Faculty and Staff
Sara L. Schwebel
|Department:||English Language and Literature
College of Arts and Sciences
PhD, Harvard University, History of American Civilzation
BA, Yale University, History
Areas of Specialization
• Children’s and Young Adult literature
• Historical Fiction
• Public History
• American history/American literature as school curriculum
Recently Taught Courses
ENGL 731/WGST 738 The American Girl: Growing Up Female in The United States, 1830-1960
ENGL 862 A Common Literary Tradition: Reading Children's and Adult Literature in Unison
ENGL 431a Children's Literature
ENGL 432 Young Adult Literature
• American Studies Association Garfinkel Prize in Digital Humanities, Honorable Mention,
• University of South Carolina Distinguished Undergraduate Research Mentor, 2017
• National Heritage Maritime Grant, National Park Service, 2016
• American Library Association Carnegie Whitney Grant, 2016
• University of South Carolina Josephine Abney Award in Women’s and Gender Studies, 2015
• University of South Carolina "Breakthrough Star," 2015
• Daughters of the American Revolution Special Projects Grant, 2015
• Children's Literature Association Article Award, Honorable Mention, 2015
• Walker Institute Faculty Research Grant, 2014
• Teacher of the Year, University of South Carolina Department of English, 2010-2011
Current Research Projects
I am co-editing a collection of essays on Newbery-winning books that have received little if any scholarly attention, despite the American Library Association Medal’s outsized influence on American children’s assigned school reading.
• Island of the Blue Dolphins: The Complete Reader's Edition is part of a larger project that includes a digital archive tracing the 150-year-old history of telling the protagonist’s story (the nineteenth-century California Indian fictionalized as Karana in the novel) and a multimedia National Park Service website on Scott O'Dell's book and the historical figure who inspired it.
• Child-Sized History: Fictions of the Past in U.S. Classrooms examines the historical novels comprising the classroom canon, tracing the relationship of books like Johnny Tremian, The Witch of Blackbird Pond, and Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry to contemporary politics and historiographical trends. Unlike textbooks subjected to cyclical replacement, historical novels circulate for decades, even as their interpreations of the past diverge from current sensibilities. The books' classroom endurance attests to the resiliency of heritage-based history instruction in K-12 schools. But it also creates unparalleled opportunity for students to learn about the ways in which the past is put to moral and ideological uses in the present.
• The Student Teacher Handbook, 4th Edition. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2002. (with David C. Schwebel, Bernice L. Schwebel, and Carol R. Schwebel).
• Yale Daily News Guide to Summer Programs. New York: Kaplan Educational Services/Simon & Schuster, 1999, 2000, 2001.
• “A Children’s Book, Nineteenth Century-News, and Multimedia Approaches to American Studies,” American Quarterly 70, 3 (2018): 715-19.
• “Nicoleños in Los Angeles: Documenting the Fate of the Lone Woman’s Community,” Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology 36, 1 (2016): 91-118. (with Susan L. Morris, John R. Johnson, Steven J. Schwartz, René L. Vellanoweth, and Glenn J. Farris)
• “The Limits of Agency,” Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures 8, 1 (2016): 278-90.
• “Historical Fiction, the Common Core, and Disciplinary Habits of Mind,” Social Education (2014): 13-17.
• "Reading 9/11 from the American Revolution to U.S. Annexation of the Moon: M.T. Anderson's Feed and Octavian Nothing," Children's Literature 42 (2014): 197-223.
• "Taking Children's Literature Scholarship to the Public: A Manifesto," Children's Literature Association Quarterly 38, 3 (2013): 470-75.
• "Amos Fortune, Free Man: New Uses for a Children's Classic," Common-Place 12, 4 (2012): www.common-place.org.
• "Rewriting the Captivity Narrative for Contemporary Children: Speare, Bruchac, and the French & Indian War," New England Quarterly 84, 2 (2011): 318-46.
• "Historical Fiction and the Classroom: History and Myth in Elizabeth George Speare's The Witch of Blackbird Pond," Children's Literature in Education: An International Quarterly 34 (2003): 195-218.
• “Island of the Blue Dolphins as History and Literature of the West: A Public Humanities Collaboration,” Plenary
Presentation, Western Literature Association, October 2018.
• “Children’s Literature and Scholarly Editions: Challenges, Opportunities, and Possibilities for the Field,” Children’s Literature Association, June 2018.
• “Carrying History Outside the Classroom,” Organization of American Historians, April 2017.
• “Lone Woman and Last Indians: Island of the Blue Dolphins and its Digital Archive,” Russian Academy of Sciences, Institute of World History, International Roundtable: “Fort Ross: Russian-American Dialogue,” October 2014.
• "Lost Woman and Last Indians: Reading Island of the Blue Dolphins' Reception History," Eighth California Islands Symposium, October 2012. http://www.nps.gov/chis/photosmultimedia/california-islands-symposium.htm
• Member, Board of Directors, Children’s Literature Association, 2015-17
• Inaugural member, Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature Scholars Council
• Chair, Carolina Children's Literature Consortium: http://www.libsci.sc.edu/cclc/index.htm
• Consulting Faculty, Jewish Studies
• Affiliated Faculty, Southern Studies
• Affiliated Faculty, Public History
• Member, National Board of Directors, Girl Scouts of the USA, 2005-2011