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Just like everyone else : the knowledge/ignorance binary in censorship and lesbian and gay picturebooks

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Title: Just like everyone else : the knowledge/ignorance binary in censorship and lesbian and gay picturebooks
Author: Beveridge, Lian Judith
Degree Doctor of Philosophy - PhD
Program Cross-Faculty Inquiry in Education
Copyright Date: 2012
Publicly Available in cIRcle 2012-08-21
Abstract: In this dissertation I analyse lesbian and gay picturebooks and the discourse of a censorship challenge to these books. I take a deconstructive approach to the material, using queer theory, children’s literature criticism and children’s culture theory to analyse the ways in which the knowledge/ignorance and adult/child binaries are reinscribed and undone in these discourses. I focus on absences of LGBT-specific language, physical bodies, difference and non-normative gender identities in the picturebooks, and analyse a wide range of media in a challenge in Lexington, Massachusetts which began in 2005. I argue that both the books and the discourse of the challenge have the effect of reinscribing a construction of the ideal child as ignorant and asexual. This conceptualisation of childhood dismisses actual children’s ability to absorb, challenge or disseminate knowledge, and refuses to offer them possibilities of non-normative genders and sexualities for their lives. I argue that, due to the focus on sexuality and the unavoidably pedagogical nature of children’s literature, the picturebooks inherently trouble the knowledge/ignorance binary. Due to this disruptive condition the normalising politics of the picturebooks are inadequate to prevent the books from becoming controversial. Queer picturebooks that resisted normalisation and represented real difference would better respect the intellectual and emotional needs of child readers.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/42990
Scholarly Level: Graduate

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