Proseminar 2 (three credits) – required for all doctoral students in the first year of study
Monday/Wednesday 4:20 – 5:40 pm
Dr. Daniel Cook

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.

History of Childhood (three credits)
Monday 6:00 – 8:40 pm
Dr. Susan Miller

How were children transformed from unsaved souls to “little savages” to the very embodiment of innocence? When, and why, did children lose their role as contributors to the family economy and instead become quarter-of-a-million dollar investments (according to the US Department of Agriculture)? Why do Americans seem obsessed with protecting their kids from illicit drugs, while at the same time medicating them for a host of ills—from being antsy to being short? Although this course will include material from Colonial times to the present day, it is not so much a survey of American children’s history as an historical investigation of the pivotal turning points in how Americans viewed their children. Topics will include sexuality and free speech, juvenile justice and civic responsibility, as well as kids’ relationship to families, consumer culture and medical professionals.

Interpretive Research Methods (three credits)
Tuesday 6:00 – 8:40 pm
Dr. Lauren Silver

This course delves into the philosophical, theoretical and practical aspects of what many call “qualitative” research methods. A number of specific methods will be examined, with particular emphasis on researching the lives and experiences of children.

Theories of Childhood Studies (three credits)
Thursday 6:00 – 8:40 pm
Dr. Sarada Balagopalan

The development of Childhood Studies has been influenced by a range of disciplinary and theoretical perspectives. In this seminar we will explore in depth salient theoretical works emerging from diverse disciplines including philosophy, social anthropology, sociology, psychology, economics and development studies. It will include examining the work of mid to late 20th and 21st century authors whose wide theoretical perspectives have had a strong and pervasive influence on the field both in the industrialized and “developing” worlds. Key authors to be studied include Michel Foucault, Amartya Sen, Martha Nussbaum, Walter Benjamin, Nancy Scheper-Hughes, Aihwa Ong, Pierre Bourdieu, Richard Sennett and Judith Butler. This course will include detailed examination and discussion of selected texts and of their impact on the field.