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Faculty Spotlight


Andrew O'Malley

Title:

English

Office:

English

Email Address:

aomalley@ryerson.ca

Specialization:

English

Biography:

Andrew O’Malley (BA, McGill University; MA, University of Toronto; PhD, University of Toronto) is an associate professor in the Department of English, specializing in children’s and popular cultures.  He is the Director of the Children’s Literature archive, and is the author of two monographs: The Making of the Modern Child: Children’s Literature and Childhood in the Late Eighteenth Century (Routledge 2003) and Children’s Literature, Popular Culture, and Robinson Crusoe (Palgrave 2013).

Dr. O’Malley’s current project, “Comic Books, Children’s Culture, and the Crisis of Innocence, 1940-1954,” was awarded an Insight Development Grant by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.  This grant will allow him to develop and curate a peer-reviewed digital exhibition that considers ‘childhood innocence’ and the perceived threat posed to it by the popular, mass medium of comics.  The period just before and after the Second World War witnessed an intense controversy and widespread crisis fueled by the often lurid and violent content of an entertainment medium producing tens of millions of units a months and consumed primarily by young people.  Newspapers, magazines, and professional journals all weighed in on a childhood in jeopardy from corrupting comic books.  In the U.S., attempts were made at all levels of government to ban or at least restrict the sale of comics; in Canada and the U.K. these efforts succeeded and the parliaments of both countries passed laws against crime and horror comics.  The exhibition will consider these events as a crisis in the accepted meanings of childhood in the period.  It will feature a convergence of printed texts, images, and digitized three-dimensional objects from the period between 1940 (the year children’s author Sterling North sounded the alarm about the corrupting influence of comics in a widely reprinted newspaper editorial) and 1954 (the year of the U.S. Senate Sub-Committee Hearing on Juvenile Delinquency and of the initiation of the Comics Code Authority).

Department:

Andrew O’Malley is an associate professor in the Department of English, specializing in children’s and popular cultures. He is the Director of the Children’s Literature archive, and is the author of two monographs: The Making of the Modern Child: Children’s Literature and Childhood in the Late Eighteenth Centuryand Children’s Literature, Popular Culture, and Robinson Crusoe