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ENH3135 - The Colonial Child: Australian Children's Books 1830-1950

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 in the colonial period from 1830 - 1950. Texts are analysed to consider such phenomena as the changing relationship between empire and colony, contradictory representations of Aboriginal people and Aboriginality, emigration propaganda, boy's own adventure narratives, the rise of militarism and nationalism, the emergence of ecoliterature, the influence of educational institutions, and the domestication and feminisation of children's books. 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 colonial 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%
Third-year students will be expected to demonstrate a higher degree of conceptualisation in their theoretical approach and more sophisticated analytic and interpretative skills.

Contact hours

2 hours (1 x 2 hour seminar) per week


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