Arts & Humanities Society & Culture

UGA honors student organizes colloquium on ‘Peter Pan’

Athens, Ga. – A University of Georgia undergraduate student has organized a colloquium on one of the best-known works of English children’s literature. Maria Cox, a sophomore honors scholar in the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities, will present “The Various Changes in ‘Peter Pan’ and its Reception by Audiences Over Time” Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. in room 248 of the Miller Learning Center.

The colloquium will bring together expert scholars in various fields to discuss how James M. Barrie created a legend and how we as a culture continue to receive it, according to Cox.

“In the canon of English children’s literature, few stories resonate so singularly in our culture as that of Peter Pan,” Cox said. “We say ‘story’ because, while ‘Peter Pan’ began as a stage play, its many incarnations as novels, musicals and movies have placed Barrie’s creation at the forefront of children’s literature.”

When the play “Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up” was first staged in December 1904, the craze was so immediate that by 1909, writers were already declaring the tale a classic, even before Barrie published his novel in 1911, she said.

“How did ‘Peter Pan’ capture so completely the imaginations of both the adults and children who viewed the play?” Cox said. “What made ‘Peter Pan’ stand out from other children’s stories at the time, and how has it endured so pervasively, even today?”

Cox enlisted UGA faculty members to address those questions and how changes in adaptations of Barrie’s work have reflected changes in cultural views on race, sexuality, childhood and gender. Confirmed panelists are Alison Alexander, senior associate dean of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication; Marla Carlson, assistant professor in the Franklin College of Arts and Sciences’ department of theatre and film studies; and Danielle Bray, lecturer in the department of English.

The colloquium is supported by the UGA Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts.

Willson Center for Humanities and Arts
The Jane and Harry Willson Center for Humanities and Arts is a unit of the Office of the Vice President for Research at UGA. In the service of its mission to promote research and creativity in the humanities and arts, the Willson Center sponsors and participates in numerous public events on and off the UGA campus throughout the academic year. It supports faculty through research grants, lectures, symposia, publications, visiting scholars and artists, collaborative instruction, public conferences, exhibitions and performances. For more information, see

The Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities facilitates opportunities for undergraduate students to pursue research with premiere research faculty and share their accomplishments with the campus community and beyond. By working with and through CURO, undergraduates can learn strategies and skills to help them identify and contact research mentors, earn degree program academic credit, compete for funded summer research opportunities, receive conference travel support and present and publish their work. For more information, see