INDIGO Home University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign logo uic building uic pavilion uic student center

The Skin We're In: A Literary Analysis of Representations of Mixed Race Identity in Children's Literature

Show full item record

Bookmark or cite this item:

Files in this item

File Description Format
PDF Chaudhri_Amina.pdf (1MB) (no description provided) PDF
Title: The Skin We're In: A Literary Analysis of Representations of Mixed Race Identity in Children's Literature
Author(s): Chaudhri, Amina
Advisor(s): Teale, William H.
Contributor(s): Jenkins, Christine; Kumashiro, Kevin K.; Schubert, William; Yokota, Junko
Department / Program: Curriculum And Instruction
Graduate Major: Curriculum and Instruction
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Chicago
Degree: PhD, Doctor of Philosophy
Genre: Doctoral
Subject(s): Children's literature mixed race identity literary analysis critical race theory
Abstract: This study systematically analyzed novels of contemporary and historical fiction with mixed race content intended for readers age 9-14. In the context of an increasingly multiracial and multicultural society, this study was primarily concerned with the question of identity representation: What is contemporary children’s literature saying about the experience of being racially mixed? This question was investigated along three strands: 1) How can literature about multiracial identity be usefully described and define? 2) What historical perspectives inform books about multiracial people? and 3) To what degree are contemporary authors maintaining or challenging racial paradigms? A content analysis of ninety novels with mixed race content was undertaken to determine specific features such as gender, age, racial mix, family situation, socio-economic situation, racial makeup of environment, and setting. Three categories were created based historical paradigms about mixed race identity, and themes that emerged from the novels: 1) Mixed Race In/Visibility, 2) Mixed Race Blending, and 3) Mixed Race Awareness. All ninety novels were evaluated with respect to the criteria of the categories. Thirty-three novels were selected for deep literary analysis, demonstrating the ways historical perspectives about mixed race identity inform contemporary children’s literature. Findings indicated three broad trends in representations of mixed race identity in children’s literature with novels falling almost equally between the three categories. Books in the Mixed Race In/Visibility category depicted stereotypically traumatic experiences for mixed race characters and provide little or no opportunity for critique of racism. Books in the Mixed Race Blending category featured characters whose mixed race identity was descriptive but not functional in their lives. Mixed Race Awareness books represented a range of possible life experiences for biracial characters who respond to social discomfort to their racial identity in complex and credible ways. This study has implications for research and pedagogy in the fields of education and children’s literature as they expand to become more inclusive of diversity.
Issue Date: 2012-09-07
Type: Thesis
Description: Dissertation Spring 2012
Rights Information: Copyright 2012 Amina Chaudhri
Date Available in INDIGO: 2012-09-07

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record


Country Code Views
United States of America 546
China 166
France 69
United Kingdom 29
Russian Federation 28


My Account


Access Key