ‘Metaphoric Narration’ in Elizabeth Hay’s Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York.” Diverse Landscapes: Re-Reading Place across Cultures in Contemporary Canadian Writing. Selected Proceedings of the Inter-National Regions Conference. Eds. Karin Beeler and Dee Horne. Prince George, BC: U of Northern British Columbia P, 1996. 100-119.

Conference Papers

“Children in Love: Representations of Romance in Children’s Literature and Film, Creating Childhoods, 22nd Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature (IRSCL), University of Worcester, UK, 8-12 August, 2015. [refereed]

“Implied Readers in Margaret Atwood’s Children’s Books,” Margaret Atwood’s Children, Margaret Atwood Society, Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences 2015, University of Ottawa, May-June 2015. [refereed]

“Through Memory, Past, Present, Future: The Challenge of Young People Reading In Search of April Raintree,” Time, Space and Memory in Literature for Children and Young Adults, The Child and the Book Conference, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Greece, 10-12 April 2014. [refereed]

“Representations of ‘Sexting’ in Contemporary Fiction For and About Youth,” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), Congress 2013, University of Victoria, 1-4 June 2013. [refereed]

“Multimodal Munsch: Picturebooks as Performance,” Children’s Literature and Media Cultures, 21st Biennial Congress of International Research Society for Children’s Literature, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 10-14 August 2013. [refereed]

“Multimodal Munsch: Picturebooks as Performance,” Children’s Literature and Media Cultures, 21st Biennial Congress of International Research Society for Children’s Literature, Maastricht University, Maastricht, The Netherlands, 10-14 August 2013.

“‘Cognitive Dissonance’ as Subject of and Narrative Strategy in I Am the Cheese,” presented as part of a panel, “Cognitive Dissonance and Interstitial Interactions in Children’s and Young Adult Texts,” at Literary Slipstreams, 39th Annual Children’s Literature Association Conference, Boston, June 2012. [refereed]

"Adolescent Endings: Hope and Lies in Contemporary, Canadian Young Adult Novels," Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), Congress 2010, Concordia University, Montreal, May 2010. [refereed]

“Theories of Homelessness: Cultural Walls Between Implied Readers of and Street Teens in Theories of Relativity,” Children’s Literature and Cultural Diversity in the Past and the Present, 19th Biennial Congress of International Research Society for Children’s Literature, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany, 8-12 August 2009.

"The Elephants in the Room: Dismantling Biology, Psychology, and Education to Make Humanities Children’s Studies Possible,“ Part of "The Children's Table: Childhood Studies in the Humanities, A Roundtable," Children at Risk/Children Taking Risks: Historical Inquiries in International Perspective, Society for the History of Children and Youth, University of California at Berkeley, July 2009 .

“Children’s Rights, Children’s Voices, Children’s Technology, Children’s Sexuality.” Proposal for “Roundtable: Youth, Sexuality, Technology,” a joint session between the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP) and the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), Congress 2009, Ottawa, May 2009.

Cumming, Peter. "What Can Slumdog Millionaire Tell Us About 'Children's Studies'? What Can 'Children's Studies' Tell Us About Slumdog Millionaire?" at Million Dollar Questions and Answers: Slumdog Millionaire Roundtable, Association of Research in Cultures of Young People, University of Winnipeg, November 2009.

Cumming, Peter. "What Can Slumdog Millionaire Tell Us About 'Children's Studies'? What Can 'Children's Studies' Tell Us About Slumdog Millionaire?" at Million Dollar Questions and Answers: Slumdog Millionaire Roundtable, Association of Research in Cultures of Young People, University of Winnipeg, November 2009.

“Generation X as Children’s Literature: Douglas Coupland and the Construction of ‘Adultescents,’” Shifting Borders of Childhood, Youth, and Adulthood, Joint Session of Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP) and the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE), Congress 2008, University of British Columbia, June 2008. [refereed]

“The ‘Play’ of Immigration: Canadian Multicultural Theatre in 1981 and 2008.” Proposed for Celebrating Pluralism: Honouring the Work of F. Graeme Chalmers. University of British Columbia, Vancouver, May 2008. [refereed]

“From ‘For and About’ to ‘By and For’: The Shifting Power of ‘Story’ in Queer Young Adult Anthologies.” Power and Children’s Literature: Past, Present and Future: the18th Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature. Kyoto, August 2007. [refereed]

“Reading Children Reading: Decolonizing Childhood Through the Voices of Child Experts.” In panel “De-Colonizing Childhood, Empowering Children: The Children's Studies Program at York University.” Anniversaries, Histories, and Colonialisms: 34th Annual Children’s Literature Association Conference. Virginia, June 2007. [refereed]

“It’s Quiz (and Reading, Attendance, Survey, and Review) Time!” TEL@York 2007. Toronto, April 2007. [refereed]

“‘Transforming Imposed Constraints into Risky Opportunities’: An Adultly Search for Childist Readings.” Transformations: 33rd Annual Children’s Literature Association Conference. Los Angeles, June 2006. [refereed]

