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Ploughing the Field: A Discussion About YA Studies


Emily Corbett ,

About Emily
Emily Corbett is Associate Editor of IJYAL and Vice President of YASA.
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Leah Phillips

About Leah
Leah Phillips, PhD, is President of YASA and on the Editorial Board of IJYAL.
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In lieu of an abstract:

In 1996, Caroline Hunt asked whether “the theoretical criticism of YA literature [would] ever reach the standard already seen in children's-literature criticism” because, at the time, “it seem[ed] unlikely that this turbulent field [would] ever produce such criticism in quantity; its roots were formed in other soil” (10). Despite her concern, in the nearly two and a half decades that have passed since Hunt made this claim, YA Studies has become a thriving part of academic discourse. With the launch of both the International Journal of Young Adult Literature (IJYAL) and the YA Studies Association (YASA), 2020 marks a turning point. While both organisations are distinct, they seek to propagate, cultivate, and harvest YA scholarship and to continue the work of this rich and fertile field of research. Though our (perhaps overzealous) use of farming terminology offers a light-hearted response to Hunt’s claim, the metaphor is a useful one because not only is YA scholarship organic and blossoming, it is also open to productive disruption in the manner of ploughing, as the following discussion demonstrates. We have collated the perspectives of sixteen scholars (see Table 1) who research, teach, and/or publish work that intersects YA Studies and who have roles in one or more of the Editorial Board of IJYAL and the Executive Board or Advisory Committee of YASA, in order to examine the past, present, and potential future of YA scholarship.

How to Cite: Corbett, E. and Phillips, L., 2020. Ploughing the Field: A Discussion About YA Studies. The International Journal of Young Adult Literature, 1(1). DOI:
Published on 02 Nov 2020.
Peer Reviewed


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