Who does own the story?

Welch, Wendy. "Who Owns the Story?" Storytelling, Self, Society, 5:1-22, 2009.

Welch asks the big question (above) systematically, using both legal and ethnographic arguments. But she doesn't answer it, and ultimately what she provides is a broad exploration of the facets of the question and ways of answering. This is a strong candidate as a text for the storytelling course precisely because it presents a range of answers. At the same time, I admit to a sense of disappointment as a scholar: she touches on individual/personal ownership, cultural ownership, authenticity (and claims to authenticity), the idea of "respect" and its limits, and even sacred stories, but she doesn't ultimately get beyond a postmodern issues of representation. She tackles them in concrete, not critical theory, terms, and that's a big plus, but her conclusion about "thoughtful people of integrity on all sides of this issue" is just shy of relativism. I wished for more serious consideration of power, a la Foucault, rather than a well-researched and well-defined paper that ultimately walks the reader through a smorgasbord of opinions.

The Letter-Box as intermediate space between child/adults/readers/writers

Phillips, Michelle H. "Along the 'Paragraphic Wires': Child-Adult Mediation in St. Nicholas Magazine" in Children's Literature vol. 37, p. 84-109.
Great article for thinking about how a magazine positions child readers, in a top-down way, as active participants. Phillips argues that St. Nicholas readers had much free play in their interactions with the magazine through a series of close readings of the Letter-Box section. Brilliantly conceived and well argued, this is a piece that can substantiate the claim that child readers were granted some specific kinds of agency.
Of special note:
-Phillps argues that children themselves write "with amusement about other children" engaginging in "a process of disidentification with childhood." (p. 105)
-about Dodge.. "...unlike so many of the editors of other children's periodicals, for Dodge the role of an editor is not coincident with that of an author, parent, or other adult authority figure." (p. 90) Instead, "the editor's role is to mediate" in this "space of hybridized adult-child interchange." (p. 87)