Monday, January 11, 2010

Hilary Term 2010 Schedule

This term we're meeting on even Mondays at 5.15pm in the History of the Book Room, English Faculty Building. Click here for directions to the faculty.

18 January (Week 1): ‘Exemplified in a Series of Dresses: The Nineteenth-Century Paper Doll Book.’ Hannah Field, Somerville College.
Between around 1809 and 1830 the publishers and print-sellers S. and J. Fuller produced a number of what they billed as ‘esteemed and much admired JUVENILE BOOKS, with Figures which dress and undress’. These paper doll books consisted of a small black-and-white storybook, a number of separate coloured cut-out images of different costumes and a single cardboard head that was inserted into each costume to produce a complete illustration. Referring to examples from the Opie Collection at the Bodleian, DPhil student Hannah Field will discuss the ways these dress-up ‘figures’ generate an inordinate focus on clothing and fashion—as well as on the material properties of these books more broadly—that undermines the accompanying moralistic stories.

1 February (Week 3): ‘Play, Edwardian Empire and Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys.’ Prof. Elleke Boehmer, Professor of World Literature in English, Wolfson College.
Professor Boehmer will explore some of the many contradictions inherent in Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys, a highly ideological text that expounds imperial values yet also promotes the creative and non-directed aspects of play and performance. She will question whether empire at its height in fact opened these contradictions, and if that might begin to explain why this period of literary history produced an outpouring of children's literature.

15 February (Week 5): ‘The Wild and the Cute: Disney Animation, Childhood and the Poetics of Nature.’ David Whitley, University of Cambridge.
Given the wealth of high quality animated productions that have recently focused on environmentally sensitive issues, it is worth asking whether there may be a tradition within popular, mainstream feature animation that such films are able to draw on in selective and distinctive ways. In this talk David Whitley, who teaches literature and film in the Faculty of Education at Cambridge, explores the possibility that such a tradition does indeed exist and that its origins (perhaps rather surprisingly given the benighted status that is often accorded to Disney’s ideological credentials in recent writing) lie in the experiments that Disney undertook with the animated feature form in the classic period of its development.

1 March (Week 7): ‘Youth's Lifeworlds between Official Doctrine and its Challenges: The Local Dimension of the Soviet Young Communist League in the 1950s and 1960s.’ Katharina Uhl, St Antony’s College.
Katharina Uhl, DPhil candidate in the History Faculty and Rhodes Scholar, will focus on the way the Young Communist League, the official Soviet youth organization, positioned itself in the so-called Thaw period in Soviet history: the 1950s and 1960s. Stalin's death in 1953 opened the space for social, cultural and political changes. One of the means to fill the emerging gap between Party-state and society was the revival of the communist project. This was on the other hand challenged by various phenomena, including religion and nationalism, Western influence, and the growing importance of the private sphere. The presentation will examine this space of tension, ambivalence and contradictions with regard to the Young Communist League’s role in the life-worlds of young people.

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