Welcome to Dr. Helene Høyrup, SLAIS Visiting Professor in Children’s Literature (All Students)

The School of Library, Archival and Information Studies is pleased to announce that Helene Høyrup, Ph.D., of the Royal School of Library and Information Science in Denmark, will be joining us as the inaugural Dodson Visiting Professor. She will be in the position from February to April 2013.

Dr. Høyrup is Associate Professor in children’s literature and digital literacy at RSLIS n Copenhagen. She is an international scholar in children’s literature studies and has published extensively in the field. She is particularly interested in the theoretical development of children’s literature scholarship, the interface between children’s literature, art and literature for adults, and the situation of children’s literature and its studies in different nations and regions. As part of her work on digital literacy, Dr. Høyrup has co-edited a research volume on “New Knowledge Media” and is currently co-editing a book on the philosophy of information and digital library functions (with Birger Hjørland and Hans Jørn Nielsen, RSLIS). Additionally, Dr. Høyrup is an international Hans Christian Andersen scholar and a partner in several Danish, Scandinavian and European research projects on children’s literature and canonicity, and on theories of informal learning with digital media.

During her term as a Visiting Professor at SLAIS, Dr. Høyrup will teach, interact, and mentor students studying children’s literature. In addition to teaching two one-credit classes over the term, she will give two university-wide colloquia and speak at a symposium on Maurice Sendak.

1. March 1

MACL Symposium on Maurice Sendak, Friday, March 1st, 3:30-6:30 pm, Dodson Room, Room 302, Level 3, Chapman Learning Commons, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, University of British Columbia. The symposium includes five speakers. Registration is full. Helene Høyrup: “Maurice Sendak’s Modernism for Children. A Celebration of the Signifier?”

2. March 6 — Dr. Hoyrup will be happy to answer questions regarding Danish libraries and literature for children at this talk.

Wednesday, March 6th, 5:00 to 6:00 pm, Lillooet Room, Room 301, Level 3, Chapman Learning Commons, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, University of British Columbia.

“The Cultural Construction of Literature for Youth in Denmark – An Insider’s Historical Reading”

It has been suggested that children’s literature is “an intersection of two powerful ideological positions: our ideas about childhood and our ideas about literature, ideas often conflicted beyond our knowing” (Lundin 2004: 147). In this talk I shall give an outline of the contextual history of children’s literature in Denmark. In the lack of literary canonization (or, as German researchers phrase this process: decanonization) Danish children’s literature became a cultural battlefield reflecting different agents’ views of childhood and of literature. My talk will give an outline of this contextual history from Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales to the postmodern cross-generational aesthetics of today.

3. March 20

Wednesday, March 20th, 12:00 to 1:00 pm, Lillooet Room, Room 301, Level 3, Chapman Learning Commons, Irving K. Barber Learning Centre, 1961 East Mall, University of British Columbia.

“Literature between Bookspace and New Literacy Space: Towards a Connective Ethnography of Children’s Literature and Digital Media”

How can the meeting between “old” and “new” media become a fruitful encounter?  In the 20th century children’s literature research developed into a theoretically reflexive investigation of the relation between children, childhood and texts.  It could be said to have undergone the linguistic “turn”, which has often been seen as a parallel to the emergence of digital media.

Digital media, however, challenge the paradigm of print culture and the theories developed under previous media ecologies.  The field of New Literacy has emerged as an interdisciplinary movement aiming at analyzing the processes and “texts” of the emerging digital knowledge system.  New Literacy, from a Cultural Studies point of view, can be defined as socially recognized ways of creating, communicating and negotiating meaningful content, as mediated by texts and embedded in d/Discourses (Knobel & Lankshear).  The mediation between media, text and user is here studied from primarily a socio-cultural perspective.

The concept of aesthetics, as developed in theories of play, hermeneutics, linguistics, literature and “everyday” aesthetics, seems oddly absent in New Literacy research.  With picture books as a case, my paper suggests that children’s literature studies and New Literacy research should be seen as a converging theoretical field. Whereas children’s literature research needs to strengthen its concepts of materiality and mediation, New Literacy research should develop its concept of “text” to also encompass the aesthetic and critical view of knowledge following the linguistic turn

This lecture is inspired by my research in the concept of knowledge media (with colleagues at RSLIS) and by the current planning of a research network on advanced literacy skills and textual competences in the new media age with participation from researchers in children’s literature and literacy from Sweden, England, Germany and Denmark.  The lecture will also connect its theoretical points to trends in the development of library services for children and young adults in Denmark (e.g. based on the governmental committee work “Fremtidens biblioteksbetjening af børn” [Future Library Services for Children], in which Helene was a research member).


Høyrup Children’s Literature Courses (one credit courses; there may still be student places in the courses for registration)

LIBR 522K: Children’s Literature in a New Literacy Perspective (1 credit). Taught by Helene Høyrup. Saturday February 23 [1:00-5:00 and 6:00-9:00] in IBLC 191 and Friday March 15 [9:00-12:00/1:00-5:00] in SCARF 201. In this course students will learn about a number of aesthetic and narrative developments in contemporary children’s literature and about theories of how the new media landscape and digital culture interact with our notions of children’s literature. http://www.slais.ubc.ca/courses/coursdes/libr/libr522k.htm

LIBR 522M: Children’s Literature, Canon Formation, and Canonicity (1 credit). Taught by Helene Høyrup. Saturday March 9 [9:00-12:00/1:00-5:00] and March 23 [9:00-12:00/1:00-5:00] in IBLC 191. In this course students will learn about theories and examples of canon formation and canonicity in relation to children’s literature. http://www.slais.ubc.ca/courses/coursdes/libr/libr522m.htm

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