AustLit logo
John Stephens John Stephens i(A36597 works by)
Born: Established: 1944 Ballarat, Ballarat area, Ballarat - Bendigo area, Victoria, ;
Gender: Male
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

Works By

Preview all
1 Affective Strategies, Emotion Schemas, and Empathic Endings : Selkie Girls and a Critical Odyssey John Stephens , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature , vol. 23 no. 1 2015; (p. 17-33)

Stephens' discusses retellings of selkie stories and folktales, focussing on scripts (or metanarrative strutures) and female characters. The paper looks at four works that interrogative the folktale pre-text: The Selkie Girl (Cooper and Hutton), The Seal Mother (Gerstein), Two Selkie Stories from Scotland (Forsyth), and Sea Hearts (Lanagan). 

1 y separately published work icon Subjectivity in Asian Children's Literature and Film : Global Theories and Implications John Stephens (editor), New York (City) : Routledge , 2012 Z1911926 2012 anthology criticism
1 Schemas and Scripts : Cognitive Instruments and the Representation of Cultural Diversity in Children's Literature John Stephens , 2011 single work criticism
— Appears in: Contemporary Children's Literature and Film 2011; (p. 12-35)
Stephens discusses the use of script and schema as strategies for the representation of cultural diversity in Australian children's literature.
1 1 y separately published work icon New World Orders in Contemporary Children's Literature : Utopian Transformations Clare Bradford , Kerry Mallan , John Stephens , Robyn McCallum , Houndmills : Palgrave Macmillan , 2008 Z1559477 2008 selected work criticism 'New World Orders shows how texts for children and young people have responded to the cultural, economic, and political movements of the last 15 years. With a focus on international children's texts produced between 1988 and 2006, the authors discuss how utopian and dystopian tropes are pressed into service to project possible futures to child readers. The book considers what these texts have to say about globalisation, neocolonialism, environmental issues, pressures on families and communities, and the idea of the posthuman.' - Back cover.
1 New World Orders and the Dystopian Turn: Transforming Visions of Territoriality and Belonging in Recent Australian Children's Fiction Clare Bradford , Kerry Mallan , John Stephens , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , vol. 32 no. 3 2008; (p. 349-359)
Through the 1990s and into the new millennium, Australian children's literature responded to a conservative turn epitomised by the Howard government and to new world order imperatives of democracy, the market economy, globalisation, and the IT revolution. These responses are evidenced in the ways that children's fiction speaks to the problematics of representation and cultural identity and to possible outcomes of devastating historical and recent catastrophes. Consequently, Australian children's fiction in recent years has been marked by a dystopian turn. Through an examination of a selection of Australian children's fiction published between 1995 and 2003, this paper interrogates the ways in which hope and warning are reworked in narratives that address notions of memory and forgetting, place and belonging. We argue that these tales serve cautionary purposes, opening the way for social critique, and that they incorporate utopian traces of a transformed vision for a future Australia. The focus texts for this discussion are: Secrets of Walden Rising (Allan Baillie, 1996), Red Heart (Victor Kelleher, 2001), Deucalian (Brian Caswell, 1995), and Boys of Blood and Bone (David Metzenthen, 2003).
1 y separately published work icon International Research in Children’s Literature IRCL Valerie Coghlan (editor), John Stephens (editor), Kimberley Reynolds (editor), Mark Macleod (editor), Edinburgh : Edinburgh University Press , 2008 7251097 2008 periodical (9 issues)

'International Research in Children’s Literature is essential reading for literary scholars in the field of children’s literature, especially those interested in applications of cultural and literary theories, comparative literatures, and the production and reception of children’s literature as a world literature. The study of children’s literature is an integral part of literary, cultural and media studies, and this scholarly journal, widely international in scope, addresses the diverse intellectual currents of this constantly expanding subject area.

'The journal welcomes submissions from scholars in the field, both IRSCL members and others. Acceptance of papers is subject to rigorous international peer review and revision. The journal publishes four issues in a biennium: a general issue, a special themed issue, and two issues largely based on the most recent IRSCL Congress theme. IRCL is indexed by Thomson Reuters Arts and Humanities Citation Index and Current Contents/Arts & Humanities, by MLA and by the British Humanities Index.

'Edinburgh University Press publishes International Research in Children’s Literature on behalf of the International Research Society for Children's Literature.' (Publication summary)

