deborah: The management regrets that it was unable to find a Gnomic Utterance that was suitably irrelevant. (gnomic)
I had this whole draft post written out which explained how it came to be that

came to record ourselves sitting around for several hours one wonderful afternoon talking about feminist readings of E. Lockhart's young adult novel The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, but Amy's introduction to the videos is so thorough and informative that I can't improve on it.

All I can say is that I will forever be grateful to the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children's Literature (where, full disclosure, I teach) for introducing me to these wonderful people1 and for giving us all the tools and the support to think about literature in so many interesting, productive ways.

Go watch the videos.

(Hey, Kristin just posted, too!)




  • Technically, fandom introduced me to Amy. She is only one of the many wonderful people introduced to me by fandom for whom I will forever be grateful. Fandom, incidentally, also gives people some pretty good textual analysis tools. [back]

deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
There are many proud moments in my life as an instructor. One of my greatest joys, for example, is when my entire curriculum plan has to get thrown out the window because the complex idea I was planning on leading my students towards over the course of three hours gets raised in classroom discussion in the first 10 minutes. It's even better when the student who thus derails me is one I had thought was struggling. I'm proud when students come up with smart ideas I hadn't thought of. I'm proud when they debate passionately with each other.

But I can't deny that I am overwhelmed with pride when my students' work for my class gets accepted for paper calls. This year, three of my students submitted a set of proposals as a paper session for ICFA-32: The Fantastic Ridiculous, and the abstracts were accepted.

It was formative for me when, back in the day, Perry Nodelman encouraged a group of his students in the Simmons College children's literature summer symposium to submit a paper group to the annual Children's Literature Association Conference. I've tried to pay that encouragement forward to my own students.

I know it's their hard work, none of mine, that gets these students out there presenting and publishing. Still, I'll enjoy basking in the reflection. And as papers are presented and/or published (and as I learn about them), I will try to remember to brag about them.

The student work I know about. )
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I have all of these half written posts I haven't made -- one about the Simmons College Summer Institute, one about Bloomsbury mercifully caving on their dreadful cover decision for Justine Larbalestier's Liar. But summer is coming to a close (already!), And I should just go ahead and post my syllabus for Children's Literature 414, Fantasy and Science Fiction.

Let me see. That's 41 fictional works, or 38 if you lump the Prydain books. As far as I know, and with some of these being judgement calls, 3 authors of color; 7 protagonists of color (8 if you count Laura Chant as multi-racial because of her Maori great-grandmother), 28 white or white-coded, and 2 neither; 20 female and 18 male authors; 16 male protagonists, 18 female, and 3 neither or multi; and 0 canonically queer authors or protagonists. Though there's one canonically-if-subtextually queer secondary couple. Also, three fat (if you count Wilbur) and two disabled (if not-neurotypical counts as disabled).

Obviously I'm better on some aspects of diversity than others. How much of the fail here is mine as opposed to the genre's? Probably a little of both. On the bright side, we spend a lot of the semester talking about these issues, both in ourselves as readers, and in the genre itself.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
I am honored to be a presenter at the forthcoming Diana Wynne Jones Conference, in Bristol this July. (Except now I have to write the paper.)

I am honored to've been asked to teach Fantasy and Science Fiction at the Center for the Study of Children's Literature again this Fall. (Except now I have to prep for the class again.)

If only my time-consuming avocational successes paid well enough to support me, so that making time for them could be easy.
deborah: the Library of Congress cataloging numbers for children's literature, technology, and library science (Default)
Allen Smith, Associate Dean and Professor in the Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science, died Saturday, August 2, 2008. Allen (always Allen or Mr. Smith, never Professor Smith) was my favorite professor in library school, as well as my advisor.

Here was how Allen's reference class went:

- September: Open top of head.
- Four months: Have information poured into head at high velocity.
- After December: Get job. Realise that most academic libraries do not have the killer print and electronic reference collection which Allen Smith personally protected and fostered at Simmons. Realise that, nevertheless, Allen gave you a flexible enough toolkit that you can answer reference questions without a Balay or a New Palgrave.

Here was how Allen's oral history class went:

- September: Hear tons of stories about Allen's time collecting dulcimer oral histories all over Appalachia and shoing horses all over New England.
- Four months: Collect oral histories, feeling like anything you collect will pale in comparison the awesomeness which is Allen's dulcimer stories.
- December: Realise he's taught you enough that your oral histories are pretty damned good.

When Allen gave a final, he took it at the same time as the rest of us, and if he got a question wrong, then on our tests he marked those questions as extra-credit instead of required. He accepted practical answers that showed we knew how to find the information: "The big blue book shelved after CQ". He wasn't perfect. He didn't suffer fools gladly, for one, and his patience with the less well-prepared could have been improved. But oh, is his death a loss for the students at Simmons.

You'll be missed, Allen. May you be in your favorite entry from The Death and Afterlife Book: The Encyclopedia of Death, Near Death, and Life After Death.
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