Introduction to Childhood Studies (D) (3)
Examines various ways that childhood has been discussed, researched, and understood as a social phenomenon and social institution. Course materials are selected to illustrate how various notions of childhood and "the child" impact cultural understandings regarding the "nature" of children. Historical as well as contemporary research and perspectives are used to address such issues as changing definitions of childhood; changing age norms; the idea of children as social actors; race, gender and social class aspects of children's experiences; children's rights and child labor and work in a global context.
Child Health and Disparities (3)
Accumulating scientific evidence indicates that many health disparities
have their origins in childhood and adolescence. This practice-based
course will utilize a socio-ecological approach to provide students with
a solid understanding of biological, psychosocial, environmental,
cultural, political, and other determinants of child and adolescent
health, enabling them to conceptualize health promotion programs to
reduce related disparities. Students will be expected to apply analytic
tools and theoretical models to real-world child and adolescent health
issues through community-based, participatory research and practice.
Childhood and Pediatric Medicine (3)
will explore the relationship between childhood and pediatric medicine. Drawing
upon insight and materials from science and technology studies, medical
anthropology, and childhood studies, the course will challenge students to
examine the creation of pediatric standards for bringing about optimal child
health and development. Students also will be encouraged to focus critically on
claims about the role of various caregivers in raising, and perhaps producing
conceptions of, "healthy" children. This invites students to consider the many
ways, both positive and negative, in which young people and their loved ones
are affected by pediatric knowledge and practices.
Children's Rights (3)
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
Childhood and Disabilities (3)
This course draws from ongoing dialogues and debates in the interdisciplinary fields
of disability studies and childhood studies in order to better understand how
disabled children and disabled childhood(s) are discussed, researched, and
understood. Students in this course will
be introduced to medical and social models of disability, while exploring how
childhood can be viewed as a historical, cultural, and social
construction. The course will examine
the way that children's disabilities intersect with other categories of
identity such as gender, sexuality, race, and class. It will also consider children's disabilities
across cross-cultural and global contexts.
Children and War (3)
Examines war, armed conflict, and children from a global,
multidisciplinary perspective. Students
will be challenged to analyze critically the variety and often contradictory
ways in which children have been implicated in, participated in, and impacted
by war/armed conflict. Historical,
cultural, literary, artistic, psychological, sociological, and economic approaches
will be brought to bear upon pressing, recurrent problems, such as: the
representation of the child as agent or victim; the diversity of children's
experiences, participation, and understandings; and the question of rights and
justice with regard to international, national, and local contexts.
Childhood and Play: Theories and Practices (3)
course examines the conceptual, social, cultural, and historical contours of
children's play as approached by scholars in various fields, including
psychology, disabilities studies, anthropology, and sociology. It will critically examine the diverse ways
of conceptualizing the nature, scope, and impact of children's play on pedagogy
and development. Course materials invite
students to apply theories of play to areas of concern such as economic and
educational disparities, emotional or physical challenges, and the complicated
impacts of digital media technologies in both local and global contexts.
History of Youth (3)
Explores Americans' changing ideas about who young people were and what constituted a good childhood. The turn of the 20th century witnessed an unparalleled enthusiasm for the future of young people. From concerns for newly emancipated young slaves and Civil War orphans, to the heady dreams (and anxieties) unleashed by young people in the Age of Aquarius, the course will track the history of youth in the 20th century, asking how changing definitions of children--from "youth" to "adolescents" to "teenagers"--were influenced by social, political, and cultural change in 20th-century America.
Youth in a New Nation (3)
Examines the lives of American young people from colonial
times to the Civil War. Course readings will include information about
the participation of children and youth in such important historical
events as the Salem Witch Trials, slavery, and the Civil War. The course
will grapple with important questions such as what does "childhood" mean
when young people are engaged in or affected by "adult" pursuits and
Kids' Media Cultures (3)
This course examines relationships between children, childhood, and the media from historical, cultural, social, political, and psychological perspectives. Radio, film, and television along with digital media and new technologies will be examined, as will certain types of print media. Coursework focuses on the ways in which media have and continue to be understood both as threatening to childhood and as liberating/empowering for children. The course will also explore extensions of kids' media culture into everyday life (e.g., clothing, food, education) and the use of media by children. Students will be expected to conduct research on a topic relevant to course materials.
Toy Design (3)
In this class, students will study the process
of contemporary toy production from initial idea through design, manufacture,
marketing, and promotion. We will examine historical and contemporary examples
and consider children's playthings from perspectives such as toys as
intellectual property, developmental objects, and objects with the capacity to
reflect, sustain, and revise cultural values. In particular, the course will
consider the relationships toys bear to race, gender, class, and ability, and
use digital and analog tools to imagine toys as agents of social change. For
the final project, students will work in groups to design and prototype an
original toy idea.
Developing Minds and Bodies (3)
Examines the history of adults' efforts to sculpt and standardize children's development. Children are, by definition, in a constant state of becoming. Year after year, they get bigger, smarter, and more mature, while adults seem obsessed with observing, measuring, and even controlling their growth. Should little boys be given hormones just because they might grow up to be short? Can 3-year-olds legitimately be diagnosed with severe psychiatric disorders? We will ask questions about young sporting bodies (can children truly choose to devote themselves to highly competitive physical training in kindergarten?) and developing sexual bodies (should sexuality be part of elementary school curricula?). Students should be prepared to engage in thoughtful analysis of these questions, without the expectation of clear answers.
