Deborah Keller

Children’s and Young People’s Media

Despite a PhD and successful joint research as part of a Swiss National Science Foundation project, there was no way Romance studies graduate Deborah Keller was ever going to focus exclusively on an academic career. “The uncertain job situation back then in the mid-90s scared me.” So she taught high school, got a job as an assistant and mandated instructor at the Institute of Romance Studies, and worked as a freelance literary critic. After completing her PhD thesis, she spent time as a research associate at the Office of the Vice President Education, a job that gave her a fascinating look behind the scenes at UZH and a variety of disciplines. After starting a family and becoming a mother, however, Deborah Keller found herself drawn back to her academic roots. “Together with my son I discovered, or more accurately rediscovered, children’s literature – often underrated – and my real research interests. When I was reading to him I used to always also have my literary studies hat on.” What could have been a career setback turned out to be a real career kickstart. Since 2016, she’s had a research job at the Swiss Institute for Children’s and Young Adult Books (SIKJM), which is associated with UZH. Keller summarizes her work like this: “We research media for children and young people from a literary and cultural studies point of view, presenting our findings at academic conferences as well as communicating them to a broader audience via publications and exhibitions.” Every day the fact that she’s made it back into research fills her with a feeling of true happiness. (awe)