Visual Cultures Workshop - Teaching Peter Pan: Navigating the Transition to College through Children's Literature


Location: B043 DPAC or email for a Zoom invite

Susan Ohmer headshot web 2021

Presenter: Dr. Susan Ohmer, William T. and Helen Kuhn Carey Associate Professor of Modern Communication

We might think that the story of Peter Pan can be readily described, but in fact the experiences of Peter, Wendy, the Lost Boys, Captain Hook and Tiger Lilly developed across a range of texts that include novels, picture books, plays, films, television programs, computer games, and digital mash-ups. This talk draws on experiences of teaching transmedia adaptations of the Peter Pan narrative as a means of helping first year students reflect on childhood and the transition to college. Since the broad narrative connects with issues such as growing up, gender identity, play, and the cultural construction of childhood, the subject forms an ideal way for students to reflect on their own experiences of navigating the transition from childhood to adulthood during their first year of college. The talk will describe the structure of the course, pedagogical strategies, and classroom experiences and will draw on student papers to identify parallels that students have noted between their own experiences and the Peter Pan narrative.