1 From Eden to Suburbia : Perspectives on the Natural World in Children's Literature John Stephens , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature , December vol. 16 no. 2 2006; (p. 40-45)
Stephen's compares a number of children's texts, including Jeannie Baker's Window and Belonging, which focus on representations of the natural environment. Stephen's articulates three ideological perspectives which are the most common approaches to dealing with ecological issues in children's literature; the positioning of human subjectivity as outside of nature; the assumption that 'a represented landscape must include humans to perceive it and operate as a site of some kind of narrative'; and the representation of nature as 'endangered' and reliant upon human intervention and appropriate management (41). Stephens claims that overall, texts with an ecological message show a tendency to locate humans as both the cause of and solution to, ecological destruction, and texts which are seeking to actively engage with ecology issues are usually a variation of the second type (45). For Stephen's, Baker's Belonging is a 'quintessential' example of a novel which positions the perspective of humans outside of nature and as the source of value and meaning (45).
1 The Struggle to be Human in a Post-Human World Robyn McCallum , Victoria Flanagan , John Stephens , 2006 single work criticism
— Appears in: CREArTA : Journal of the Centre for Research and Education in the Arts , vol. 6 no. 2006; (p. 28-44)
1 New Social Orders : Reconceptualizing Family and Community in Utopian Fiction Kerry Mallan , Clare Bradford , John Stephens , 2005 single work criticism
— Appears in: Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature , December vol. 15 no. 2 2005; (p. 6-21)
In this collaborative essay, Mallan, Bradford and Stephens interrogate the links between the family, the social well-being of a nation and its individual citizens in conjunction with representations of 'new social orders'(6). They consider how notions of family are developed in selected texts, including Shades Children (Garth Nix) and Boy Overboard (Morris Gleitzman), pointing out that in all three novels, 'various social imaginaries unfold, each gesturing towards a utopian outcome in which family becomes the unifying point for previously isolated or marginalized individuals' (7). For Mallen et al, the challenge in reading utopian novels that deal with families and difficult times is the need to be sensitive to the atrocities described as well as being able to 'assess the creative adaptation of their utopian refiguration' (19). In this sense they argue, the possibility occurs for wider consideration and discussion of family relationships which affords knowledge of and insights into the world within which we live specifically 'how difference is refracted within both the familiar and alternative social imaginaries they propose' (19).
1 Reading Development Across Linked Stories: Anna Fienberg's Tashi Series and The Magnificent Nose and Other Marvels John Stephens , Izumi Tsukioka , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Lion and the Unicorn , April vol. 27 no. 2 2003; (p. 185-198)
1 2 Editor's Introduction: Always Facing the Issues - Preoccupations in Australian Children's Literature John Stephens , 2003 single work criticism
— Appears in: Lion and the Unicorn , April vol. 27 no. 2 2003; (p. v-xvii)
1 Writing by Children, Writing for Children : Schema Theory, Narrative Discourse and Ideology John Stephens , 2002 single work criticism
— Appears in: Crossing the Boundaries 2002; (p. 237-248)
1 'There Are Worse Things than Ghosts' : reworking Horror Chronotopes in Australian Children's Fiction John Stephens , Robyn McCallum , 2001 single work criticism
— Appears in: Mystery in Children's Literature : From the Rational to the Supernatural 2001; (p. 165-183)
1 Constructions of Female Selves in Adolescent Fiction: Makeovers as Metonym John Stephens , 1999 single work criticism
— Appears in: Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature , April vol. 9 no. 1 1999; (p. 5-13)

In this article, Stephens examines the makeover as a 'specialized form of feminine discourse' (5) by looking at how it is represented in adolescent fictions. Stephens' comparative approach discusses several novels by Australian authors of children's literature in conjunction with discourses from popular culture and explores the links between teenage magazines and adolescent fiction. He uses Judith Butler's concept of gender performativity to highlight the dialogic relationship between identity as 'performance' and identity as 'expression' (5) pointing out that the former is often equated with nihilism, while (neo)humanist conceptualisations of the subject usually privilege 'expression' in narratives of adolescent identity formation: 'By realizing the physical or exterior body...the makeover metonymically expresses a character's unfolding inferiority...But when the fictions represent a character whose subjectivity is 'merely' performative...that character is apt to be radically alienated and possibly tragic' (5). For Stephens, the implicit function of makeover narratives is either transformative or cautionary based upon the notion that the 'transformed body' acts semiotically as a 'metonym of growth' (6). Stephens conludes that makeover narratives in teenage adolescent fiction for girls generally adhere to the dominant humanist paradigm of subjectivity in which 'self identity is defined by how an individual is valued by others' (5) and as the 'expression of a substantial self' which acts as a stable and innate ground for choice and agency' (12)

1 Making Realism Possible : Realist Narrative Strategies and Individual Subjectivity in 'Pagan's Scribe' and 'The First Book of Samuel' John Stephens , 1997 single work criticism
— Appears in: Making It Real : Proceedings of the Fourth Children's Literature Conference 1997; (p. 31-39)
1 Multiculturalism in Recent Australian Children's Fiction : (Re)Constructing Selves Through Personal and National Histories John Stephens , 1996 single work criticism
— Appears in: Other Worlds, Other Lives : Children's Literature Experiences : Volume 3 1996; (p. 1-19)
Stephens examines the dissemination of ideologies of multiculturalism in Australian children's texts.
1 Children's Literature, Interdisciplinarity and Cultural Studies John Stephens , 1996 single work criticism
— Appears in: Writing the Australian Child : Texts and Contexts in Fictions for Children 1996; (p. 161-179)
1 2 y separately published work icon From Picture Book to Literary Theory John Stephens (editor), Ken Watson (editor), Sydney : St Clair Press , 1994 Z1205844 1994 anthology criticism Looks at various literary theories in action to help busy English teachers to keep abreast of modern literary theory by providing necessary background information. The lefthand page of each unit is for teachers and the photocopiable righthand page is for students providing activities designed for groups of two, three or more. (Libraries Australia record.)
1 'Hide-and-Seek in a Huge Space' : Cultural Schemata, Selfhood and Voice in Jenny Pausacker's What Are Ya? John Stephens , 1993 single work criticism
— Appears in: Australian Children's Literature : Finding a Voice 1993; (p. 138-148)
Stephens discusses the voices society seeks to stifle, and provides an analysis of the silent voices in Jenny Pausacker's What Are Ya?
1 Post-Disaster Fiction : The Problematics of a Genre John Stephens , 1992 single work criticism
— Appears in: Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature , [December] vol. 3 no. 3 1992; (p. 126-130)

Discusses 'post-disaster' fiction and the preponderance of this genre-style within Australian children's fantasy.

X