“Necessity is the Mother of the Virtual Lecture.” TEL@York 2006. Toronto, April 2006. [refereed]

“Parents, Geniuses, Pilots, Prophets, and Meddling Teachers: False Families and Compulsory Childhood in The Maestro.” Expectations and Experiences: Children, Childhood and Children’s Literature: 17th Biennial Congress of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature. Dublin, August 2005. [refereed]

“‘I Am a Middle-Aged Playwright Trying to Look Hip’: Nostalgia, Angst, and the Impossibility of Adult Theatre for Adolescents.” In panel “Containment, Resistance, and Empowerment: The Shaping of Contemporary Children’s Culture.” Children’s Worlds / Children in the World: Society for the History of Children and Youth. Milwaukee, August 2005. [refereed]

“Digital ‘Reception’: Hearing ‘Stereo’ through Children’s Web-Based Reader Response.” The Networked Citizen: New Contributions of the Digital Humanities: Consortium for Computers in the Humanities. Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences Congress 2005. The University of Western Ontario, May 2005. [refereed]

“The Carnival of Farts in Children's Literature: Comic Subversion or Adult (Lack of) Containment?” Laughing Matters: Comedy and Society 2005. University of Portsmouth, UK, April 2005. [refereed]

“‘The Cigar Was Essential’: The Circulation of Power in Roald Dahl’s Matilda.” Off to See the Wizard: Quests for Memory and Culture in Children's Literature. Monroe Community College, Rochester, New York, March 2005. [refereed]

“Students Say the Darndest Things: Pedagogical Benefits—and Costs—of Asynchronous Online Communication.” In Professional Concerns Committee Panel on “The Effects of New Educational Technology on Student Learning and Faculty Workload.” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. Dalhousie University, Halifax, May 2003. [refereed]

“Cultural Stereo: Rereading Ballantyne’s Ungava Through Pitseolak’s People from Our Side.” Telling Stories, Writing Histories, Shaping Identities. Pacific Rim Literary Conference, University of Alaska Anchorage, February 1999. [refereed]

“Places Close to Ellesmere and Other Home Movies.” Multimedia reading of long poem (Finalist, Canadian Literary Awards, 1998). Telling Stories, Writing Histories, Shaping Identities, Pacific Rim Literary Conference, University of Alaska Anchorage, February 1999.

“‘Intercourse with the Natives’: Scottish-Inuit Encounter in ‘The Place of Translation.’” Culture, Community, Identity: Interdisciplinary Investigations. Graduate Student Conference. The University of Western Ontario, January 1998. [refereed]

“Places Close to Ellesmere and Other Home Movies.” Multimedia poetry reading. Culture, Community, Identity: Interdisciplinary Investigations. Graduate Student Conference. The University of Western Ontario, January 1998.

“From the Law of the Father to the Love of a Father in Michael Ondaatje’s Poetry and Fiction” at the Michael Ondaatje Symposium, Centre d’Études Canadiennes, Université de Paris III - Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris, France, November 1997. [refereed]

“‘His Other History’: Reading the ‘Male’ in Contemporary Canadian Poetry.” Poetry and History. University of Stirling, Scotland, June 1996. [refereed]

“Virtual English: Multimedia Technologies and Literature Teaching.” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, May 1996. [refereed]

“‘Intercourse with the Natives’: Scottish-Inuit Encounter in ‘The Place of Translation.’” Boundaries. University of Edinburgh, May 1996. [refereed]

“Visual Bakhtin, Derrida Interactive, and Virtual English: A Practical Exploration of Multimedia Technologies and Literature Teaching.” Colloquium Series: Department of English, University of Western Ontario. London, Ontario, January 1996.

“Metaphor, Metonymy, and ‘Metaphoric Narration’ in Elizabeth Hay’s Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York.” Inter-National Regions: Contemporary Writing in English Produced in Canada. University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, October 1994. [refereed]

“The ‘Gude Mon’ and the ‘Little Pink Man’: Utopian Masculinities in Letters of a Woman Homesteader.” Literature Producing Masculinities: Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. University of Calgary, June 1994. [refereed]

“The Emperor Has No / New / No New Clothes: The Man in The Studhorse Man.” Colloquium Series: Department of English, University of Western Ontario. London, Ontario, February 1994.

“When Men Have Babies: ‘Re-visioning’ American Manhood in Leon Rooke’s A Good Baby.” Engendering America: Canadian Association for American Studies, Halifax, October 1993. [refereed]

Book Reviews

“Where West Meets North.” Rev. of . Essays on Canadian Writing 61 (1997): 174-78.

“‘Dry Bones’ and ‘Fictional Flesh’: A Structuralist Reading of Margaret Laurence.” Rev. of The Crafting of Chaos: Narrative Structure in Margaret Laurence’s The Stone Angel and The Diviners, by Hildegard Kuester. Essays on Canadian Writing 58 (1996): 65-70.

