Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hoiem presented her research at the Children's Literature Association conference (ChLA 2019), which was held June 13-15 in Indianapolis. With the theme "Activism and Empathy," this year's conference reflected on the role of children and children's literature in engaging with political concerns, promoting activism, and/or cultivating empathy.
In her talk, "Fair Trade for Children: Ethical Exchange in the Children's Literature of Jane Marcet and the 19th Century Cooperative Movement," Hoiem discussed representations of economic justice in children’s literature from 1800 to 1860.
"Scholars have previously assessed literature by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Tonna, Harriet Martineau, and Elizabeth Gaskell about industrialization and political economy," Hoiem said. "My approach, however, places children at the center of these ethical debates—as readers and consumers, but also as children who worked alongside adults to produce goods for trade."
At ChLA 2019, Hoiem received the Judith Plotz Emerging Scholar Award and co-organized, with Katharine Kittredge (Ithaca College), an information event on archival research, which was sponsored by the "Early Children's Literature and Culture" scholars group.
Hoiem teaches in the areas of reading and literacy, history of children's literature, and fantasy literature. In her research and teaching, she explores the history of technological innovations in children’s literature, from early children’s books and toys to contemporary applications of digital pedagogy. She received a 2018 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship for her current book project, "The Education of Things: Mechanical Literacy in British Culture, 1752-1860." This project investigates the class politics of "object lessons," a mode of experiential learning that developed during the late-eighteenth and nineteenth centuries with the rise in child labor and mass literacy. Her recent articles are published in The Lion and the Unicorn and Children's Literature. Hoiem holds a PhD in English from Illinois.