University of Cambridge > Talks.cam > Pedagogy, Language, Arts & Culture in Education (PLACE) Group Seminars > The Underpass: Urban Experience in Swedish Young Adult Literature 1890–2010

The Underpass: Urban Experience in Swedish Young Adult Literature 1890–2010

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In my project The Underpass: Urban Experience in Swedish Young Adult Literature 1890–2010, I examine continuity and change in representations of urban teenagers from the turn of the century 1900 to present day, focusing especially on intersections between age, gender, class, ethnicity and sexuality. The methodology is inspired by spatial studies and is founded on the idea that the city of Stockholm is a product of a constant process of human practices, perceptions and conceptions.

As early as in the European Bildungsroman, the city has gathered the ideas of youth and progression and during the 20th century Sweden’s capital Stockholm has become the most common setting in Swedish young adult literature. In literature for young adults, boys’ and girls’ books Stockholm has been used to communicate dreams and fears, for pleasure and education, to amuse and socialise. I am especially interested in places and objects, that during certain periods become powerful symbols of urban youth, as the shopping mall of the 1950s, the beer can of the 1970s, or the graffiti covered underground wall of the 2000s. For this presentation, I will focus on a couple of examples from Swedish young adult literature, depicting different sorts of rebellious appropriation of public urban space.

Lydia Wistisen is a PhD student at the University of Stockholm since February 2012. In the spring term 2017 she will defend her thesis The Underpass: Urban Experience in Swedish Young Adult Literature 1890–2010. Her research interests include children’s and young adult literature, spatial studies, urbanity, and youth culture. She teaches at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics and Department of Gender Studies at Stockholm University and is also a co-editor of the literature, art and philosophy magazine Aiolos.

This talk is part of the Pedagogy, Language, Arts & Culture in Education (PLACE) Group Seminars series.

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