Professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein, MA (Bristol), MA (Amsterdam), PGCE (Amsterdam), PhD (Bristol)
Director of CIRCL and Coordinator of the M(Res.) in Children’s Literature
Karin Lesnik-Oberstein has taught Children’s Literature to undergraduates and post-graduates at the universities of Oxford, Roehampton, Warwick, and Reading. Her research interests are in critical theory, cultural studies, and feminist theory. Karin’s publications in the field include:
Published by Palgrave publishers in 2015 is CIRCL’s new volume, edited, introduced and first chapter by Professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein and including chapters by other CIRCL members including Dr Sue Walsh and Dr Neil Cocks: Rethinking Disability Theory and Practice: Challenging Essentialism.
|Children’s Literature: Criticism and the Fictional Child
Clarendon Press, 1994, repr. 2000.
|Children in Culture: Approaches to Childhood
as editor and contributor, Macmillan (now Palgrave)/ St Martin’s Press, 1998,
now available on demand from the publisher; with contributions from other CIRCL members.
|‘Children in Literature’, volume 32 of the ‘Yearbook of English Studies’
as editor and contributor, Maney Publishing for the Modern Humanities Research Association, 2002; with contributions from other CIRCL members.
|Children’s Literature: New Approaches
as editor and contributor, with contributions from other CIRCL members.
|The Last Taboo: Women and Body Hair
as editor and contributor, with contributions from other CIRCL members
Manchester University Press, 2006.The Last Taboo is also in paperback (republished in paperback in 2011)!See now in 2018 the first advert showing hair on women’s bodies before shaving!
|On Having an Own Child: Reproductive Technologies and the Cultural Construction of Childhood, Karnac Books, 2008.|
|Children in Culture, Revisited: Further Approaches to Childhood as editor and contributor, with contributions from other CIRCL members. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011.|
Karin’s articles and chapters in the field include:
‘Defining Children’s Literature and Childhood’ in: Peter Hunt (ed.), The International Companion Encyclopaedia of Children’s Literature, Routledge, 1996.
‘Children’s Literature and the Environment’, in: Neil Sammels and Richard Kerridge (eds), Writing the Environment, Zed Books, 1997.
‘The Body of the Child in Dutch and English Children’s Literature’ in: Cedric Brown and Therese Fischer-Seidel (eds), Cultural Negotiations: Sichtweisen des Anderen, A. Francke Verlag, Tubingen, (Germany), 1998.
‘Fantasy, Literature,and Childhood: In Pursuit of Wonderlands’, in: Barbara White and Ceri Sullivan (eds), Writing Fantasy, Longman, 1999.
The editing and introducing (with Tony Watkins and Catriona Nicholson) of the January 1999 volume (23.1) of The Lion and the Unicorn on ‘Contemporary British Children’s Literature’.
‘The Psychopathology of Everyday Children’s Literature Criticism’, in: Cultural Critique, vol. 45, Autumn 2000, 222-42.
‘Oliver Twist: The Narrator’s Tale’, in: Textual Practice, March 2001, 87-100.
(co-authored with Dr Stephen Thomson): ‘What is Queer Theory Doing with the Child?’, in: Parallax, vol. 8, no. 1, 2002, 35-46.
‘Holiday House: Grist to The Mill on the Floss or Childhood as Text’, in: ‘Children in Literature’ ,special section of The Yearbook of English Studies, ed. Karin Lesnik-Oberstein, Volume 32, Number 1, 1 January 2002 , pp. 77-94.
‘On “Wanting a Child”, or: An Idea of Desire’, in: Indeterminate Bodies, eds. Naomi Segal, Lib Taylor and Roger Cook, Palgrave, 2003.
‘The Philosophical Investigations’ Children’, in Educational Philosophy and Theory, 4:35, October 2003, 381-94.
‘The Owned Child and Commodification’, in New Antigone, 1:1, October 2005, 20-7.
‘Childhood, Queer Theory, and Feminism’ in Feminist Theory, 11:3, December 2010, 309-21.
‘Motherhood, Evolutionary Psychology and Mirror Neurons or: “Grammar is Politics by Other Means”‘, in Feminist Theory, May 2015, doi: 10.1177/1464700115586514
‘Children’s Literature: Sexual Identity, Gender and Childhood’, in BREAC (this article can be read for free online at this link), 2016.
‘Gender, childhood and children’s literature: the CIRCL approach’, Asian Women, 32 (2), 2016, pp. 1-26. ISSN 1225-925X doi: 10.14431/aw.2016.06.32.2.1
Karin Lesnik-Oberstein teaches the Theory Core Course of the M(Res.) in Children’s Literature, convenes the Myth and Folktale option module and contributes to the Nineteenth Century Children’s Literature core course. She is also the designer and web-mistress of this web-site.
Karin being awarded the Faculty Student Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning 2010 (on 1st July 2010). Karin was also awarded the Reading Student Union Excellence in Teaching Award as Personal Tutor in 2015.
