While visitors to this website can gain insight into my research interests via the other pages under this tab, I do want to provide some basic information about my research interests on this page, as well. This research statement will be replaced with a more detailed statement by summer’s end.
My Academic Mission Statement*: “I use the fields of visual rhetoric, new media, adaptation, fandom, and pedagogical studies to study how children’s and YA literature and their adaptations can be used across English Studies college courses in order to demonstrate the unique pedagogical flexibility and value of works in this often under-appreciated area of English Studies (ChYALit).”
The field of English Studies is quite a complex one. Scholars in this field specialize in many different areas, such as literature, rhetoric, creative writing, and linguistics. These fields are then further divided, by periods, media, cultures, genres, and more. In my case, my area of specialization is children’s and young adult literature. I have experienced three children’s and young adult (ChYALit) programs throughout the past nine years. I received my B.A.’s in English and Sociology from the University of Florida, where I specialized in children’s literature and wrote an undergraduate thesis titled, “A Reader’s Agency: How Fanfiction Promotes Agency Through Reinvention and Community Interaction.” I then received my M.A. in English with a children’s literature concentration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Finally, I am currently a student at Illinois State University, working on my PhD in English Studies, with a specialization in children’s literature.
The above list clearly illustrates my area of specialization; my undergraduate thesis further demonstrates that my interest in ChYALit also connects to the fandoms that surround these literary works and their many adaptations. But while the contents of my research and the courses I teach focus heavily on these topics, my experiences this past year have made clear to me that my interests also lie heavily in the pedagogical implications of children’s and YA literature, their adaptations, and their fandoms. Children’s and young adult literature can be used to teach literary concepts and to study the world in which these texts are created, consumed, and adapted, but they can also be used to teach concepts in other areas of English Studies, such as visual rhetoric, new media studies, and creative writing. My research focuses on this potential, as I believe ChYALit is unique in both its flexibility and its influence on culture and on people, in comparison to other literary works.
*The idea to create an academic mission statement was inspired by a webinar I took with Dr. Catherine Mazak, University of Puerto Rico.