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SEL8675 : Children's Literature Studies: Past, Present, Future (Inactive)

  • Inactive for Year: 2022/23
  • Module Leader(s): Dr Emily Murphy
  • Owning School: English Lit, Language & Linguistics
  • Teaching Location: Newcastle City Campus
Semester 2 Credit Value: 20
ECTS Credits: 10.0


Children’s literature is often concerned with growth and change; it is appropriate, then, that the study of the subject itself has grown rapidly from its beginnings in the early 1960s. Today children’s literature studies is as varied as childhood itself, encompassing material from the eighteenth century to the present day, and employing a range of disciplinary approaches. In this module, we will explore the historical origins of the academic study of children’s literature and consider what it means to be a scholar of ‘children’s literature’ now that the field is becoming increasingly interdisciplinary. What – if anything – is distinctive about children’How have children’s literature scholars employed different methodologies, including book history, archival research, social history and literary theory to explore texts for children? How does ‘children’s literature studies’ intersect with the work done by scholars of performance, history, sociology, and others interested in the child and children’s literature? Can we better describe this work as “childhood studies” or “children’s studies,” as some have suggested? Our goal will be to explore these questions and more, with an eye towards defining our own position as scholars of literature.

Outline Of Syllabus

This module will introduce students to some of the key scholarship on children’s literature and childhood studies, offering a theoretical perspective on the field. Students will have the opportunity to explore a range of texts for children, from the historical to the contemporary, and to consider different approaches to the field through a series of scholarly ‘case studies’ based on the work of SELLL scholars. The focus of the module will evolve from year to year in line with staff specialisms and new work in the field.

Students will be encouraged to consider how their own disciplinary perspectives might shape their approach to the subject, and the module will offer them the opportunity to develop key professional skills.

Teaching Methods

Teaching Activities
Category Activity Number Length Student Hours Comment
Guided Independent StudyAssessment preparation and completion170:0070:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyDirected research and reading148:0048:00N/A
Scheduled Learning And Teaching ActivitiesSmall group teaching112:0022:00N/A
Guided Independent StudyIndependent study160:0060:00N/A
Teaching Rationale And Relationship


Assessment Methods

The format of resits will be determined by the Board of Examiners

Other Assessment
Description Semester When Set Percentage Comment
Written exercise2M50Written conference paper - 2500 words
Prof skill assessmnt2M5020 minute oral conference presentation
Formative Assessments
Description Semester When Set Comment
Written exercise2MConference paper abstract - 500 words
Assessment Rationale And Relationship

A formative written exercise will ask students to write a 500-word conference paper abstract, supporting them in establishing an argument on a theme related to the module and familiarising them with the professional skills associated with conference presentations.

The written conference paper (2,500 words) will ask students to apply a particular critical approach to a single text or artefact. It will build on the formative assessment to help students define their own approach to the field within a professional format. This will also form the foundation for the final oral presentation, providing a formal opportunity for feedback on this at an early stage.

The final 20-minute oral presentation will build on the written conference paper assessment. The oral presentation encourages students to learn how to adapt their scholarship to a different delivery format, and to develop arguments and forms of independent critical thinking appropriate at MA level.

Reading Lists