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International Scholar to Explore Children's Literature at University of Worcester

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A renowned scholar from Canada is exploring the ways in which children's literature treats national identity and citizenship, during a nine-month project at the University of Worcester.

Dr Benjamin LefebvreDr Benjamin Lefebvre has joined the University from the Centre for Research in Young People's Texts and Cultures at the University of Winnipeg, as a Leverhulme Visiting Fellow.

He will be based in the University of Worcester's Institute of Humanities and Creative Arts, specifically in the International Centre for Research in Children's Literature, Literacy and Creativity.

Dr Lefebvre will be working on a project comparing discourses of national identity in British and North American children's literature, television and film post-1970.

“If you take Harry Potter for example,” Dr Lefebvre said. “The books themselves are unmistakably British, and so are all the actors in the films based on them. But the films are produced by Warner Bros, an American corporation that also owns the trademark 'Harry Potter' and controls the merchandising rights attached to the property. So who 'owns' Harry Potter - the British author or the American corporation? It really depends on which version of the text you're talking about.”

The University was awarded a grant from the Leverhulme Trust. The Leverhulme Trust was established in 1925 under the will of the first Lord Leverhulme. It is one of the largest all-subject providers of research funding in the UK, distributing funds of some £50 million every year.

Professor Jean Webb, Director of the University of Worcester’s International Centre for Research in Children's Literature, Literacy and Creativity, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Benjamin Lefebvre from Canada as the Leverhulme Research Fellow for 2009-2010.

“His expertise will enhance the work of the Centre and feed into the development of international research projects. Professor Mavis Reimer, Canada Research Chair in the Culture of Childhood and Director of the Centre for Research in Young People’s Texts and Culture at the University of Winnipeg, was central to Dr Lefebvre’s appointment and will be visiting Worcester in the New Year. We look forward to a positive and productive time when international research and collaboration will be strengthened and expanded.”