I completed my PhD thesis at the university of Cambridge in July 2013. My thesis, entitled ‘From authoritative adult to mighty child: Adult-child power dynamics in politically committed children’s literature‘, explored children’s books which encourage child readers to question and modify the sociopolitical configurations of their worlds. I attempted to analyse the adult impulse at the root of such books, which, as I argued, nuances the current theoretical paradigm, in children’s literature criticism, of the all-powerful adult. My approach is existentialist, specifically Sartrian.
I am currently modifying and enhancing this thesis to turn it into a monograph, entitled The Mighty Child: Time and Power in Children’s Literature, which will be out in January 2015 in the Children’s Literature, Culture and Cognition series with John Benjamins.
This monograph approaches children’s literature and to the adult-child relationship from an existentialist perspective, mostly revolving around the works of Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, and Nicolas Grimaldi. I am focusing on time – specifically, the different temporal imaginations associated to adult and child – in order to reassess the power (im)balance within the didactic discourse of children’s literature.
My research is mostly theoretical and metacritical. The concepts that interest me most are time and Otherness, the didactic discourse, adult/child power(s). My theoretical framework is mostly rooted in French phenomenological existentialism, but with a healthy blend of current children’s literature theory and educational philosophy.