English Professor Roberta Seelinger Trites will deliver the Fall 2010 College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) Distinguished Lecture at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 21, in the Bone Student Center Prairie Room North.
The presentation “The Pixar Maturity Formula: Sexism, Growth, and Social Responsibility in Children’s Movies” builds upon Trites’ first article, published in the Journal of Popular Film and Television in 1991, which was a feminist critique of sexism in Disney’s movie The Little Mermaid. The project demonstrates the cultural persistence of sexism in children’s movies produced in the United States.
Trites received her Bachelor of Arts in History from Texas A&M University in 1983, her Master of Arts in the Humanities from the University of Texas-Dallas in 1985, and her Ph.D. in English from Baylor University in 1991. She joined the Department of English at Illinois State University as a children’s literature specialist in 1991 and teaches children’s literature and adolescent literature courses.
She is the author of three books: Waking Sleeping Beauty: Feminist Voices in Children’s Literature (1997), Disturbing the Universe: Power and Repression in Adolescent Literature (2000), and Twain, Alcott, and the Birth of the Adolescent Reform Novel (2007). Waking Sleeping Beauty has been translated into Japanese and Chinese; Disturbing the Universe has been translated into Japanese and has won the coveted Children’s Literature Association Book Award. Trites has also co-edited, with Professor Betsy Hearne, a collection of essays, A Narrative Compass: Stories That Guide Women’s Lives (2009). Trites has published articles in, among other venues, the African-American Review, Children’s Literature, Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, Children’s Literature in Education, and the Journal of Popular Film and Television.
Trites has served as the president of the Children’s Literature Association (2006-2007); she was conference organizer for the ChLA conference held in Normal in 2008, and she is now completing her term as the chair of the Strategic Planning Committee for that organization. From 2000-2004, she was editor of the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly, and she currently serves on the Louisa May Alcott Society’s Board of Directors. In 2007, she delivered the keynote address for the International Research Society of Children’s Literature in Kyoto, Japan. She has also given invited lectures in Antwerp, Copenhagen, and Stockholm.
From 1998-2002, Trites served as the Associate Dean for Administration of CAS and was named Outstanding University Teacher in 2000. She was Acting Dean of CAS from 2002-2004. In addition, she served as the Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of English at from 2004-2008. Also during her tenure at Illinois State, she has been seated on 56 graduate students’ committees, including chairing the committees of nine Ph.D. students who have successfully defended their dissertations and serving as advisor to 18 matriculated master’s students. She has also served as the advisor or co-advisor to three Fulbright scholars and as the external reviewer for dissertations in Australia, Finland, and India.