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Issue Details: First known date: 2006... vol. 16 no. 2 December 2006 of Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature est. 1990 Papers : Explorations into Children's Literature
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Notes

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Contents

* Contents derived from the 2006 version. Please note that other versions/publications may contain different contents. See the Publication Details.
Cutting it in New Times : The Future of Children's Literature, Kerry Mallan , single work criticism
In regards to the future of children's literature, 'both its fiction and its scholarship' (5), Kerry Mallan considers three questions: 'How are new times impacting upon scholars in children's literature?; what new directions are offered by children's cultural texts?; what new tasks can we set ourselves [critics of children's literature] before they are set for us? (5). Mallan's main concern is that new skills are needed to navigate a course through 'the turbulent seas of research priorities' and 'appear relevant to new students and university administration' (6). In her discussion of how Internet fiction has 'contributed to the demise of traditional narrative authority and opened up new formulations of the role of readership in narrative' (10) Mallen refers to a number of International and Australians texts, including Shaun Tan's The Lost Thing (2000) and Gillian Rubinsteins' Space Demons (1986) and Sky Maze (1989). For Mallan, it is imperative that scholars in the field of children's literary criticism 'find new ways of making its presence felt both within the academy and outside of it' without adopting a 'defensive position'(14) however, she concludes by drawing attention to the 'lure of new texts, new technologies, new readings, new readers' suggesting it is equally important to consider just what exactly makes us always desire the 'new' over the 'old' (14).
(p. 5-16)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

Under the Wire : Detainee Activism in Australian Children's Literature, Debra Dudek , single work criticism

Debra Dudek critiques two novels by Morris Gleitzman, Girl Underground (2004) and Boy Overboard (2002), analysing the representation of ethical relationships between detainees and Australian citizens. In relation to children's multicultural fictions and non-fictions, Dudek suggests that in terms of cultural citizenship, Australia needs to move from 'an ethics of compassion to an ethics of responsibility' in order to understand tolerance as 'a way of respecting absolute differences' (20-21).

Dudek explains how an ethics of responsibility requires the citizens of Australia to actively participate in the dismantling of mandatory detention as an enactment of justice that works towards realizing the meaning of a 'fulfilling social life' (20-21). For Dudek (and others) this begins with the recognition of difference rather than its effacement.

(p. 17-22)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

Intra-Active : The Child/Animal in Children's SF, Naarah Sawers , single work criticism
In a close reading of Gillian Rubenstein's Galax-Arena, Sawers examines how children's science fiction novels reflect and mediate the overarching influence of science and biotechnology as an authority on the production of 'new realities' (23). Sawers contends that narratives that engender a particular set of responses to science and its treatment of bodies are fundamentally political and hence, deserve close analysis, particularly as children's bodies are a crucial part of biomedical research. Sawers argues that children's SF is both constitutive of and produced by the biotechnological imaginary and it is through 'literature that challenges the boundaries of science and fiction that the anxieties surrounding the animal-human hybrid are articulated' (27). What needs to be considered and critiqued, says Sawers, is whether such articulations 'simply reinscribe humanist ideology and the division between science and humanities or offer a more responsible engagement with scientific practices' (23).
(p. 23-28)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

Capitalism Run Wild : Zizou Corder's Lion Boy and Victor Kelleher's Dog Boy, Elizabeth Parsons , single work criticism
Parsons critiques two novels, Dog Boy, by Australian author Victor Kelleher and American Zizou Corder's Lion Boy, in terms of how they navigate neo-liberalist ideologies utilizing the nature/culture schism. Parson's argues that in an age when 'the negative consequences of corporate greed are more apparent', the appropriation of animal metaphors and the Darwinian notion of 'the survival of the fittest' are considerably more problematic (29). The comparative reading draws attention to some of the ways in which contemporary children's/young adult fiction attempts to (and/or appears to) critique and challenge corporate and consumerist culture and in this case the protagonists in both texts 'share a need to embrace animal instincts in order to regulate and participate in a dehumanizing economic world' (29). Parsons concludes that the challenge to corporate power in children's texts is dominated by male/boy protagonists and in the novels discussed, the idealization of the (male) hero is underpinned by a 'post-feminist bid to reinstate patriarchal dominance' (33).
(p. 29-34)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

