An inaugural lecture (and a conference too!)

Inaugural-2.jpgNovember is an exciting month for the TeenFictions team. On the 9th, Stephanie Spencer will give the Inaugural Lecture at the University of Winchester marking her professorship. The lecture, entitled “School Stories: Histories of Education,” will explore some of the material we are using in the book project.

Nancy Rosoff will be presenting her paper, “‘The dormitory of their generous dreams’: Collaboration and Civic Engagement in the Marjorie Dean College and Post-Graduate novels,” at the annual conference of the History of Education Society (UK).


If it’s summer, there must be conferences

Both Stephanie and Nancy are presenting papers at conferences this summer.

JoanFosterEuropeStephanie offers a paper entitled “Independent  women:  education  and  economics  in  US  and  UK  early  twentieth  century,” which considers the relationship between education, economics and young women’s independence as it was presented to teenage readers of school and college fiction in the first fifty years of the twentieth century. This paper is part of the proceedings at the International Standing Committee on the History of Education (ISCHE) conference held in Buenos Aires.

coverNancy returns to the Camden campus of Rutgers University (where she worked for many years) to give a paper at the biennial conference of the Society for the History of Children and Youth (SHCY). Her paper, “Career Girls and Homemakers: Advice for High School Girls,” explores how the pages of Co-ed magazine served as a source of informal education for American teenage girls in the long 1950s as they began the transition from schoolgirl to career woman or homemaker.

Teenfictions Project featured in University of Winchester Research Gallery

Our project was included in an exhibition showcasing research at the University of Winchester. The exhibit featured in the university’s Research and Engagement Week program.  Information about our project is shown in the center poster in the group below.ResearchPosters

The project also features on a website called Images of Research.images-ofresearch1

Big news

marjbooksEarlier this year, we signed a book contract with Palgrave Macmillan.  We are both very excited for this next step in the project.  Our book is due in eighteen months and will offer a transnational perspective on the British and American school and college studies we have been studying. Ours is a thematic approach, tracing five key themes that emerge from these novels. We will keep you posted and you are most welcome to the book launch!

Upcoming presentations

November is a busy month for Stephanie and Nancy. They will be presenting separate papers at the annual UK History of Education Society’s annual conference, both drawing on materials related to this project.

Stephanie’s paper is entitled “‘If you want to get ahead get a hat’: Learning to dress for success. Nancy will present a paper called “Engaging the Senses: Co-ed Magazine as a Source of Informal Education.” Both papers will consider sources that provided instruction to teenage girls about fashion and appearance, as well as feminine conduct.

Three days later, the team pair up to offer “The Teen Fictions Project: An Introduction” to members of the Winchester Women Graduates, a branch of the British Federation of Women Graduates and members of the University of Winchester community. The talk is hosted by the Centre for the History of Women’s Education at Winchester.



Upcoming conference

Stephanie and Nancy will be presenting a paper entitled “Writing of the Body: gendering sickness and health in schoolgirl novels” at the International Standing Conference for the History of Education, Chicago, IL (USA) in August.




This paper will draw on the sources we are using in the Transnational Femininities project to consider the gendered nature of wellness and illness as it is written onto the bodies of the characters. We will discuss how physical strength and frailty serve as important markers in the plots of these books.  Moreover, we will explore how fictional sources served an educative role, raising readers’ awareness of contemporary concerns. In British and American school and college stories, the health and well-being of the students is an important theme. In the American tales, such as the Marjorie Dean series, basketball is the central physical activity, though there are references to golf and tennis, and the characters often take long walks in bucolic settings. Health, and illness, is an even more dominant theme in British stories, indeed the plotlines depend on it: there are frail students, illnesses and injuries that occur due to adventures on frozen lakes and perilous mountain paths, and ill relatives lurking in the background.

Technical difficulties

We are no longer able to access our previous site (the password stopped working), so here we are.  If you used to follow us at, please use this site going forward.  We promise the same sporadic updates, occasional pictures, and the joy we take in reading school and college fiction.