Interview with PhD Student Karla Lucht: Children’s Literature about Mixed-Race Asian Americans/Canadians

Posted in Articles, Asian Diaspora, Canada, Interviews, Literary/Artistic Criticism, Media Archive, United States on 2013-02-20 04:40Z by Steven

Interview with PhD Student Karla Lucht: Children’s Literature about Mixed-Race Asian Americans/Canadians

The Center for Children’s Books
Graduate School of Library and Information Science
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
February 2013

Tad Andracki, CCB Outreach Coordinator

“Everyone deserves to see themselves represented in a book. And a good book at that.”

GSLIS doctoral student Karla Lucht visited the School of Library, Archival, and Information Studies at the University of British Columbia as part of the iSchool Doctoral Student Exchange Program in November 2012. The CCB decided to meet with Karla to discuss her trip and her research. Lucht describes her research as looking at the representations of mixed-race Asian Americans and Canadians in youth literature with a critical race theory lens.

Why do you see your research as important to the field of youth services and children’s literature? Why is it important?

To start with, there’s a gap in this research with lots of underrepresented groups, but with mixed-race people especially. Everyone deserves to see themselves represented in a book… and a good book at that. In the past, we’ve seen some books about mixed-race people, but a lot of them weren’t good. I’m trying to fill in those gaps.

What are some challenges you see in your particular field of research? What are some opportunities?

One primary challenge is just finding titles, especially using subject headings. The Library of Congress Subject Heading that’s closest to my work is Racially Mixed People–Fiction, which isn’t very descriptive. I’ve been sifting through books with that heading. I’m also trying other keywords—adoption, immigration, multiracial, multiethnic, multicultural–and then looking at the books to see if they have the content I’m interested in.

Another problem is that, especially in the late 1980s and the 90s, a lot of the YA books on this topic are a bit problematic and poorly written. You find books that really invest in Othering a character’s Asian side and putting whiteness on a pedestal. In those books, the character vists the Asian side of the family, and it’s always a big problem–the Asianness is “too weird” or something…

Read the entire interview here.

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