- Dissertations of Note
This study uses theories of feminist dramatic criticism, semiotics, and women's psychological development to examine the intersection of children's theater history and changing theories of the mother-daughter relation. Applebaum argues that theatrical representation of female adolescent protagonists and their relationships with mothers both deny and affirm twentieth-century theories of female adolescent development. Analysis of the three representative works reveals ambivalences toward gendered stereotypes of their day, and these resulted in alternative readings. "Resistant representations in the turn-of-the-century work of Burnett and the mid-century work of Chorpenning, and a revisionist representation by Zeder after the women's movement of the seventies, offer a genealogy for the 'mentor mother' paradigm of mother-daughter relationships. This model gives subjectivity to both the maternal figure and the adolescent girl, extends the view of mother beyond the biological, and allows for autonomy without sacrificing emotional connection."
After examining the way feminine roles may be constructed and replicated, and how these dynamics play out in the seven Ramona novels, Benson reveals the conflicts between explicit and implicit gender ideologies that extend through the depiction of female relationships, parental roles, and the discourse community represented by Ramona's school experiences. Benson concludes with a discussion of constructivist composition theory that suggests "pedagogical strategies by which students may question ideological constructs which position them as constructs within the dominate hegemony." She suggests that applying the concept of interrogation to reading and writing practices in college-level children's literature classes "allows students to develop an awareness of how texts inculcate on explicit and implicit levels particular subject positions."
Black's qualitative study explores the "transactions that occur among teachers, students, and children's literature when that literature is used to promote anti-bias education." Based on the concept of literary transactions discussed by Rosenblatt and the concept of anti-bias education (Derman-Sparks and the A. B. C. Task Force), the methodology developed for this study is a transactional ethnography, a research strategy that examines specific routine events through the transactions that comprise such events. Findings suggest that transaction is embedded in the notion of the classroom community affecting and being affected by a teacher's specific use of literature, including book selection and teaching. [End Page 275]
Bloem's study tests the metaphor of the bridge to describe how international literature links readers to another country or culture by examining the ways six eighth-grade American students read international literature. Based on reader response theory nested in the broader context of multiculturalism and literacy studies, her data analysis reveals that students make meaning personally and passionately, experience the books visually and through their senses, identify with characters, and enter imaginatively into settings in the books. Students expressed considerable metacognitive awareness and were amazed at the similarities that: humans share throughout the world, although their responses suggest that the bridge metaphor is "more complex than it first appears" and that "each reader's bridge is a unique structure."
This dissertation analyzes young adult literature for girls written in the 1970s to demonstrate the influence of the contemporary women's movement on this literature. Focusing specifically...