Proseminar 1 (3 credits) – required for all doctoral students in the first year of study
Monday/Wednesday 4:20-5:40 pm
Dr. Meredith Bak

The proseminar in Childhood Studies is a year-long investigation into some of the important issues, concepts and debates that surround the study of children and childhood today. We will explore various changing and nuanced definitions of “the child,” ethical dilemmas in working with children, the history of western childhood and global childhoods, race, class gender and sexuality, children’s literature, schooling, the manipulation of images of childhood and the children’s agency in helping to form or to combat those images. Although over the year the course will necessarily bring together multiple perspectives, the first half of the proseminar will focus more closely on disciplines from the Humanities.

Child Growth and Development (3 credits)
Monday 6-8:50 pm
Dr. Daniel Hart

Development in infancy and childhood is both regulated by biological constraints and shaped by cultural practices.  This course examines the genetic underpinnings of development, the biological changes which characterize development from birth through early adolescence, and the environmental and social influences which affect, and are affected by, biological changes.

Historical Research Methods (3 credits)
Wednesday 6-8:50 pm
Dr. Susan Miller

This course is an introduction to historical methodology and research methods. We will discuss trends in historiography and theory – especially as they pertain to the history of childhood – but we will always keep the hands-on business of historical research in mind, and put it into practice as much as possible. All of which is to say that we will ask a lot of questions about questions: Why do historians of childhood interrogate some aspects of kids’ lives but leave others relatively untouched? Why are we ourselves inclined to ask certain questions about childhood and sidestep others? How do scholars select and compile sources, and how is it possible to frame questions about those sources before understanding their content? Unusual for a history course, this seminar is structured around the character of our sources and texts, and not beholden to chronology. As the semester progresses we will move from the most private of sources, such as diaries, letters and memoirs, to ever more public sources, such as advice manuals, organizational records and government documents.

Play and Play Theory (3 credits)
Tuesday 6-8:50 pm
Dr. Daniel Cook

This seminar examines the conceptual, social, cultural and historical contours of play as approached by scholars in various fields of inquiry including, among others, psychology, history, geography, anthropology and sociology. Emphasis is placed on critically examining how thinkers conceptualize the role and meaning of play in childhood, learning, evolution and development with an eye toward unpacking guiding assumptions underpinning contentions regarding the nature and value of play. Humor, games, sport, ritual and festival are among the variety of play forms to be examined. Students are expected to bring their own problems and projects to the class and engage in their own research in conversation with course materials and class discussion.