English literature Dissertation ideas?!?

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na143143
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I’ve just finished my second year of university and starting on thinking of some ideas for dissertation...but I can’t think of anything at all! I’m thinking of going into teaching and doing something that is children’s literature related perhaps??? Any ideas/suggestions would be much appreciated please.
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Stacie-Mai
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Role of reading growing up. Perks of learning english and another language and how if effects young people?
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BridgeHouseGlasgow
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Heya,

I would have a search for journals on Children's literature or books with a variety of essays on the topic e.g. a Cambridge Companion to Children's Literature if such a thing exists. Have a read of these to help get a sense of some of the general schools of thought on the topics. Another option is to start with the texts themselves - think about the children's literature you have studied and enjoyed and the topics within that that get you really interested.

The main thing with a dissertation is to pick a topic you can really sit with for a long time that is going to constantly engage you and something which offers a unique contribution to knowledge i.e. it's not readily written about elsewhere. That could be picking different texts that aren't often studied e.g. some very new Children's Literature or some little known publications, or applying a well-known theory or school of thought to some new texts. For example, a feminist reading of a children's text primarily aimed at boys, for example.

Also, I studied at Glasgow University and there was a specific course on Children's Literature and I believe other universities do Masters courses on the topic. I would try and get the reading list for these courses online; that should be about to point you in the right direction.

You've got plenty of time so it's really a case of reading widely, challenging yourself, and thinking about what you could work on for a long period of time, in-depth.

I hope this helps - any more questions, just ask!

Lilith
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SHUGURU
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(Original post by na143143)
I’ve just finished my second year of university and starting on thinking of some ideas for dissertation...but I can’t think of anything at all! I’m thinking of going into teaching and doing something that is children’s literature related perhaps??? Any ideas/suggestions would be much appreciated please.
Hey!

Although I don't take English lit (I took lang), my course did a module called English in education. This sounds like something you might be interested in if you do want to write about these topics, because there was a lot of information about different types of teachers and readers, which you could then link to some examples of children's literature, evaluating how it might encourage different types of readers or be interpreted by them?

Unfortunately I don't have the module plan/readings otherwise I'd send them on. You've got lots of time though!

I'd definitely recommend speaking to some of your tutors about your ideas too - it's never too early to chat with them.

Ellie
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The Empire Odyssey
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(Original post by na143143)
I’ve just finished my second year of university and starting on thinking of some ideas for dissertation...but I can’t think of anything at all! I’m thinking of going into teaching and doing something that is children’s literature related perhaps??? Any ideas/suggestions would be much appreciated please.
What kind of teaching; primary or secondary?

Both my previous unis always told students to shy away from children's literature as it's not intellectual/hard enough.

I would perhaps do something else if I were you. Your dissertation will not help you get into teaching whatsoever, especially if you're considering a PGCE anyway.

Three things you can look into to help you research:

Thematic study: Gothic, supernatural, death and sex, human animal, poverty, madness and insanity, climate fiction, identity, etc. Thematic study is all about exploring a certain theme within a close range of one another so your lit diss can flow from chapter to chapter.

Timeline/Historical contextual study: Victorian, WW1, Cold War British lit, Beat Generation, Post 9/11 lit, Slave Narratives, Great Depression, Civil Rights lit, AIDs 1981-5 literature, etc. You'd look at how the historical period influenced literature from that historical time.

Author study: Austen, Dickens, Steinbeck, Fitzgerald, Zadie Smith, Bret Easton Ellis, Burroughs, Waugh, Conrad, John Christopher, Dickenson, Duffy, Churchill, etc. Literally looking at an author's work and its related problems, similarities, themes etc.

For my diss I did something completely unexpected which was looking at how the literary trope of the "Other" was used in British Cold War literature. I didn't know anything about British 1950-60s literature, Cold War literature/politics/history, etc. But found it very rewarding learning something new and totally independent on what I had studied before.

Be daring and original. Not to say you can't do this with children's literature, but this genre of academic study is limited.
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