From Eden to Suburbia : Perspectives on the Natural World in Children's Literature, John Stephens , single work criticism
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).
(p. 40-45)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

A Sporting Chance : Class in Markus Zusak's The Messenger and Fighting Ruben Wolfe, Elizabeth Bullen , single work criticism
In this essay, Bullen focuses on the interrelationship between class consciousness and individual agency in two novels by Markus Zusak, Fighting Ruben Wolfe and The Messenger. She interrogates how both texts reflect and contest class prejudice in relation to those who are marginalised and stigmatised through particular economic circumstances. By looking at how sport is used as a metaphor for life, Bullen critiques the popular motif of (social) winners and losers that permeates children's sport stories, particularly the assumption that success in sport is emblematic of success in other social fields. Fighting Ruben Wolfe centers upon illegal boxing, a sport often associated with or reflective of 'informal, lower class activities' and Bullen looks at the implications of class location and low status lifestyles by questioning the representation of social games in terms of social mobility, particularly when the notion of upward mobility assumes that a 'less desirable social location is left behind' (50).
(p. 46-50)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

'They Don't Know Us, What We Are' : An Analysis of Two Young Adult Texts with Arab-Western Protagonists, Jo Lampert , single work criticism
This paper argues that since 9/11, the way Arabs are portrayed in Young Adult fiction has become focused on race and ethnic politics in ways that highlight various political agendas fundamentally concerned with 'ethnic loyalties'. Jo Lampert discusses two Young Adult novels, including Australian-born-Muslim, Rhanda Abdel Fattah's text, Does My Head Look Big in This?, by drawing upon postcolonial theories of border crossing and hybridity to look at how representations of Arab-Australian (and Arab-American) identities have shifted since the events of September 11th, 2001. The analysis looks specifically at young Arab-women and how they negotiate questions of identity, positioned as they are in between the 'us and them' dichotomy which underpins racist discourse. The novels discussed are seen to engage with the complexities of Arab-Muslim identity in Western texts by looking at positive ways to embrace mutliple, or hybrid identites.
(p. 51-57)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

'Does My Bomb Look Big in This?' : Representing Muslim Girls in Recent Australian Cultural Texts, Sharyn Pearce , single work criticism

Pearce looks closely at two recent Australian texts and the specific portrayal of Muslim-Australian girls. She utilizes a postcolonial approach to compare the ways in which the film Marking Time and the novel Does My Head Look Big in This? engage in the racialized politics of Muslim identity.

In terms of the struggle for agency and identity, Pearce argues that Marking Time conforms to an Orientalist paradigm, whereby Muslim identity is represented as mysterious and exotic, providing the site for the white, western male hero's 'rite of passage' (p.59). In contrast, Does My Head Look Big in This? challenges negative stereotypes and notions of 'tolerance' which permeate western representations of Muslim identities and culture, by re-articulating a politics of difference and indicating possibilites for the inscription and articulation of cultural hybridity and multiple subjectivities.

(p. 58-63)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

An Awfully Big Adventure : Killing Death in War Stories for Children, Alison Halliday , single work criticism
Halliday locates a gap in Kerry Mallan's study concerning discourses of death and dying in children's literature, and claims, 'A curious omission is death in war, from the legal killing of and by soldiers, to the horror underlying the euphemism of 'collateral damage'' (90). Halliday suggests that despite a 'proliferation of discourses [on the] manifestations of death... there is a lingering taboo in dealing with death in war stories, especially for older readers' (90). The essay refers to some of the strategies and narrative techniques used to represent war in children's fiction from an array of novels, including several Australian children's texts by contemporary authors, Morris Gleitzman, Sonya Hartnett, Anthony Eaton, Serpil Ural and David Metzenthen. Strategies discussed include discourses of hope, the use of metaphor, reader-subject positioning and setting with Halliday concluding that, 'When death is present and brutally explicit...cultural pressures about the appropriateness of reading material and consequent censorship occur' (94).
(p. 90-95)
Are You Talking to Me? : Hailing the Reader in Indigenous Children's Literature, Penelope Davie , single work criticism
This analysis discusses two indigenous authored children's texts, My Girragundji (Meme McDonald and Boori Pryor) and Tell Me Why (Robyn Templeton and Sarah Jackson), in relation to critical strategies, audience address and textual authorisation. In particular, Davie looks at 'paratexts' - the material that comes before and after a text, including blurbs, introductions, acknowledgements, titles, covers, art - as an interpellation device (112). Drawing upon the concept of interpellation, or the way in which the subject is addressed by the 'authority of the state', Davie argues that the paratexts of contemporary Indigenous texts offer an 'entry point' for the direct voice of the author who can 'hail readers' without the mediation of white voices, which (in the pas) have not only spoken for Indigenous people, but had the power to police their voices and frame the narrative in ways that suited a non-Indigenous audience (116).
(p. 112-117)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

