Research

Meghann Meeusen’s research focuses on children’s literature and visual culture, and in particular, she currently works with adaptation studies to investigate children’s and young adult film and graphic novels.  In addition, she incorporates Cultural-Historical Activity Theory to examine the contextual nature of children’s texts and innovate approaches to pedagogy, and her research also extends into gender studies and feminist theory, especially in young adult fantasy.

Publications

“The Jungle Book.”  Entry in Books to Film:  Cinematic Adaptations of Literary Works.  Edited by Barry Keith Grant.  Gale Cengage Learning.  Accepted.

“Teaching Adolescent Film: A Cultural-Historical Activity Theory Approach.”  Options for Teaching YA Literature.  Ed. Mike Cadden, Roberta Seelinger Trites, and Karen Coats.  Accepted.

“‘Unless Someone Like You’ Buys a Ticket to this Movie: Dual Audience and Aetonormativity in Picturebook to Film Adaptations.” Children’s Literature in Education. Forthcoming.

“The Difficulty in Deciphering the ‘Dreams That You Dare to Dream’: Adaptive Dissonance in Wizard of Oz Films.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly. 42.2 (Summer 2017): 185-204.

“Framing Agency:  Graphic Adaptations of Coraline and City of Ember.”  Comics Storytelling for Young PeopleEd. Gwen Athene Tarbox and Michelle Ann Abate.  Forthcoming.

“The Possibilities of Double-Voiced Discourse:  Investigating Embodiment in David Levithan’s Every Day.” SIGNAL. 38.2 (Spring/Summer 2015): 20-25. Print.

“Hungering for Middle Ground: Binaries of Self in Young Adult Dystopia.” The Politics of Panem: Critical Perspectives on the Hunger Games. Ed. Sean Connor. Boston: Sense, 2014. Print.

Reviews

I am a staff reviewer for VOYA Magazine (Voice of Youth Advocates), in which I have written over 45 reviews of fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels, and series texts for teens.  Please see my CV for a full list of my reviews.

Academic Review:

Rev. of Uncharted Depths: Descent Narratives in English and French Children’s Literature, by Kiera Vaclavik. The Final Chapters: Concluding Papers of The Journal of Children’s Literature Studies. Ed. by Pat Pinsent and Bridget Carrington. Wizard’s Tower Books. 2012. Ebook.

Works in Process

Monograph in Progress:  Children’s Books on the Big Screen

Although adapted texts make up a huge percentage of children’s literature and cultural artifacts, most of this scholarship tends to fall into patterns of comparison that rest in evaluative and hierarchical approaches, prefacing source texts as inherently “better” than their filmic versions.  Still, adaptation studies scholars have largely suggested these readings are limited because fundamentally, visual and alphabetic texts are wholly different mediums, and thus a book can never be truly translated into a faithful replica in film.  In my current monograph project, I offer a new way of thinking about children’s and young adult adapted texts by moving away from such hierarchical approaches, theorizing the strikingly consistent patterns that emerge when one studies not the success of an adapted work, but instead what happens when children’s and YA texts are brought to the big screen.

The purpose of my study, then, is to identify patterns in the ways these films adapt their source texts, paying particular attention to textual ideology. To this end, I suggest that in contemporary children’s feature length film adaptations, it is typical for adaptors to enhance or amplify the theme or explicit ideologies they identify as integral to the source text. This often creates more polarized binary systems than are present in the earlier work and results in a surfacing or shifting of implicit ideologies.

Although these ideological changes vary depending on the content of the film, I would further suggest that there are certain shifts that manifest themselves with some regularity, and part of my study’s purpose is to posit a few of these kinds of commonalities found in children’s adapted film. What is more, I believe that the conclusions I draw are applicable to a wide range of children’s and young adult adapted feature length films, and thus my argument has an even greater application than the individual examples I explore in individual chapters.

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