Before we start with the new year and more outstanding young academic professionals to come, we look back at our last international guests in 2021. We are so grateful that we were able to welcome so many fellows this year – despite still struggling with the ongoing pandemic. Overall, 17 fellows from 14 countries visited us in 2021. Thank you to every single one of you!
Dr. Laleh Atashi, an Assistant Professor of English Literature at Shiraz University, Iran, came to the International Youth Library at the beginning of September. During her studies six years ago, Laleh became interested in children’s literature and later on in comparative literature.
Her project is therefore a Comparative Analysis of Picture Book Adaptations of Cinderella in Iran and in English-speaking Countries. Laleh focuses on the representations of girlhood and the way it is reconstructed in fairytale retelling. She chose Cinderella because the story is still in circulation in different parts of the world and is still playing a role in shaping tales.
Laleh says that she had a wonderful experience during her first stay in Europe. To be able to live in a forest and work in a castle with supportive and kind people made her stay in Munich very valuable. We wish Laleh all the best for her future research on Iranian folklore with the focus on female body and society and wish to welcome her back any time!
JoAnn Conrad from the US came to the IYL to deepen her research on German publishers that immigrated to the US in the early 20th century to publish children’s material and thereby shaped children’s and youth literature in this region. These findings are particularly interesting in tracing the evolution of children’s and young adult literature over the years.
In addition to teaching at the State University in California, JoAnn primarily engages in research. Only after a few years, it occurred to her that there are fundamental connections between the US history of immigration and the numbers of publishers that immigrated from Germany. The material that the German publishers released back then in the US, now tells the story of how children’s literature evolved in the US.
Like Laleh, JoAnn also loves the fact that being a fellow at the International Youth Library means to live in a forest and work in a castle. Like a little fairytale world, as she calls it. She appreciates the library for the possibility of intense research with no distractions. Her time at the IYL provided her with more information and made a whole new layer of information available to her. We are intrigued to see what the future holds for JoAnn!
Lidong Xiang is originally from China but is currently a PhD Student at Rutgers University in Berkeley, USA. Her dissertation that she worked on during her stay is titled “The Oppressed and the Rebellious: Cultural Imaginaries of Chinese Urban Girlhood”, which she plans on finishing by May 2023.
Her research focuses on depictions of Chinese schoolgirls and their special experiences, mostly in Chinese student novels in an urban setting. By critical reading of the texts, she hopes to investigate how the represented urban reviews its underlining and ongoing regulations of rules. She hereby examines the ways in which girls are negotiating and even resisting these special disciplines.
During her first trip to Munich and Germany, Lidong enjoyed the colorful and sunny fall season and the snowy December a lot. Her tip for everyone coming here in autumn: An outdoor jacket is of great necessity! She says that the IYL was such a cosy and professional place to visit and to do research. We hope to see you again soon, Lidong!