CAMDEN – What might early comic strip series, like Buster Brown and Little Nemo in Slumberland, reveal about notions of American childhood? A Rutgers–Camden scholar in the nation’s first doctoral program in childhood studies will discuss her research during a free, public lecture in the largest library in the world.
Lara Saguisag of Manila, Philippines, a Swann Foundation Fellow, will discuss “’Secret Tracts’ of the Child’s Mind: Theorizing Childhood in Early American Fantasy Strips” at the Library of Congress, 12 p.m. Thursday, March 29. The nation’s oldest federal cultural institution, the Library of Congress holds more than 151 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Rutgers–Camden scholar’s lecture will take place in Dining Room A on the sixth floor of the library’s Madison Building.
Saguisag is investigating early 20th century comic strips’ treatment of children, thanks to the prestigious fellowship dedicated to caricature and cartoon. The $7,500 stipend supports scholarly work from a graduate or doctoral student and seeks to increase awareness and extend documentation of Library of Congress collections by encouraging fellows to use its resources during required two-week residencies and share their findings during public lectures.
A noted author of five children’s books that reflect her Filipino culture, the Rutgers–Camden student says this fellowship is allowing her to research and draft chapters of her book-length dissertation on the topic.
“My dissertation aims to address how kids are depicted in early comic strips, what assumptions are made about children, and what child-rearing lessons are embedded,” says Saguisag, a graduate of the University of the Philippines, Hollins University, and the New School.
Media Contact: Cathy K. Donovan