Judith Plotz Emerging Scholar Award

The Judith Plotz Emerging Scholar Award Committee is pleased to recognize Elizabeth Hoiem as the 2019 Judith Plotz Emerging Scholar for her article entitled, “Radical Cross-Writing for Working Children: Toward a Bottom-up History of Children’s Literature,” published in The Lion and the Unicorn. In this beautifully written piece, Hoiem challenges the accepted historical narrative of children’s literature’s emergence as a middle-class genre. In the movements to reform child labor and factory conditions in 1830s England, Hoiem finds a tradition of cross-writing, as radical working-class writers addressed children together with adults in unexpected ways. Moving deftly between localized political contexts and broader historical claims about child empowerment and social class, Hoiem expands the boundaries of the children’s literature archive to include texts used by working-class children. Political handbills, for example, gave working children agency as they documented capitalist injustices inherent in child labor and the factory system. By bringing attention to texts used by children but not usually considered children’s literature, Hoiem contributes to growing interests in childhood studies in the nineteenth century and beyond.

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