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A Story of the Young Adult Story of Children's and Young Adult Literature, Culture, and Media



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De Persia Colón, Adriana 


This doctoral thesis, entitled A Story of the Young Adult Story of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Culture, and Media, is an anticolonial and decolonial analysis of childhoods and youth under colonial occupation in Puerto Rico at the turn of the twenty-first century. As a mixed genre project, this research bridges the personal with larger trajectories through speculative storytelling featuring fictionalized instances and haunting and spectral elements. This research demonstrates that the 1990s through 2020s generation were not—and are not—voiceless or mere passive recipients of their circumstances without agency, but active, central, and entangled participants in questioning, challenging, and changing and transforming their worlds in Puerto Rico and beyond. A Story of the Young Adult Story of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, Culture, and Media led me to experiential and archival fieldwork in Puerto Rico, New York, and Cambridge, UK. Guided by the principle of refusing extractive academic research, I employed story and storytelling as political sites, where negotiating sharing and withholding was constant. By employing a walking-with methodology, I viewed the more-than-human world, the histories, and the peoples of each location as co-storytellers, choosing what to reveal and conceal. For my time in Puerto Rico, I visited my schools, higher education campuses, and engaged with personal, family and library archives and silences. During my time in New York, I examined elite education at a liberal arts college as part of a Language Fellowship and made occasional visits to New York City. While on-site at Cambridge, I studied a doctoral experience impacted by the early years of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Dark academia, haunting and spectrality become salient as the thesis progresses. Imagined as a work of literature and art, A Story of the Young Adult Story of Children’s and Young Adult, Literature, Culture, and Media remixes doctoral thesis writing. The project combines the chapter structure of traditional academic books with the craft of story and storytelling to reach multiple audiences. Instead of being led by a question and hypothesis, curiosity, wonder, and process were guiding stars. Like literary works that enrapture us with their profound explorations of the purpose of life and death, this work of art asks readers to go deep and wide like our lives and the cosmos depend on it, because they do. They do.





Coats, Karen


children's literature, Puerto Rico, speculative, storytelling, young adult literature


Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Awarding Institution

University of Cambridge