E-mail address: K.B.Lesnik-Oberstein@reading.ac.uk
Sara Zadrozny (then: Sara Broad), CIRCL MA 2003-4
'The Children’s Literature MA has aided my development of extensive academic skills and has introduced me to complex and fascinating theoretical approaches, which can be used to question supposedly obvious or accepted ideas encountered not just in Children’s Literature but across all types of literature. However, I also feel the MA has provided me with some essential skills including problem-identifying and solving by working out the implications and effects of the claims made by others, ...Gemma Budd, CIRCL MA 2010-11
“I thoroughly enjoyed the course. Always challenging, the course approached and encouraged me to deal with many issues in a rigorously academic way. The work on the course was always innovative and now I can see how the course changed the way I can think about problems and solutions in both academic and non-academic contexts. I would recommend this course to anyone who wants to deal with their own and other’s assumptions in a thoughtful and explorative way."Christopher Johnson, CIRCL MA 2015-2016
'With great support from the tutors and friends I have had a wonderful year in exploring and reconsidering the way I have been thinking all my life. In many ways it is my personal journey during which I have learnt a lot, not only about how to (or not to) find an answer but also about how to raise a question. As an international student I would like to say that the MA is very challenging, yet very liberating.'Sireethorn (Pam) Simawathna, CIRCL MA 2012-13
'My undergraduate degree was English Literature with Education Studies at the University of Cambridge and as part of that course I took a module in Children's Literature and absolutely loved it. I therefore decided to research MA courses so that I could further develop my interest. I was advised by my tutors at Cambridge that the most rigorous course was the one offered by the University of Reading and I was thrilled to be offered a place. During the MA the tutors were friendly and support...Hannah Smith (now: Anglin-Jaffe), CIRCL MA 2001-2, CIRCL PhD 2005
"My masters with CIRCL has increased my confidence and my critical thinking skills monumentally. At the conclusion of this course and with the support of the lecturers and my course mates I now work for an academic publisher in a senior role of Marketing Manager. Not only is CIRCL an academic challenge, but it is also a community, as a part time student I have been able to meet two cohorts of students, both of which have had incredible, individual and inspiring individuals within. The cour...Katy Corderoy, MA 2017-19
My one year’s visit in CIRCL is the most rewarding academic experience that I have ever had. I found the [M(Res.)] seminars very stimulating. With “positive reinforcement”, all the participants are encouraged and involved. I am always encouraged and inspired by the discussions that were held in the seminars, which are though-provoking and very interactive, heated sometimes yet always in a very pleasant and harmonious atmosphere. I am greatly indebted to Karin, Neil and Sue for their wonder...JIANG Jianli (Tina), Associate Professor, Qingdao Technological University, China, CIRCL Academic Visiting Fellow 2016-17
Dr Evdokia (Kia) Michalopoulou, CIRCL MA, CIRCL PhD
Dr Haiya Dong, CIRCL Visiting Scholar 2018-19 Interview
'The Reading MA in Children's Literature was a stimulating and thoroughly enjoyable experience for me. The course is intellectually demanding and wide-ranging in its approach to the field of children's literature and its cultural context. Though it focuses on the child in literature it is not restrictive. Many of the issues raised during the course of study are pertinent to all kinds of literature. There are ample opportunities for students to engage in discussion and to make their own con...Hilary Fraser, CIRCL MA 1999-2000, CIRCL PhD 2009
Lisa Stallard, CIRCL MA 2011-12
'I gained much more than I had expected from the MA. The course was not just about children's literature; it led me to reconsider the way I read, think, and argue. It prepared me for my PhD research and had an influence on my whole life. I can sincerely say that the MA in Children's Literature at Reading is worth attending, even if you need to travel all the way from the other side of the earth (which is more or less what I did, as an international student).'Yuko Ashitagawa, CIRCL MA 2001-2, CIRCL PhD 2002-5
The [M(Res)] seminars I attended in CIRCL during my one year’s visit are always inspiring and profound, which have greatly improved my research skills and changed my mindset for doing research in children’s literature. The seminars taught me to find the perspectives in the text we analysed and develop my own judgment, which is the most challenging yet most rewarding thing in doing research. From my own experience as a teacher, such seminars are most effective in forging critical and indepe...XU Derong (David), Associate Professor, Ocean University of China, CIRCL Academic Visiting Fellow, 2016-17
'Studying the Children’s Literature MA at Reading was a hugely challenging and rewarding experience for me. When I began the course I had no idea how much my own thinking, reading and argument would develop, so much so that by the end I considered continuing with a PhD. A year after completing the MA I won University Studentship funding to undertake a PhD at CIRCL. I would recommend the Children’s Literature MA to anybody who wishes to develop their critical thinking in any subject area, n...Helen Ainslie, CIRCL MA 2004-5, CIRCL PhD 2006-9
'I was nervous doing the course as a part-time student as I worried that I may be at a disadvantage. This was definitely not the case. The course is structured so well, and the support I received from [the MA staff] Karin, Neil and Sue (as well as the other students over both years) ensured that I was given the same opportunities, guidance and experience as everyone else. I have really enjoyed this degree and I can see that it has changed the way I think. I would recommend it to anyone who...Samantha Horsfield, CIRCL MA 2011-13 (part-time)