Eastern Michigan University
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Amanda K. Allen

Associate Professor, Children's Literature Program

aallen 603G Pray-Harrold

Email: aallen36@emich.edu

Twitter: @AmandaAllenPhD


PhD in English Literature

University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada)

MA in English Literature

York University (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

BA (Honors) in English Literature

York University (Toronto, Ontario, Canada)

Interests and Expertise

Amanda K. Allen, Associate Professor of Children's Literature, joined the Department of English Language and Literature in September 2010. Her research focuses on:

  • mid-twentieth-century girls' novels
  • women's literary and employment history
  • the history of the children's publishing industry in America
  • fandom studies (particularly the Harry Potter fandom)

Her current project is a book-length manuscript that examines the effects of the publishing, librarian, and educational fields on the history of young adult literature and, more specifically, on teen girl romance novels published from 1942 to 1967 (known as the female junior novel genre). Allen uses a feminist cultural materialist approach, drawing on the theories of Pierre Bourdieu and Luce Irigaray, and using previously unpublished archival documents, to suggest a revised history of young adult fiction: one that explores the neglected female junior novel genre in relation to the rise and fall of a semi-autonomous network of female producers and distributors (editors, critics, librarians), and contrasted against the academics who ultimately defined “good” young adult fiction. By examining the female junior novel texts and network in relation to Cold War politics, federal initiatives in education and librarianship, and the history of the children’s publishing industry in America, she suggests a heretofore hidden battle regarding who has the right—and ability—to define our current concept of young adult fiction.


CHL 137: Harry Potter: Literary Allusion, Popular Culture, and Children’s Literature

CHL 137/279*: The Harry Potter Experience (a Study Abroad course in the UK)

CHL 207: Introduction to Children’s Literature

CHL/WGST 353: Genders and Sexualities in Literature for Younger Readers

CHL 455: Adolescent Literature

CHL 516: Introduction to Graduate Studies in Children’s Literature

CHL 518: History of Children’s Literature

CHL 584: Literature for Adolescents

CHL 585: Children’s Literature: Criticism and Theory

CHL 588: Oz as Icon

CHL 588: Graduate Studies in Harry Potter

Recent Publications and Presentations

Recent Publications:

“Young Adult Romance.” Research Companion to Popular Romance Fiction. Eds. Eric Selinger, Jayashree Kamble, and Hsu-Ming Teo. Ashgate. Forthcoming.

“‘Dear Miss Daly’: 1940s Fan Letters to Maureen Daly and the Age-Grading and Gendering of Seventeenth Summer.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 41.1 (Spring 2016): 24-40 

“Social Networking, Participatory Culture, and the Fandom World of Harry Potter.” Medieval Afterlives in Contemporary Culture. Ed. Gail Ashton. London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015. 277-290. 

“Breathlessly Awaiting the Next Installment: Revealing the Complexity of Young Adult Literature.” Children’s Literature 40 (2012). 260-269.

“Charm the Boys, Win the Girls: Power Struggles in Mary Stolz’s Cold War Adolescent Girl Romance Novels.” Journal of Popular Romance Studies 3.1 (2012).

“The Cinderella-Makers: Post-War Adolescent Girl Fiction as Commodity Tales.” The Lion and the Unicorn 33.3 (2009): 282-299.


"Michelle Abate. The Big Smallness: Niche Marketing, the American Culture Wars, and the New Children's Literature. New York: Routledge, 2016." The Lion and the Unicorn41.2 (2017): 269-271.

Invited Presentations:

“Participatory Culture and the Online Harry Potter Fandom.” Medieval Studies Program of Wilfred Laurier University. Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. 6 November, 2014.

Conference Presentations:

"Lord knows, they teach them how to dress': Junior Novel Critics and the Struggle to Define 'Good' Postwar Novels for Girls." International Research Society for Children's Literature (IRSCL). Toronto, Ontario: 29 July - 2 August, 2017.

"'Well, darling, you're a step up on Cinderella': Cold War American Junior Novels as Commodity Tales." All about Cinderella Conference. University of Bedfordshire, U.K.: 9-10 June, 2017.

"'This Girl Is Half His Age': Snape/Hermione Fanfiction and the Refusal of Reproductive Futurism." Children's Media and Literature in a a Mediatized World. Aarhus, Denmark: 30 May - 1 June, 2017.

“Commodified Nostalgia and the Re-Animation of Cold War Junior Novels.” Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) Conference. Columbus, Ohio: 9-11 June, 2016.

“Forgotten Canon Wars: Postwar Junior Novel Critics and the Struggle to Define YA.” Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) Conference. Richmond, VA: 18-20 June, 2015.

“Severus Snape/Hermione Granger Fanfiction and the Marriage Law Challenge.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association. New Orleans, 1-4 April, 2015.

“Rethinking Cold War Girls’ Literature.” Midwest Modern Language Association (MMLA). Detroit, MI. 13-16 November, 2014.

“The Unexpected Readership and the Gendering of YA: 1940s Male Readers of Maureen Daly’s Seventeenth Summer.” Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) Conference. Columbia, SC. 18-21 June, 2014.

“With Love from Priests and Pilots: WWII Fan Mail and the Gendering of Teen Romance Novels.” Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association (PCA/ACA) Conference. Chicago, IL. 16-19 April, 2014.

"School Skirt and Cashmere Sweater: Maturation through Consumerism in Early Cold War Adolescent Girl Romance Novels." Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) Conference. University of Southern Mississippi. Biloxi, Ms. 13-15 June, 2013.

"Odious Products of a Merchandising Age': Dust Jacket Illustrations and the Marketing of Post-War Adolescent Girl Romance Novels." Popular Culture Association/ American Culture Association Conference. Washington, D.C. 27-30 March, 2013.

“Snanger Danger: Snape/Hermione (SS/HG) Fanfiction and the Queering of Children’s Literature. Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) Conference. Simmons College. Boston, Ma. 14-16 June, 2012.

“Adaptations, Revisions, and Fractures.” Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) Conference. Simmons College. Boston, Ma. 14-16 June, 2012.

“The Paratext of Pottermore: URLs and Structuring Harry Potter ‘Moments.’” Society for Textual Scholarship: International Interdisciplinary Conference. University of Texas at Austin. Austin, Tx. 31 May-2 June, 2012 (Co-presented with Matt Schneider).

"Charm the Boys, Win the Girls: Power Struggles in Mary Stolz’s Cold War Adolescent Girl Romance Novels"; International Association for the Study of Popular Romance. New York University. New York, N.Y. 26-28 June, 2011.

"Angie Versus the 'Secret Police System'; in Maureen Daly’s Seventeenth Summer." Children’s Literature Association (ChLA) Conference. Hollins University. Roanoke, Va. 23-25 June, 2011.

Selected Professional Service

Membership Coordinator of the International Association for the Study of Popular Romance (IASPR)

Publicity Committee Member of the Children’s Literature Association (ChLA)

Membership Committee Member of the Children’s Literature Association (ChLA)