Recent Submissions

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Between Friends: Disability, Masculinity, and Rehabilitation in The Best Years of Our Lives
(Liverpool University Press, 2017-01) Sahn, Sarah F.
The Best Years of Our Lives, William Wyler’s 1946 film about three World War II veterans returning home to a small Midwestern town, has long been notable for its frank treatment of wartime trauma, disability, and the personal and cultural crises of masculinity precipitated by the end of the war. At a moment when disability studies has gained a firm foothold in the academy, the article returns to this touchstone text to reconsider the film’s staging of the disabled male body. The article complicates the equation of disability with castration implicit in readings of masculinity and heterosexuality in the film’s rehabilitation narratives by considering the role of friendship in the film’s depiction of masculinity and disability. The argument is that to focus on heterosexual romance in The Best Years of Our Lives is to tell only half the story; the narrative of homosocial friendship between Al, Fred, and Homer is equally important to their reintegration into the civilian world. Friendship provides an ameliorative space outside the narratives of heterosexual romance that structure the film’s logic of rehabilitation, and does not demand elision of the war’s traumas and the traces, visible and invisible, that it leaves behind.
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Decolonizing Childhood: Coming of Age in Tamora Pierce’s Fantastic Empire
(John Hopkins University Press, 2016) Sahn, Sarah F.
This article explores the feminist and postcolonial potential of Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet, arguing that even where it accedes to patriarchal and colonial power structures, the fantasy form and genre create an openness that invites the reader to continue to ask questions that subvert these structures.
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More Words about Pictures: Current Research on Picture Books and Visual/Verbal Texts for Young People ed. by Perry Nodelman, Naomi Hamer, and Mavis Reimer (re
(John Hopkins University Press, 2019) Sahn, Sarah F.
In his 1988 Words about Pictures, Perry Nodelman took a semiotic approach to studying picture books, exploring the complex dynamics of image and text in works that until then had primarily been assessed on their educational merit, when they were studied seriously at all. Thirty years later, More Words about Pictures takes account of the changes to the field—of scholarship and children's literature—since the publication of Nodelman's foundational study.
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Secrets, Lies, and Children’s Fiction by Kerry Mallan (review)
(John Hopkins University Press, 2014) Sahn, Sarah F.
Secrets, Lies and Children’s Fiction takes on the often paradoxical treatment in children’s literature of truth and lies, in which “truth” is often conflated with simple honesty, and—at least on the surface—is constructed as a behavior essential to being a moral person.
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Notre Terre Minnesota
(2024-05-20) Sandy, John H.
Minnesota’s landscape was shaped by massive glaciers that moved south from Canada during the late Pleistocene. The people of Minnesota often have a distinctive character, in part due to their differing ethnic backgrounds. Many Minnesotans live in a vast northern wilderness. The land is dotted with thousands of beautiful lakes, ponds, and rivers, creating imagery which influences romantic feelings and emotions for those who live here and others who journey this way. A variety of animals, such as loons and beavers, thrive in the wild, and fish are abundant in the lakes. A vast swath of the south and southwest is a prairie landscape, with ecology and agriculture differing from the mixed land use and woodlands in other areas of the state. Abrupt and well-defined seasons add to the state’s bounty and color. The state has a rich cultural history. Native Americans were the first to inhabit Minnesota, over thousands of years, followed by French and British explorers and later settled by British, Scandinavian, German, and other European people. For more than 150 years, the state’s motto was “L’Etoile du Nord.” (translation: “Star of the North”) The lyrics of the song “Notre Terre Minnesota” seek to capture all these elements and along the way embellish the grandeur of the North Star State.