PhD Students CIRCL
CIRCL supervisors welcome applications for PhD research from applicants who have an interest in advanced research in Children’s Literature, as well as in literary and cultural studies in general. Please contact them by e-mail to describe your project, to see if it would be suitable for supervision at CIRCL. For general University guidelines on how to write a research proposal for an application, please go to: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/graduateschool/writing_a_research_proposal_for_application.pdf
For information on fees, please go to the University web-site post-graduate fees page.
CIRCL PhD graduates have gone on to achieve academic careers at the Universities of Reading, Roehampton, Plymouth, Exeter and East Anglia, as well as at Bunkyo University in Japan.
Present PhD Students and their Supervisors and Projects
CIRCL has a large and active group of PhD students, both full and part-time and both home, EU and overseas. Most CIRCL PhD students complete the CIRCL M(Res) in Children’s Literature before they start on the CIRCL PhD in order to have already addressed and worked through significant issues and questions to have the best preparation for PhD research. Many CIRCL PhD students research in areas other than children’s literature or childhood because of the transdisciplinary critical theory which is CIRCL’s main focus.
Supervisor: Professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein:
Ian Mulholland, researching constructions of the mind and reading, also in relation to neuroscience.
Liz Harris, researching gender, childhood and the body.
Rebecca Lindsay, researching ideas of objecthood.
Alexander Hellens, researching ethnicity and/as identity.
Yuna Nam, researching picture books and ideas of vision.
Soma Das: researching aspects of constructions of childhood in reading and teaching.
Hanne Kouwenberg: researching children’s literature and specific aspects of constructions of childhood and fantasy.
Supervisor: Dr Neil Cocks:
Haleemah Ziarab, researching gender, class and ethnicity.
Kate Rhodes, researching construction of childhood in educational texts and practices.
Rachel Gauthier, researching fandom and computer games.
Supervisor: Dr Sue Walsh:
Sue is second supervisor to several of the PhD students listed above.
Past PhD students and their thesis abstracts
Dr Bonnie McGill: ‘Reading a formula(ting) of space(,)time and Quantum Mechanics’.
Dr Anindita Roy: ‘Reading Child[ren] of Words and Pictures in Picture Books for Children: Three Essays on Picture Book Research’.
Dr Krissie West: ‘”To Be Boy Eternal”: Locating the Child in the Literature and Criticism of Ralph Waldo Emerson’.
Dr Chris Milson: ‘On Translation: Reading, Representation, and the Desire to Know’.
Dr Jess Medhurst: ‘The Child in Charles Dodgson’s Photographs and Their Criticism: Subject, History, Body and Archive’
Dr Kia Michalopoulou: ‘The Case of the Purloined Child: Detective Fiction and Criticism’.
Dr Yu-Kuan Chen: ‘Objects of Vision: Text, Colour, Gesture’.
Dr Charlie (Charlotte) White: ‘The Child in Gothic’.
Dr Kirsty Pennicard-Wood: ‘Plotting the Plot: The Plot Unravelled’.
Dr Catrin Edwards: ‘Psychoanalysis Reading Psychoanalysis: Questions of Resistance and Interpretation’
Dr Hilary Fraser: ‘”Small Points of Difference”: the Child in Evolutionary Narratives’
Dr Helen Ainslie: ‘”Why Autism?” Perspectives, Communication, Community’
Dr Elisabeth Eldridge: ‘”In the Beginning was the Word”?: Quoting God and constructing the Child Reader in contemporary retellings of biblical narratives for children’
Dr Louise Tondeur: ‘Reading Hair Queer’
Dr Sarah Spooner: ‘Knowing its Place? Language and Landscape in Arthur Ransome’
Dr Hannah Smith (from January 2011 married name: Dr Hannah Anglin-Jaffe): ‘Signs, Text, Truth: Constructions of Deafness’
Dr Yuko Ashitagawa: ‘Reading and Writing the Primitive: Written Oralities and Fairy-Tale Studies’
After her graduation in 2005, Yuko set up a branch of CIRCL in Japan. If you are interested in joining CIRCL-Japan’s meetings, do e-mail Yuko at: email@example.com or see the CIRCL-Japan web-page on this site for further information.
'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)
'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
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
Dr Evdokia (Kia) Michalopoulou, CIRCL MA, CIRCL PhD
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
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
'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
“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
'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
Sara Zadrozny (then: Sara Broad), CIRCL MA 2003-4
'Studying the MA in Children's Literature was an excellent introduction to and preparation for academic practice and further research as it provided me with an opportunity to engage in discussions surrounding the issues addressed by current researchers during CIRCL seminars in a nurturing and supportive environment.'Catrin Edwards, CIRCL MA 2006-7, CIRCL PhD 2010
'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
'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
Dr Haiya Dong, CIRCL Visiting Scholar 2018-19 Interview