Abbie Ventura teaches courses in children's and adolescent literature and culture. Other research and teaching interests include the aesthetics of pictorial literatures, multiculturalism, translation studies, and international children's literature. She has published on global childhood citizenships and Bhutanese and Buddhist children's literature, and her work has recently been translated and published in China. Ventura is currently writing children’s picture books, and working on scholarship that addresses the diversity gaps in children’s publishing.
Research and/or Creative Interests
Children's Literature and Culture; Translation Studies and International Children's Literature; Value of the Humanities
Children's Literature; Children's Culture & Childhood Studies; Young Adult Literature; Graphic Narrative & Pictorial Literatures; Multiculturalism & Diversity in Children's Literature/Twenty-First Century Identities; New Media and Transmedia in Children's Literature.
I'm a discussion-based instructor, and I'm heavy on exploratory and disruptive thinking. That is, making what is familiar unfamiliar, and disrupting the known "truths" of our world view with new and strange perspectives.
Why did you become an English professor?
It was the thing I was most passionate about in school. There were other subjects I was stronger in, and I actually began my undergraduate program at USC studying marine geology. But the conversations in my English courses always animated me, the way they show us the human condition and help us to understand ourselves and others. I eventually switched my major, and somehow I luckily turned that passion into a career.
Specifically, I teach children's literature because I believe it is an incredibly powerful, political, and ideological literature. From the earliest age, and without our awareness or permission, it shapes our world views, our impressions of others, even the way we regard and value ourselves.
Outside of being a professor, what do you do for fun and/or relaxation?
It's Chattanooga - so kayaking, hiking, yoga, gardening, farmers’ markets, etc. On the breaks you'll find me by salt water.
What are your expectations of students?
I expect students to grapple with new ideas, even if it’s uncomfortable or difficult material. With this, I expect respect for all people, other students, their viewpoints, and the literature and ideas expressed in our classroom. Finally, I expect students to be realistic in terms of their efforts, and really in what they expect of themselves, to be gentle about their own expectations.
What's something about you that might surprise your students?
I used to be a roller derby girl- “Call Me Impale.”