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Courtney Stickland

Thesis: The Child Detective in British Culture and Society, 1900-1950

My project investigates the social and cultural meanings of the child detective, which was an increasingly popular feature of children's media in the first half of the twentieth century. Focusing on fictional representations of child detectives (most notably those created by prolific children's author Enid Blyton), as well as training and education initiatives aimed at developing children's skills in observation, my research will explore how the young investigator demonstrated changing notions of childhood in the new 'watchdog' state. In particular, I am interested in how the 'innocence' of childhood was increasingly cross-cut with messages of surveillance, control, and suspicion. As previous scholarship has utilised Sherlock Holmes to interrogate issues such as masculinity, national identity, and modernity, my focus on the child investigator will shed further light on the construction of youth identities, and the role of juvenile literary and leisure cultures in shaping these identities.


Expected submission date

  • December 2018

Research interests

Surveillance and policing, urban geography, visual culture, gender history, British and Canadian imperial history.

Additional information

  • MA (Distinction) History, The University of Manchester;
  • BA History, Human Geography, University of British Columbia (Vancouver).

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