University of Cambridge
Doctorate of Philosophy - Eductation
University of Melbourne
Master of Arts
English Language and Literature (Thesis)
University of Melbourne
Bachelor of Arts (with Honours)
Literature and Linguistics
Adaptation in Young Adult Novels: Critically Engaging Past and Present
This chapter explores how understandings of adolescence are negotiated and exploited by twenty-first-century culture industries through a critical exploration of the narrative strategies employed by The Walt Disney Company’s Twisted Tales novels (2015–present). Emerging from a larger boom in licensed publishing currently taking place in the young-adult fiction market, The Twisted Tales novels sees Disney employing established middle-grade and young-adult authors to adapt the narratives of their animated fairy-tale classics for a young adult audience. Arguing that young adult fiction casts the adolescent as a figure for transformation, we explore how The Twisted Tales combine contemporary practices of transmedia storytelling with the form and conventions of the young adult novel to produce an experience of multitextuality – of multiple, competing narrative temporalities experienced in simultaneity – that brings the competing temporalities of childhood and adolescence into play.
While an unfolding backlash against globalization has resulted in a tightening of the borders that police our movement through space, the borders that structure our temporal experience have been made newly porous by technologies that alter the terms of our presence in that space. This paper argues that our current condition of ubiquitous connectivity—our constant interconnection and integration into larger flows of information and communication—has brought about a paradoxical anxiety of disconnection that finds expression in the field’s growing “kinship” movement. In the digital age, instantaneous communication butts up against infinite information, giving birth to the extended present—a temporality in which the borders of the now seem to be both ever diminishing and expanding. What does this mean for the temporal alterity that subsists between adult and child as theoretical constructs? What happens to the adult-child relationship in the age of the constant update? This paper examines to what extent the field’s current turn toward models that emphasize similarity—or “kinship”—over difference constitutes an attempt to reaffirm a continuity between past and present that is threatened by the rise of new media technologies, and ponders what the attempt to cohere our disparate temporalities into the present might mean for the future of the field and those on whose behalf it proposes to speak.
This essay seeks to contribute to the evolving conversation surrounding the effects of convergence culture on adaptation as process and product in twenty-first-century media culture. To this end, it engages Christopher Miller and Phil Lord’s The Lego Movie (2014), approaching the film as an example of Eckart Voigts-Virchow’s concept of meta-adaptation in order to explore to what extent the film’s explicit construction of adaptation as a form of play testifies to a new relation to culture and its products brought about by media convergence. This article explores affinities between theories of play and of adaptation, before moving on to explore Lego’s own mediality as a medium of both play and adaptation and how this mediality informs The Lego Movie’s performance of adaptation. The Lego Movie is at its core an exploration of what it means to ‘play well’ (a phrase that in Danish translates to ‘Leg godt’ and from which Lego takes its name), and so this essay concludes by examining how the film’s climactic debate about the nature of play echoes debates about the nature of adaptation as they have unfolded in the field of adaptation studies from its inception up to the current day, and pondering what a conception of adaptation as play might offer those approaching the study of adaptation in contemporary media culture.
The Palgrave Handbook of Children's Film and Television
In Medias Res: The Remediation of Time in Lemony Snicket’s a Series of Unfortunate Events
Hunter explores how the effect of the transition from broadcast to internet-distributed television on the dynamics of intergenerational exchange in the twenty-first century through an analysis of digital aesthetics and principles in Netflix’s Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-present). The chapter explores digitzation’s effect on how television is engaged in the day-to-day and the unique implications this has for how children’s television programming is engaged and understood. The chapter argues that the remediation of television’s ontology from flow to database is reflective of wider shifts in our understandings and experience of time occasioned by the rise of digital technologies and devices, that are reflected both in the Netflix interface and in their adaptation of Daniel Handler’s A Series of Unfortunate Events books.
This paper examines the challenges digital information and communication technologies pose to ideas of childhood agency through an exploration of the evolving world of children’s streaming television. While television remains the dominant medium in children’s lives, how they access and engage with this medium is changing. Through an analysis of the aesthetics, affordances, and content of the ‘Kids’ portals of Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Video and YouTube’s streaming platforms, I will explore how these portals negotiate between the technological and the cultural in their construction of the child as user.
The relationship between television and childhood has always been fraught, the medium feared for the silent nature of its influence and the passivity that it may instill in otherwise lively, energetic children (Critcher 2008). Those seeking to counter this narrative argue for television as a medium that helps foster ‘togetherness’ within the family, facilitating conversation and connection between adult and child by offering shared viewing experiences (Lemish 2015). The remediation of television content online puts pressure on the medium’s ability to provide points of intergenerational contact by disembedding content from linear viewing schedules and dispersing it across an ever-multiplying array of personal digital mobile devices. By displacing shared viewing practices in favour of more individual and individuated experiences, VOD (Video-on-demand) services offer children a level of agency that is comparable yet impenetrable to their adult caregivers. The boundaries between adult and child cultures that VOD services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube threaten to dissolve are reaffirmed by their dedicated Kids portals. By examining how these platforms construct the child as user – the behaviours these portals script, the design of the portal as space, and the content that the service assigns to that space – this paper demonstrates how streaming services work to curtail an agency on the part of the child that is the product of the same technologies and material logics through which the platforms are realised.
This paper engages The Walt Disney Company’s 2012 acquisition of Lucasfilm as a means to explore the ways in which the logic of convergence culture is affecting a convergence of adult and child cultures that is coming to define the media landscape of the twenty-first century. This paper will look at how the Star Wars franchise allows for what I will term intergenerational synergy. Intergenerational synergy occurs when a media producer seeks to leverage a property across multiple generations of consumers in order to harness their respective temporal energies: The adult in the present is the child of the past, whereas the child of today will be tomorrow’s adult. Not so much children’s films as films watched in childhood, the Star Wars films (1977-1983) have always been considered family films (Brown 2013, 152), addressing an implicit child audience that has become explicit in the last three decades of remediation, expansion and extension – a process of transformation that finds its apotheosis in the Disney buyout. Placing Disney’s Star Wars films – The Force Awakens (2015), Rogue One (2016), The Last Jedi (2017) and Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018) – in the context of Disney’s current campaign of remaking, rebooting and re-incorporating, this paper will explore the wider social, cultural, and industrial drives that inform contemporary mainstream Hollywood’s push towards intergenerational synergy, before looking at how these drives manifest in The Last Jedi and its meditations on legacy and inheritance.
This talk places the current intergenerational turn in the field of children’s literary criticism in the context of the connective turn, exploring the ways in which the rise of digital media technologies that enable instantaneous communication and global connectivity have occasioned anxieties of disconnection; of discontinuity between past and present. My research ponders what role these larger socio-cultural shifts in our understanding and experience of time have in reshaping our understanding of the relationship between adulthood and childhood, particularly as it pertains to recent scholarship in the field of children’s literary criticism.