PhD Students CIRCL

(The photo shows Reading's Graduate School for Arts and Humanities where the PhDs have study and meeting spaces. Photo copyright: Professor Klaus Meyer, used by kind permission)
(The photo shows Reading's Graduate School for Arts and Humanities where the PhDs have study and meeting spaces. Photo copyright: Professor Klaus Meyer, used by kind permission)

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:

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.

Professor Karin Lesnik-Oberstein 

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 constructions of time in children’s literature.
Hanne Kouwenberg, researching children’s literature and specific aspects of constructions of childhood and fantasy.
Krissie Hunt, researching psychoanalysis and critical theory.
Sai (Natthavimol) Wangsittikul, researching constructions of violence in children’s literature.

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.

[PhD Helen]
Former PhD student Helen Ainslie completing her PhD here!

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: or see the CIRCL-Japan web-page on this site for further information.

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