“Pocahontas: The ‘Emptiness Inside.’” Film review. Canadian Children’s Literature 83 (1996): 142-43.

“Existence and Life.” Book review of Shelby by Pete McCormack and Invisible Man at the Window by Monique Proulx. Canadian Literature 150 (1996): 132-34.

“Diamonds and Shit.” Book review of Leonard Cohen: A Life in Art by Ira Nadel and Take This Waltz: A Celebration of Leonard Cohen ed. by Michael Fournier and Ken Norris. Canadian Literature 150 (1996): 134-36.

“Missing Gold in Muppet Treasure Island.” Film review. Canadian Children’s Literature 82 (1996): 111-12.

“‘Lovers in a Dangerous Time.’” Book review of Cerberus by Rai Berzins and Sweetheart by Peter McGehee. Canadian Literature 147 (Winter 1995): 147-48.

Policy Papers

“Drop Everything and Read All Over: Literacy and Loving It.” The Horn Book (November 1997): 714-17.

“‘Virtual English’: Multimedia Presentation in Literature Teaching.” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. ACCUTE Newsletter (September 1996): 13-18.

“‘Virtual English’: Multimedia Presentation in Literature Teaching.” Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English. ACCUTE Newsletter (September 1996): 13-18.

Creative Works

Out on the Ice in the Middle of the Bay. Picture book. Translated into Japanese (2002). Winner of Tiny Torgi Award for Best Canadian Children’s PrintBraille book, 1995. Shortlisted for Mr. Christie’s Book Award. “Notable Book,” Canadian Library Association. “Our Choice” Award. Special 10th anniversary edition (2004). Toronto: Annick P, 1994, 2004.

“Places Close to Ellesmere” Long poem. Finalist, Canadian Literary Awards, 1998.

A Horse Called Farmer. Picture book. Translated into French, German, Welsh, Danish. First Prize, Children’s Fiction, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. “Our Choice” Award. Charlottetown, PEI: Ragweed Press, 1984. Toronto: Scholastic Canada, 1988. Toronto: Prentice-Hall, 1998. 2013 - chosen for The Identity of English-Speaking Quebec in 100 Objects: http://100objects.qahn.org/content/horse-called-farmer-childrens-book-1984 .

Ti-Jean. Bilingual play for children. Toronto: Playwrights Union of Canada, 1983. In TYA 5: Theatre for Young Audience. Eds. Mira Frielander and Wayne Fairhead. Toronto: Playwrights Canada Press, 1998.

“Who Can Guess How What We Read Will Weave Its Way Through the Rest of Our Lives?” Everybody’s Favourites: Canadians Talk about Books that Changed Their Lives. Ed. Arlene Perly Rae. Toronto: Viking, 1997. 108-10.

Mogul and Me. Children’s novel. Shortlisted for Geoffrey Bilson Historical Fiction Award. “Our Choice” Award. Charlottetown, PEI: Ragweed P, 1989. Toronto: Prentice-Hall, 1997.

Snowdreams. Bilingual play for young adults. Winner of Canada Festival Playwriting Competition, Toronto Board of Education, 1981. Toronto: Playwrights Union of Canada, 1982. In Cues and Entrances. 2nd ed. Ed. Henry Biessel. Toronto: Gage Educational, 1993.

Journalism and fiction in various periodicals: Atlantic Advocate, Between the Issues, Horn Book, University of Windsor Review, JAM, Essays on Canadian Writing, Cape Breton Times, Atlantic Provinces Book Review, Rural Delivery, Southender, Writers' News, and Chickadee. Contributing editor of Quill & Quire (1982-84); other articles, 1986, 1989, 1991.

“Elizabeth’s Signs.” Adult short story. First Prize, Adult Short Fiction, Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia. Audio Stage, CBC Radio, 1983. University of Windsor Review, 1987. 68-74.

“Song of Radiation.” Poem. Pottersfield Portfolio, 1985-86. Anthology of Magazine Verse & Yearbook of American Poetry, 1986-88.

“This is Our Child / This is Your Patient,” a poem-essay about terminally ill children that has been published in the Netherlands, Britain, Australia, and the United States, including Spanish and slide-sound presentations. 1984.

An Eachdraidh air Flambois (The Story of Framboise). Local history. Framboise, N.S.: St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, 1984.

The Night Before, play, produced by Mulgrave Road Co-op Theatre Company, 1981.

Other

“‘Another Children’s Literature’: Writing by Children and Youth,” a special issue of Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature (International Board on Books for Young People), Volume 55, Number 2, 2017. Peter E. Cumming, guest editor, with Björn Sundmark, Malmö University, Sweden.


Teaching:

Approach To Teaching
Peter Cumming has taught university courses in children's and young adult literature, children's, childhood, and youth studies, fantasy, theatre, Canadian Literature, aboriginal literatures, digital Culture, professional writing, and creative writing.