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ENH2145 - The Postcolonial Child: Australian Children's Books 1950-2000

6 points, SCA Band 1, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Arts

Leader: TBA


Not offered in 2007


Unit examines the development of Australian children's literature from 1950 to the present. Texts are analysed to consider such phenomena as the uses of landscape, the rise of the sub-genres of picture story books, speculative fantasy and young adult fiction, the function of nationalist and civic discourses, the influence of pedagogic theory and institutionalised award systems, changing representations of Aboriginal people and Aboriginality within a postcolonial context, and ideologies of growing up. Using such theoretical approaches as new historicism, feminism, semiotics and cultural studies, we will consider discourses of childhood, gender and race politics, and aspects of narratology.


Students successfully completing this unit should develop:

  1. Knowledge and an understanding of the historic contexts and the development of the main genres of postcolonial Australian children's literature.
  2. Knowledge and an understanding of specifically Australian constructs of childhood and implied child readers.
  3. A critical understanding of the ways in which adult and child readers learn to construct cultural paradigms, particularly national identity, through their reading.
  4. Critical skills pertaining to postcolonial theories, narratology and discourse analysis.


Essay (2250 words): 50%
Test (2250 words): 50%

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week


A first-year sequence in English, Literary Studies or Cultural Studies or permission.