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AMA: Dainy Bernstein, PhD in American Haredi Children’s Literature

I’ve recently defended my dissertation titled Reading the World: American Haredi Children’s Literature, 1980-2000. The dissertation is the first full-length study of this corpus of texts, and I spoke to several authors and publishers to get a complete story of how Haredi children’s publishing developed from the first book in 1980 through 2000 (Yaffa Ganz, Miriam Stark Zakon, Shmuel Blitz, Yossi Leverton, Liat Benyamini Ariel).

In addition to simply telling the story of American Haredi children’s literature’s development, I also examine the kinds of literacy that this corpus of texts builds: literacies of text (how to read a text, including ideas about layout on the page, who has authority in any given text, and critical engagement with a text), literacies of language (how to incorporate English and Hebrew in making sense of the world), literacies of space (how to read the world around them, with a focus on home and community), and literacies of time (how to read calendar time and history though a particularly Jewish and Haredi lens).

I’ve worked on the Bais Yaakov Project in the past, though the project has now passed into other hands due to getting funding from the University of Toronto.

I’m working on a digital database and exhibit space for Haredi children’s texts and material culture (things like children’s siddurim, toys, Gedolim Cards and Torah Cards, etc). I don’t have funding for that yet, so it’s still in early stages.

Other things I have some knowledge about: medieval British romances; medieval British childhood and adolescence; medieval Ashkenazic childhood and adolescence; medieval Ashkenazic writing about the Crusades; contemporary mainstream children’s and YA literature; college writing and rhetoric; archives and archiving.

submitted by /u/prof_dainy
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Source: Reditt

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