Meet the keynotes: Professor Lydia Kokkola

Portrait: Lydia Kokkola

Professor Lydia Kokkola (Foto: Luleå University)

In this series of interviews, we will present the keynote speakers at the IGEL Conference 2018.

Lydia Kokkola is professor and chaired professor at the Department of Arts, Communication and Education, Luleå University of Technology.

What brought you to empirical research in the first place, and to studying the role of literary reading in the classroom?

I was originally trained as a primary school teacher, although I began my career working in pre-school education in Finland. I was working in an immersion setting: the children (aged 4-7) were all Finnish speakers, but I spoke to them only in English. I soon noticed that the children used formulaic phrases accurately, but also creatively in unexpected contexts. The most popular phrases used by the children were instructions they had heard me utter (e.g. “wash your hands”), but they also used chunks taken from songs and stories (e.g. “come quick Ville is the wild rumpus in the playroom!”).

I wrote my licentiate on this phenomenon and then went on, in my PhD, to examine what happened when Finnish speaking children learned to read in English in these immersion classrooms. Again, I noticed that the support offered by literature clearly made the process of learning easier.

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Meet the keynotes: Professor Karina van Dalen-Oskam

Portrait: Karina

Prof. Karina van Dalen-Oskam

In this series of interviews, we will present the keynote speakers at the IGEL Conference 2018.

Karina van Dalen-Oskam is professor of Computational literary studies at the University of Amsterdam, and research leader of the department of Literary studies at the Huygens institute for the History of the Netherlands in Amsterdam.

What brought you to computational literary studies in the first place, and to quantitatively studying stylistic differences in texts, but also in genres, and across time and languages?

My main interest has always been literary texts, especially prose fiction. But I also enjoyed the strict logic behind many linguistic methods, much more than the approaches I saw literary scholars use. Continue reading

Meet the keynotes: Dr. Frank Hakemulder

In this series of interviews, we will present the keynote speakers at the IGEL Conference 2018.Portrait: Frank Hakemulder

Dr. Frank Hakemulder is an assistant professor at the Department for Media and Culture Studies, Utrecht University. Hakemulder was President of IGEL from 2012-2016.

What brought you to empirical research in the first place, and to studying the phenomenon of absorption in literary reading?

We know of no society, in history nor anywhere in the world, that does not have something that we can call ‘literature.’ That makes one wonder what it is for.

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