Semester of Graduation

Summer 2021

Degree

Master of Education (MEd)

Department

Curriculum and Instruction

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Didier T. Jaén in his 1980 essay, “Mysticism, Esoterism, and Fantastic Literature” argues that fantasy is uniquely suited to reveal the “inexpressible real” (Bechtel, 2019), the background reality that elides language and yet is expressed in words (Le Guin, 1989). For the multilingual reader, there is dissonance when the “inexpressible real” is only expressed in monolingual language; the implicit argument made by monolingual fantasy is that the multilingual experience is not real, or cannot be real, even when anything might be possible (e.g. magic systems, advanced technology, folkloric legend). Sayatani DasGupta (2018), author of the Bengali folklore and string-theory inspired Kiranmala series, writes: “fantasy stories allow room to…imagine more just futures in which characters from marginalized identities do not just survive, but thrive”. This study is a critical content analysis (Johnson et al., 2017) of middle grade fantasy novels that use human languages other than English, published and marketed by the American publishing industry from 2012-2020. In Chapter One, I provide a review of the scholarly literature in multilingualism and children’s and young adult literature. In Chapter Two, I discuss my process for this study, beginning with critical content analysis and then exploring Critical Multicultural Analysis (Botelho & Rudman, 2009), New Materialist Theory, and Postcolonial Criticism. In Chapter Three, I apply Agatha Beins’ (2018) theory of the publishing assemblage to the children’s publishing industry. In Chapter Four, I analyze language use in the six core texts of the study using Critical Multicultural Analysis informed by New Materialist theories of the object and the non-human. In Chapter Five, I apply semantic field analysis grounded in Postcolonial Criticism to the six texts, exploring how language, resistance, and magic are in conversation with one another. I conclude with a review of my findings and suggestions for further research.

Committee Chair

Bach, Jaqueline

Available for download on Wednesday, June 21, 2028

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