*DEADLINE EXTENDED* Coming of Age in 1950s’ America: Literature, Culture, and Film

Coming of Age in 1950s’ America: Literature, Culture, and Film

Date: June 19, 2024

Location: Online

The long 1950s in America (c. 1945-67) was an unusually ambiguous moment in which to come of age, a period of immense change, growth, and transformation. The economy was booming, and the general well-being of Americans improved significantly. But at the same time, after the horrors of the Holocaust and World War 2, and with the Cold War brewing in the background, the fifties were also a period of deep apprehension and despair for the future. Perhaps precisely for that reason, the long 1950s was a period in which coming-of-age novels proliferated. From Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye and Baldwin’s Go Tell It on the Mountain to Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar in the early 60s, a new generation of novels struggled with the question of how to develop a self in a society where conformity had become the central norm. This era of post-war prosperity, cultural shifts, and ideological changes had a profound impact on literature, culture, and film.

For our second INNC symposium, we invite scholars, researchers, and enthusiasts to explore the multifaceted theme of Coming of Age in the long 1950s’ America. We are pleased to announce a call for papers for an online academic symposium that seeks to investigate and celebrate the diverse aspects of the coming-of-age experience in America of the long 1950s (c. 1945-67). We invite interdisciplinary contributions that explore this topic through the lenses of literature, culture, and film.

Potential topics may include, but are not limited to:

the Bildungsroman in 1950s’ American literature

coming of age in 1950s’ American film

teen culture and subcultures, including the influence of music, fashion, and popular culture on the coming-of-age experience, in literature and film

coming of age and gender roles

coming of age and LGBTQIA+

coming of age and race/ethnicity

coming of age and class

rebellion and conformity


intermedial representations of coming of age


social and political developments that shaped coming of age

Please submit your abstracts and a short bio to sanna.melin by March 31, 2024.

Notification of Acceptance: early April 2024

Conference Organizers:

INNC International Network of 1950s Culture

Annika J. Lindskog, Lund University

Sanna Melin Schyllert, Nantes University