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Lauren Rea, “Children’s Literature and Childhood in Argentina’s Billiken Magazine (1919-present)

Monday 22nd January 2018, 5:30 – 7pm.

City Centre Seminar Room 2.07, Bancroft Building, Queen Mary University of London.

Billiken is the world’s longest-running children’s weekly and will be one hundred years old in November 2019. It has always had the dual purpose of educating and entertaining children, placing comic strips and popular literature alongside content aligned to the primary school curriculum. This paper will explore key points in Billiken‘s history to see how the editorial conception of Argentine childhood has changed over time, and how these changes are visible in both the magazine’s content and the layout of that content. It will also examine the extent to which Billiken‘s changing understanding of the Argentine child correlates to ideological shifts advanced by the different political regimes the magazine has lived through. At the height of Billiken‘s popularity, the magazine had a weekly paid circulation of over 500,000, and was sold all across Latin America. As Billiken‘s centenary approaches, weekly circulation is down to 15,000, inviting questions about the future of this print magazine in the digital age.

Dr Lauren Rea is Lecturer in Latin American Studies at the University of Sheffield and specialises in the Cultural History and Popular Culture of Argentina. Lauren’s current project on Children’s Literature and Childhood in Argentina’s Billiken magazine is funded by the AHRC Leadership Fellows Scheme.

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