Today I gave a paper on Baba Yaga in Anglo-American picture books and attended a number of interesting panels. Here's what I found most interesting on day one:
- A panel called "Generational/Cultural Differences" focused on generational differences between immigrant parents and their first-generation children. Because the books the panelists studied were written long ago (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Farewell to Zanzibar, among them), a discussion began as to what would be considered "typically American" now to a child with immigrant parents. Audience members said, immediately, mall culture and consumerist behavior. This makes sense to me, but I have to wonder, is that all? What do you all think? What would a first-generation American consider "mainstream" American today?
- A graduate student from the University of Pittsburgh presented a fascinating queer reading of Lilo and Stitch. She paid particular attention to the Hawaiian notion of "ohana" and the "family" who joins for dinner at the end of the film.
- A graduate student from The New School presented an interesting paper on how the Holocaust informed Daniel Handler's A Series of Unfortunate Events. And, she wasn't reading into the books. Handler responded to her paper (alas, not in person) in detail.