Hoiem recognized for outstanding humanities research

Elizabeth Hoiem
Elizabeth Hoiem, Assistant Professor

Assistant Professor Elizabeth Hoiem has received the Humanities Research Institute (HRI) Prize for Best Faculty Research for her paper, "The Progress of Sugar: Consumption as Complicity in Children’s Books about Slavery and Manufacturing, 1790-2015." The award recognizes outstanding humanities research by a faculty member at the University of Illinois.

In her paper, which was published in Children's Literature in Education in June 2021, Hoiem analyzes "production stories," a genre of books and media that teaches how everyday things are made. Since they started in the eighteenth century, children's production stories have evolved from picturebooks to TV episodes and web video series. Hoiem focuses on stories of sugar production in her paper and accompanying web resource, Production Stories.

Hoiem will present at the Children's Literature Association’s annual conference in June, proposing a collaborative book-length project on production stories.

"Working with other scholars, I would like to cover essential materials, such as coal, plastic, water, and bread, which have been the subject of children's books for centuries, and which have shaped our concepts of childhood," she said. "Books about these commodities raise ethical questions concerning labor, consumption, and environmental justice."

In her research and teaching, Hoiem explores the history of technological innovations in children’s literature, from early children's books and toys to contemporary applications of digital pedagogy. Her current book project, The Education of Things: Mechanical Literacy in British Children's Literature, 1760-1860 (supported by an NEH fellowship) uses children's literature, toys, automata, and textbooks to investigate the history of class politics in experiential education. Her recent articles address the politics of translating children's Robinsonades after the French Revolution, 1830s Radical texts written for child workers, and nineteenth-century information books for children.

Updated on
Backto the news archive

Related News

Lee selected for leadership institute

MS/LIS student Kyra Lee had the opportunity to network with leaders in the LIS field at the 2022 Black Caucus American Library Association (BCALA) Leadership Institute. At the inaugural event, which took place from April 12-14 in Durham, North Carolina, LIS students and early career library professionals gathered for workshops, panels, facilitated discussions, and presentations. Lee was one of eighteen students selected to participate in the institute.

Kyra Lee

2021 Downs Intellectual Freedom Awards given to #FReadom Fighters and ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom staff

For libraries and librarians, 2021 was an especially challenging year in terms of the increase in attempts at censorship. According to the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Intellectual Freedom, the number of challenges to library materials more than tripled from 2020 to 2021. In addition, current estimates show that 82 to 97 percent of challenges go unreported, suggesting that the total number of challenges are significantly greater.

#FReadom Fighter logo

New project to improve health of patients with kidney failure

There are approximately 600,000 individuals in the U.S. who are undergoing hemodialysis (HD) therapy for kidney failure. In hemodialysis, a machine filters wastes, salts, and fluid from the blood when an individual's kidneys are no longer healthy enough to do this work adequately. While lifestyle changes such as getting more exercise and making better nutritional choices would benefit HD patients, they are not popular with patients—leading to poor health outcomes. A new project, led by Assistant Professor Jessie Chin, aims to boost HD patients' commitment to exercise through a long-term motivational interviewing conversational agent (LotMintBot).

Jessie Chin

iSchool alumni named 2022 Movers & Shakers

Five iSchool alumni are included in Library Journal’s 2022 class of Movers & Shakers, an annual list that recognizes 41 professionals who are moving the library field forward as a profession. Jeanie Austin (PhD '17) was honored in the Advocates category, Van McGary (MS/LIS '18) was honored in the Change Agents category, Elisandro Cabada (MS/LIS '17) and Robin Davis (MS/LIS '12) were honored in the Innovators category, and Barbara Alvarez (MS/LIS '12) was honored in the Educators category.

Spectrum Scholar Spotlight: Brandi Hart

Eight iSchool master's students were named 2021-2022 Spectrum Scholars by the American Library Association (ALA) Office for Diversity, Literacy, and Outreach Services. This "Spectrum Scholar Spotlight" series highlights the School's scholars. MS/LIS student Brandi Hart earned her BA degree in history and classical studies from Denison University.

Brandi Hart