Postcolonial Transformation and Traditional Australian Indigenous Story, Juliet O'Conor , single work criticism
O'Conor examines and acknowledges the 1964 text The Legends of Moonie Jarl (Wilf Reeves) as a turning point in Australia's literary history and as a challenge to dominant colonial assumptions regarding Aboriginal culture. At a time when non-Indigenous representations of Aboriginality were privileged and presumed to be accurate, the twelve stories in this collection challenged the hegemonic view of the Indigenous population by 'defining the cultural significance of traditional Aboriginal culture' (134). In particular, O'Conor points to how the use of maps in the text works to 'invite readers across cultural boundaries' by using traditional symbols to develop the non-indigenous reader's understanding of Indigenous communities and as such, 'the story maps of The Legends of Moonie Jarl marked a new form of illustration in traditional narrative' (135). Her discussion focuses on how the text expands 'map reading' into the realm of cultural difference through its construction of a 'story map' that intergrates Indigenous and non-Indigenous signs and symbols.
(p. 132-137)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

Cultural Explorations of Time and Space : Indigenous Australian Artists-in Residence, Conventional Narratives and Children's Text Creation, Margaret Zeegers , single work criticism
Zeegers is concerned with a project funded by the University of Ballarat (Victoria) and the current state of affairs whereby 'the land occupied by the school is owned by the state and notionally by the school community' (138). For Zeegers, the school community often has '...no sense of how relationships with the land may go well beyond concepts of ownership' and she perceives problems with acknowledging traditional land ownership by certain schools in certain environments.(p.138). At the time of writing, the article refers to a specific project (yet to be concluded) and aims to contribute to the project by looking at two Indigenous texts, My Place (Wheatley) and Who am I ? The Diary of Mary Talence (Heiss) analysing what perspectives they offer child readers as a 'means of access to other discourses of history' (p.142). Zeegers contends that 'the project enables both Indigenous and Non-indigenous Australian children to engage with non print based texts derived from a cultural tradition that is different from the Euro cultural tradition' (143).
(p. 138-144)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

Starving Desire : New (Deleuzean) Readings of Anorexia in Australian Young Adult Fiction, Kate McInally , single work criticism

McInally is concerned with fictional representations of eating disorders and uncovering any intersections between anorexia and girl-girl desire. McInally 'investigates this interface' in Killing Aurora (Barnes) and Leaving Jetty Road, (Burton) by drawing on the post-structuralist concepts of Deleuze and Guattari as a way of thinking beyond the binarised terms that shape and structure our lives and identities (168). For Deleuze and Guattari, 'desire is an affirmative mobile force that propels living things towards each other' (168) and it is this proposition that McInally utilises to critique hetero-normative cultural systems. She argues that anorexia is 'interrelated to the cultural insistence that girls move beyond intense, passionate and desirous relationships with each other, into normative heterosexuality', a sexuality that upholds western patriarchal capitalist paradigms that 'privilege lack over connection'(168). For McInally, Burton's novel follows this paradigm in its 'reductive and limiting ideologies regarding subjectivity, femininity and desire', while Barnes' novel offers a new and/or different way of reading desire which 'affirms its intense and connective potential outside binarised codifications' (172).

(p. 168-172)
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Sighted: 28/03/18

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Last amended 28 Mar 2018 14:05:06
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