GISELLE LIZA ANATOL argues in the introduction to Reading Harry Potter, “It cannot be stated enough times that works for children and young adults have incredible influence. This body of literature is a powerful tool for inculcating social roles and behaviors, moral guides, desires, and fears.” This course will serve as an introduction to reading, thinking about, and critical approaches to “children’s” literature. What does it mean to call something “children's” or “young adult” literature? How do we think about and idealize the “child”? Why might literature ostensibly for children reveal important ideas and issues about the world we live in, about age, gender, race, class, sexuality, (dis)ability, family, and nation? Drawing on a range of scholarship, narratives, and media—including the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault, Beatrix Potter, J.M. Barrie, J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, J.M. Barrie, Ursula K. Le Guin, Judy Bloom, and particularly through the occasion and lens of J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter series—we will explore and analyze the genre, conversations, and controversies of children's literature.
- Professor: Edmond Chang