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Karin Lesnik-Oberstein

photograph of Karin-Lesnik Obsertein
  • Director of Postgraduate Studies for the Department of English Literature

Areas of interest

I am the Director of the Graduate Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture, Media (CIRCL) and Director of the CIRCL M(Res) in Children's Literature and Convenor of its core module on 'Theory of Children's Literature' and its option module 'Myth and Folktale and Children's Literature'; I undertake the supervision of seven MA students from the CIRCL MA every year.

My primary research interest is inter- and multi-disciplinary Critical and Literary Theory. I also have a research interest in those areas in which I teach, particularly anything relating to constructions of identity (gender; national, cultural, ethnic identity etc). I continue to have a strong interest in the construction of childhood in culture, including in non-literary disciplines such as anthropology, psychology, sociology, and philosophy.

Postgraduate supervision

Present PhDs:

  • Ian Mulholland (part-time, from 2013, University of Reading Regional Bursary funded)
  • Anindita Roy (full-time, from 2014, full Felix Scholarship funding)
  • Elizabeth Harris (part-time, from January 2015)
  • Bonnie McGill (full-time, from 2015, full University of Reading Studentship funded)
  • Alexander Hellens (part-time, from 2016; Wilkie Calvert Fund bursary)
  • Rebecca Lindsay (part-time, from 2016).

Completed PhDs:

  • Dr Neil Cocks (1997-2000)
  • Dr Susan Walsh (1998-2001)
  • Dr Yuko Ashitagawa (2002-5; fully ORS funded for second and third year)
  • Dr Hannah Smith (2002-5; full Reading Studentship funded)
  • Dr Louise Tondeur (2002-6; full Reading Studentship funded)
  • Dr Helen Ainslie (2006-9, full Graduate School of Arts and Humanities funded)
  • Dr Catrin Edwards (2007-10, full AHRC funded)
  • Dr Kirsty Pennicard-Wood (2004-2010, part-time)
  • Dr Yu-Kuan Chen (full-time, 2007-12)
  • Dr Evdokia (Kia) Michalopoulou (2006-13, part-time)
  • Dr Christopher Milson (2011-2016; part-time)
  • Dr Kristina West (2012-2016; part-time).

Research centres and groups

I am the Director of the Graduate Centre for International Research in Childhood: Literature, Culture, Media (CIRCL)

I am a member of IRSCL (International Research Society Children's Literature) and PLACIM (The Platform for a Cultural History of Children's Media).

Research projects

I have published articles on neuroscience and on childhood and gender and sexual identity.

I am consulting editor for the Korean Research Institute for Asian Women's (RIAW) journal of women's studies, Asian Women, a member of the editorial board of the journal Reproductive BioMedicine and Society and a member of the Advisory Board for the forthcoming SAGE Encyclopedia of Children and Childhood Studies (eds Dan Cook and Erica Burman) and an article and book manuscript reader for a wide range of academic peer-review journals and University presses.

in 2017: A 9000 word chapter co-written with Dr Neil Cocks (50% each author): 'Back to Where We Came From: Evolutionary Psychology and Children's Literature and Media', in Elisabeth Wesseling (ed.), Reinventing Childhood Nostalgia: Books, Toys and Contemporary Media Culture (London: Taylor and Francis Group, 2017) and an 8000 word chapter on 'Children's Literature, Cognitivism and Neuroscience' in Ralf Schneider and Sandra Dinter (eds), Transdisciplinary Perspectives on Childhood in Contemporary Britain: Literature, Media and Society (London: Routledge, 2017).

Awards and honours

  • 2003: Nominated as one of twelve 'lecturers of excellence' at the University of Reading.
  • 2004: Nominated as one of ten 'lecturers of excellence' at the University of Reading.
  • 2006: Nominated for the Student Awards for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching.
  • 2010: Awarded the student-nominated Faculty Award for Outstanding Contributions to Teaching and Learning.
  • 2012: Nominated for a Reading Student Union 'Gold Star' award.
  • 2015: Awarded University of Reading Student Union 'Outstanding Academic Tutor Excellence Award'.
  • 2016: Nominated for a University of Reading Student Union 'Teaching Excellence Award'
  • Full member of the Institute for Teaching and Learning (ITL).