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ERIC Number: ED534739
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Pages: 231
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1249-5887-3
Reading and Seeing Themselves: Boys of Color and Textual (Non-)Connection
Sciurba, Katie
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, New York University
The discourse on multicultural literature has focused on providing children of color opportunities to "see themselves" in the texts they read. Since the 1920s, advocates like W.E.B. DuBois have stressed that "visibility" in literature fosters positive psychological development among underrepresented groups of children, in addition to promoting equality among "all" children. As such, multicultural children's literature has served an important role in Civil Rights movements within educational contexts. Today, however, the importance of visibility is conflated with the importance of being able to "connect" with or "relate" to texts; in other words, the essentialist presumption is that "seeing" one's cultural (understood as racial or ethnic) group represented in a given text will enable the reader to identify and engage with the material. Boys of color are essentialized further by their male identities, which confine their textual interests to heteronormalized "boy" books. This study interrogates the ways in which 13 adolescent boys at a single-sex school in New York City situate themselves in relation to these raced and gendered assumptions. Through a series of semistructured interviews, the Black, Latino, and Asian boys who participated revealed that "textual connection," or the ability to "relate" to a text, is a complex negotiation determined at once by the reader's personal history and identity, as well as his very understanding of what it means to "see" himself in a story. By incorporating the boys' distinctions between literature as a "mirror" of one's own life and literature as a "window" to others' lives, this study intends to extend Rosenblatt's (1995) "transaction" theory and to offer an alternative to the manner in which texts are presumed to be relevant to children of color. As such, scholars, educators, publishers, and policy makers may come closer to attaining a truly empowering literary equity. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York