Centre for Research in Young People's Texts and Cultures

Zohreh Ghaeni

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Ms. Ghaeni was the winner of the 2006 International Sponsorship Grant from the Children's Literature Association for her paper, "A Historical Approach to the Concept of Childhood and Modern Children's Literature in Iran." Like the other Iranian scholars who were chosen as panelists, the international climate rendered it impossible for any of them to visit the United States in person. Thus the International Committee of ChLA decided to title of this panel, "Speaking Absences" in the hopes that perhaps absence would speak louder than words. Like the other panelists, Ms. Ghaeni prepared an audio file for us, accompanied by a PowerPoint presentation, which was presented at the ChLA annual conference in Huntington Beach California June 11, 2006. With the assistance of Melody Morrissette of the Centre for Research in Young Peoples Texts and Cultures at the University of Winnipeg, Ms. Ghaeni's presentation has been prepared for webcast.

Ms. Ghaeni lives in Tehran where she is a researcher at The Institute for Research on the History of Children's Literature. The Institute is a non-governmental organization. The Institute began doing research in 1997 but was not officially established until 2000. They have a growing library and a 45-member staff that includes researchers, research assistants, librarians, bibliographers, biographers and a publishing team. The staff works not only in Tehran, but conduct research in other Iranian cities such as Isfahan, Tabriz, Shiraz, Mashhad, Yazd, and Qom.

The Mission statement of the Institute:

  • To research and publish books on the history of children's literature.
  • To gather all information about children's cultural life throughout Iran's history.
  • To collect books that were published from 1850 to 1989.
  • To encourage the elderly to write about their childhood and childhood books.
  • To provide training and support for young researchers.
  • To operate and expand a research library.
  • To gather the biographies of children's writers and poets.

Among the activities of the Institute has been the publication of seven volumes on the history of children's literature in Iran. The Institute is actively searching for financial support, and in particular, for financial support that would aid in the translation of these works into English. In Ms. Ghaeni's words: "You know that it is very important for us to introduce our research to other researchers around the world, and specifically to the scholars from foreign universities. During recent years we have tried to find sponsorship for translating our research to English in a two-volume book. I am afraid we haven't been successful so far. Now our group is trying to prepare a database on Iranian children's life including literature in Farsi and English. For the first stage we need only a very small amount of money. I hope this part of our project will be completed soon. We are trying to find other sponsorship for continuing the work."

For more information:

Zohreh Ghaeni
z_ghaeni [at] yahoo [dot] com
The Institute for Research on the History of Children’s Literature in Iran

Introduction prepared by

Kevin Shortsleeve
University of Winnipeg

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