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dc.contributor.authorMcLeod, Cynthia Anne
dc.description.abstractIn this arts-based multigenre dissertation, I explore representations of labor unions in 53 American novels for children and young adults. The selective tradition described by Raymond Williams (1977) offers a lens for analysis, explaining the process whereby versions of history that serve the interests of the dominant culture come to be viewed as logical or natural when, in fact, other competing versions can and do exist. I analyze depictions of class consciousness within the novels and identify specific topics that are missing or under-represented in the novels. My creative writing about the general textile strike of 1934 provides insight into ways in which alternate viewpoints might be silenced, and historical description of the strike explains how Georgia’s textile workers experienced the strike and its aftermath. Through autoethnographic pieces I examine my own developing awareness of the power and possibilities of story as a means of resisting the selective tradition. These novels provide opportunities to explore the neglected issue of social class in American children's literature. I argue that labor unions in children’s novels are historicized in ways that weaken their connection with the present and suggest that the problems unions seek to remedy were resolved long ago. The overwhelming majority of the books are historical fiction, and their representations of labor are far more sympathetic than those of the six contemporary novels. The novels focus on aspects of labor that situate it in the past, so that young readers lack contemporary portrayals of organized labor. Analysis of these texts is useful in understanding how issues such as class and the possibilities of collective action play out in literature for young people. The current economic crisis during which millions of workers have lost jobs or suffered cuts to their wages demonstrates the continued relevance of labor issues and organizations in the 21st century.
dc.subjectArts-based research
dc.subjectChildren’s literature
dc.subjectLabor unions
dc.subjectSocial class
dc.title"Do we look like outlaws?"
dc.title.alternativerepresentations of labor unions in American children's novels
dc.description.departmentLanguage and Literacy Education
dc.description.majorLanguage Education
dc.description.advisorJoel Taxel
dc.description.committeeJoel Taxel
dc.description.committeeMelisa Cahnmann-Taylor
dc.description.committeeJobeth Allen

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