ENGL 80600. Children’s Literature and Animal Studies: A Dialogue. Carrie Hintz. Wednesdays 6:30PM – 8:30PM. 2/3/4 Credits. Hybrid.
Carrie Hintz (she/her)
Office hours: Wednesday 5:00 PM-6:00 PM and by appointment
Zoom link for office hours and remote meetings:
Carrie Hintz’s Personal Zoom Meeting Room
Meeting ID: 704 033 3212
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+16468769923,,7040333212# US (New York)
The abundant representation of animals in children’s literature imagines, and to some degree promotes, an affinity between children and animals as fellow “wild” creatures. A desire to critically explore this affinity—and other animal/ child connections—has inspired the field’s “animal turn.” In our spring seminar, we will consider anthropomorphism and anthropocentrism, the politics and aesthetics of “cuteness,” the cultivation of “humane” affects in the young, “wild” boys and girls, racialized animality, and the role played by specific genres like fables, picturebooks, and graphic novels. Works by Kipling, Lofting, and others will provide illuminating (and disturbing) examples of how Children’s Literature participates in racism and colonialism, inculcating the young into systems of violence and inequality. We will evaluate the potential of contemporary animal narrators and characters to challenge and re-shape current conceptual hierarchies and social organization.
Children’s literature also remains a promising space to envision the separate ontologies and destinies of non-human animals, outside of human control. Early animal “autobiographies” (like Black Beauty and Beautiful Joe) reveal both the affecting potential and the frustrating limits of the animal “voice.” Can children’s literature (and scholarship in the field) become a cultural site to imagine the relationship between people and non-human animals—and by extension the entire natural world—differently?
“Children’s Literature and Animal Studies: A Dialogue” is paired with Karl Steel’s seminar, “Little Beasts,” and the two seminar groups will meet (virtually or in-person) three times during the semester. Our first common session will explore Critical Keywords in Animal Studies. Our second common event will delve into Jacques Derrida’s writings on animals. Our final gathering will consider academic and professional opportunities in the field of animal studies (journals, professional organizations, book series, online fora, research guides and digital projects).
- You will explore how scholars in the field of Children’s/ Young Adult Literature develop their research—and their methodological and theoretical underpinnings as they do so.
- You will learn about current popular and scholarly discussions about animal studies (and critical animal studies) and how they can be brought into productive conversation with Children’s Literature scholarship.
- You will formulate questions and topics for seminar discussion.
- You will develop your own project which nurtures your own scholarly interests.
Any edition of these books with do, except for Beautiful Joe. For that book, make sure and get the Broadview edition edited by GC alumna Keridiana Chez. Here is a link to my GC bookstore course page:
Matt Dembicki, Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection. Fulcrum Press, 2010.
Lori Gruen, Critical Terms for Animal Studies. University of Chicago Press, 2018.
Patricia McKissack and Rachel Isadora, Flossie and the Fox. Dial Books, 1986.
Sara Pennypacker, Pax. HarperCollins, 2016.
Marshall Saunders, Beautiful Joe, ed. Keridiana Chez. Broadview Press, 2015.
Richard Van Camp and George Littlechild, A Man Called Raven. Lee & Low Books, 1997.
E. B. White, Charlotte’s Web (1952). Trophy Newbery Books.
A number of readings, especially critical articles, will be available in our class OneDrive folder: