So after a Father’s Day where I took my dad shopping for basic apartment supplies, here I am at grad school.
Monday I had both classes. Mondays and Wednesdays are going to be heavy, so much so that I’m thinking of making this a Tuesday, Thursday blog. Each class is 3 hours long and, well, graduate level. My 9-12 class is Men, Women, and Dragons: Gender and Identity in Fantasy with Brian Attebery. This first class we read picture books about dragons that he gave groups of us and analyzed the texts for gender. My second class is History and Criticism of Children’s Literature with Alexandria LaFaye, who tells us we must call her Alexandria or A. Just A. We went over her syllabus and then dove into an overview of the different types of criticism and a brief history of children’s literature. This is a mostly first-term class and she seems as if she will be very welcoming and supportive of us. It was overall a pretty exhausting day, and of course, I can’t say that I was used to getting up at 8. After this conference, for which I am getting up at 6:45, 8 is going to seem late. That will be a very nice change. It’s also likely that 6 hours will look easier on the other side of a few days of 9 hours of talks.
Already I have several paper assignments and am pretty busy. I have a picture book, Dove Isabeau, and an essay to read for Professor Attebery by Monday. These need to be accompanied by 3-5 discussion questions. I also read and wrote questions for Nesbit’s “The Last of the Dragons.” In addition we need a 1000 word response essay on a set of 3 papers from the conference. For A I read The People Could Fly (the short story collection, not the picture book), and need to pick a folktale to discuss. Something Welsh, maybe. I need too to be thinking about a 10 page paper for that class comparing 2 children’s literature books. For Dragons, I’m thinking of a 10 page paper on Harry Potter, just so that I can bring it to PotterCon in September 2012. We will see. My theses for that paper keep falling apart. This is my 3rd idea.
So, this mysterious conference I keep mentioning is the Children’s Literature Association Conference, which Hollins happens to be hosting this summer. It’s so far been a great experience. I keep introducing myself to people at random and it seems to be going all right. The first talk on finding a career in children’s literature stressed networking, which is also one of the main reasons I decided to come to grad school. Today, Gwen, I met a woman who teaches university in Greece. 🙂 I need to talk to her more, or get her email before she leaves.
I’m guessing most of you will want to hear about each conference paper in some detail, so I will stretch this over… however many posts it takes, or until something more interesting/else happens.
My first was on “Censorship and the Book Club.” The first was not really anything I didn’t already agree with or know–we need a rating system for books. The second was more of a research study on teaching Cinderella stories involving African girls to African American girls in a discussion setting.