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.

Children’s Rights (3 credits)
Thursday 6:00-8:50 pm
Dr. John Wall

This course examines children’s rights from a range of theoretical, practical, historical, cultural, and global perspectives. It asks what it means to speak of children and youth as possessing rights, how children’s rights challenge broader human rights, how children’s rights have changed over time, what key struggles are emerging locally and internationally, how children and youth may participate in such struggles, and how children’s rights face issues of cultural difference, marginalization from power, and practical implementation. Students gain a solid grounding in children’s rights theory and an appreciation for the dilemmas, struggles, and possibilities of children’s rights practices.

Historical Methods (3 credits)
Monday 6:00 – 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.

Postcolonial Childhoods (3 credits)
Tuesday 6:00-8:50 pm
Dr. Sarada Balagopalan

This course introduces students to postcolonial theory and combines this with ethnographic and historical research on children’s lives in the global South.  Given that a majority of these countries are ex-colonies, the course hopes to highlight the importance of factoring in this colonial past to understand the contemporary, everyday lives of children.  This Course will enable students to further problematize several key debates in Childhood Studies including those on ‘subjectivity’, ‘agency’, ‘rights’, ‘voice’ etc.  It is hoped that this Course will persuade students to read the cultural differences that these children’s lives signify beyond a liberal tolerance of cultural practices and within a more conceptual register.