Critical Child and Youth Studies (Fall 2020)

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This seminar offers a critical perspective on how childhood and youth are investigated across the different disciplines of the social sciences, psychology and the humanities. Under a different course number, it carries the title ” Introduction to Child and Youth Studies” because it also serves as the introductory course to the MALS track in Childhood Youth Studies. Beginning with the recognition that concepts of childhood and adolescence are socially constructed and vary across culture and historical periods, we will examine how our shifting conceptions of childhood both align and clash with the way children actually live. This will include childhood experiences that challenge the historically recent notions of a “protected” and “innocent” childhood and such issues as child sex and child labor. We will examine how different institutions, discourses and systems shape how childhood is experienced: including family, school, the juvenile justice system, media and consumer culture. While attending to the force of structural inequalities in cultural and economic arrangements, we will not risk rendering children passive or invisible; we will recognize the methodological strides that have been made in recent years by researchers in working with rather than on or about children. Students will be expected to complete a paper on a theme related to their own particular interests in the study of children, youth or childhood.

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Critical Child and Youth Studies (Fall 2020)

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