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 once I enter the academic job market in 2019.
My Academic Mission Statement:*
“I use theory from visual rhetorics, new media, adaptation, fandom, and pedagogical studies to study how children’s and young adult literature and their adaptations can be used across English Studies college courses in order to demonstrate the unique pedagogical flexibility and value of these often under-valued literary works.”
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 literature (ChYALit) programs throughout the past decade. I earned 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 earned my M.A. in English with a children’s literature concentration at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Finally, I am currently an English Studies PhD candidate at Illinois State University, where I am once again specializing 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 heavily to the fandoms and adaptations that surround these literary works. But while the contents of my research and the courses I teach focus on children’s and young adult literature, adaptations, multimodality, and fandom, my experiences while at ISU and while creating my blog have made clear to me that my research interests are heavily driven by their pedagogical implications. Children’s and young adult literature and their adaptations can be used to teach literary concepts and to study the world in which these texts are created, consumed, and adapted. They can also be used to teach concepts in various areas of English Studies, such as visual rhetorics, new media studies, and composition 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.