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Representations of Vietnamese Culture in Children's Picturebooks


Confirmation of Candidature Presentation by Ngoc Tai Huynh

Start Date

13th Feb 2018 2:00pm

End Date

13th Feb 2018 2:00pm


Education Video Conference Rooms: Launceston: NH.A221c.Video, Hobart: SB.Hytten325.Video, Cradle Coast: CC.A119Video

This qualitative research project is centered on examining the representations of Vietnamese culture on children's plcturebooks.  It draws on the theoretical frameworks of Cultural Studies, (Hall,1976; Hall, 1997; Tytor, 1874).  Multiliteracies (Kalantzis & Cope,2012; Kalantzis et al.,2016; The New London, 1996) and Social Semiotics (Kress,2010; Kress & van Leeuwen, 2006). The research is framed by the continued challenges faced in Australian and, mote specifically, Tasmanian society in accepting, tolerating, understanding and fully embracing relations with Asia.

For more than two decades of a range of educational policies have been implemented to promote what is termed as "Asia Literacy", whereby all teachers have been encouraged to explicitly teach students about Asian peoples and culture. Most recently. this has been translated into a national cross-curricular priority for all schooling. Despite the policies and curriculum drivers, significant problems have still been identified in terms of teachers' ideologies and practices. Halse (2015) considered Asia literacy as a 'wicked policy problem' by pointing out that there are issues in defining "the problem" of the Asia literacy policies (p.23).  Rizvi (2015), called for changing the narrative of Asia literacy developed in the late 1980s In which "Asia is still seen as the East - different and exotic - while Australia is assumed to be a proxy for the West" (p.67). Among 1,319 Australian teachers, just a minority consider themselves at high levels of Asia literacy (Halse, 2013).  Additionally, most of the teachers were not familiar with Asia related texts (Cloonan, 2015).

Understanding and selecting suitable Asia-related texts has been found to be an influential factors in teachers' Asian literacy (Halse et at., 2013). This suggests that there Is an urgent need for studies supporting teachers' understand and teaching Asia-related texts in order to achieve the desired outcomes of Asia literacy.  Additionally there has been an increase in population of Asian born residents In Australia and Tasmania, With Vietnam among the top ten 'countries of birth' making up the proportion of Australia population (ABS, 2017).

In summary, this study aims to examine the ways in which Vietnamese culture is represented in a diverse range of picturebooks.  In so doing, it aims to take a critical stance on representation, and to articulate ways of thinking about culture which will be of benefit to teachers. A secondary aim will be to challenge dominant Western 'ways of looking' at images, and call into question wide held traditions on semiotic theory. The findings will thereby also be of benefit to the fields of children's literature, semiotics, and multimodality.