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Fellman's Book Featured in Chronicle of Higher Education

A brief about "Little House, Long Shadow: Laura Ingalls Wilder's Impact on American Culture" (University of Missouri Press, 2008), the latest book by Anita Clair Fellman, Old Dominion University professor emerita of women's studies and former chair of the department, appears in the Nota Bene section of this week's The Chronicle Review.

Fellman's research offers a fresh interpretation of the "Little House" books that examines how this beloved body of children's literature found its way into many facets of our culture and consciousness - even influencing the responsiveness of Americans to particular political views.

She argues that the popularity of these books helped lay the groundwork for a negative response to big government and a positive view of political individualism, contributing to the acceptance of contemporary conservatism while perpetuating a mythic West.

"Little House, Long Shadow" shows how ostensibly apolitical artifacts of popular culture can help explain shifts in political assumptions.

"There are not many people who are aware of the formative influence of what they read in childhood on their core political views," Fellman is quoted as saying in the Chronicle brief.

Fellman joined the ODU faculty as associate professor of history and director of women's studies in 1988. With the program's conversion to a department in 2002, she was appointed as chair. Her other books include "Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women's History" (co-editor, 1986) and "Ourselves as Students: Multicultural Voices in the Classroom" (editor, 1996). She won the Laura Jamieson Prize for her 1986 book as well as many university awards.

This article was posted on: July 8, 2008

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