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Phyllis Ramage

Phyllis Ramage

Research project title

Challenging the Colonial Gaze: Neocolonialist Ideology in Late 20th and Early 21st Century English Language Children’s Fiction on Africa, its People and Diaspora


Dr Lucy Pearson, Prof Karen Sands-O’Connor and Dr Hannah Durkin

Contact details



Research interests

  • children’s literature
  • postcolonialism
  • neocolonialism
  • political economy in relation to the developing world
  • cultural studies
a woman carrying a baby on back

A brief outline of my research project

My project is inspired by my time in the early 2000s working as a children’s librarian, when I was disappointed that books featuring African children primarily showed them living in poverty, usually in a rural setting, and often under perilous circumstances. I will conduct a critique of children’s fiction in English from the named period examining the prevalence of settings in rural, often poverty-stricken areas under tragic circumstances such as war, famine or epidemic and consider why predominantly negative portrayals of Africa exist in children’s literature. Using theories of postcolonialism and neocolonialism (including political economy) and drawing upon the writings of many former colonial subjects such as Ngugi wa Thiong’o, Frantz Fanon and Edward Said, I will analyse the ubiquity of these images of African nations. I will also look at positive depictions by children’s authors to show examples of good practice.

Research activities


Oxford Encyclopedia of Children’s Literature (2006): 9 entries


CLUGG (Children’s Literature Unit Graduate Group)

Outreach projects

Participation in the Seven Stories podcast ‘Whose Stories?’

My academic background

  • MA Children’s Literature, Roehampton
  • MA English, The Open University