Children's Books and Illustration (3)
Surveys poetry, prose, drama, and illustrated books for children, primarily from the Anglo-American tradition, over the 300-year history of its development. The study of children's literature constitutes a valuable field of critical inquiry important to understanding literary history, the cultural construction of childhood, the history of childhood, and the development of children's culture and visual literacy. The course will consider techniques and style in writing and illustrating books for young audiences.
Young Adult Literature (3)
Surveys classic and contemporary examples of adolescent literature from prose, graphic novels, film, and television. The goal will be to read widely in the literature and popular culture that represents the adolescent experience particularly, but not exclusively, from the American perspective. One focus of the course will be to reflect the diversity of experiences in the adolescent population according to race, gender, ethnicity, etc.
Children's Literacies (3)
This course considers the ways in which "literacy" has expanded beyond learning to read and write. The literate child must negotiate not only traditional textual and visual formats such as picture books, animated television programs, and novels, but also websites, hand-held devices, and film. Students will learn both the historical contextualization of children's literacy and be introduced to multimodal and transmedia texts available to--and at times created by--children and young adults, including websites, iPhone Apps, fan fiction, graphic novels, and books in order to gain a deep understanding of the multiple literacies of childhood.
Children and Migration (3)
This course considers the unprecedented movement of children around the world in the 21st century. The movement of children around the globe may result in losses of family, friends, culture, and language and give rise to considerable challenges of adaptation and integration. Students will have the opportunity to examine the migration of children by drawing on international case studies from Europe, North and South America, Southern Africa, and the Middle East. The course will include critical examination of theories of migration and their applicability to children and issues of integration into host societies.
Global Childhoods (3)
This course considers the 20th and 21st centuries as eras of globalization in which traditional social and familial structures are breaking down. Within this context children's experiences are infused by influences from across the globe. We will examine the extent to which children are impacted by global factors including cultural and religious diversity and hybridity, transnational families, and interethnic relationships. Salient issues will include children's identity in a globalized world, the maintenance or erosion of tradition, the impact of travel, and the impact of globalization on children's cultural worlds. The course will draw on international examples of globalization and the interrelationships between local and global factors in children's worlds.
Ethnographies of Childhood (3)
This course uses
ethnographic research to explore the contemporary lives of children in
different parts of the world, including the United States. It focuses on
particular themes--such as children's socialization, play, labor, schooling,
adoption, and sponsorship--as well as particular populations of children,
including child migrants, street children, and child soldiers. The course
foregrounds ethnography as an important research method for understanding
children's lives as both culturally specific and yet increasingly
interconnected to the working of the state and global capital. It allows
students to gain a deeper sense of how exclusionary practices around race,
class, gender, sexuality, and caste affect children's lives in different
countries of the world.
Special Topics: Childhood Studies I (3)
Provides an in-depth examination of a topic or theme related to the study of children and childhood. Topics will rotate.
Special Topics: Childhood Studies II (3)
Provides an in-depth examination of a topic or theme related to the study of children and childhood. Topics will rotate.
Urban Education (3)
Explores the ways in which urban schools are created as social, cultural, economic, and political institutions. The relationship between schools and their urban environments will be explored, as well as how schools contest or perpetuate inequalities along racial, social class, ethnic, and gender lines. The course will also consider contemporary school reform movements and their contexts.
Youth Identities and Urban Ecology (3)
Considers how urban ecologies shape the identities of youth coming of age in cities within the United States and across the world and investigates the multiple roles of youth, paying particular attention to how identities are informed by structure of race, ethnicity, class, gender, and sexuality. The contexts in which youth identities are examined include neighborhood, school, work, family, and peer groups.
Gender and Education (3)
This course explores the relationship between gender and education, focusing primarily on the context of K-12 schooling. Through multidisciplinary social science studies, films, and biographical narratives, students consider the ways in which gender is socially constructed within schools. We explore the construction and contestation of gendered identities through multiple mechanisms including in-school social interactions, practices, policies, and structures, as well as through broader sociocultural norms. How do the media, family life, and government shape patterns of gender within schools? Also, the course will explore briefly trends in gender and higher education as well as international trends in girls' education.
Special Topics in Childhood Studies: Health Disparities in Children (3)
evidence indicates that many health disparities have their origins
in childhood and adolescence. This seminar utilizes a socioecological
approach to studying the origins, distributions, and development of child
and adolescent health and health care disparities. Students will examine
biological, environmental, psychosocial, cultural, political, and other
determinants of child and adolescent health, which will enable them
to conceptualize health promotion programs and policies to reduce and
eliminate related disparities. Conditions in which health and health care
disparities are particularly evident among children and adolescents will
also be discussed, including obesity and depression. Disparities will be
discussed relative to race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and sexual
Special Topics: Childhood Studies III (3)
Provides an in-depth examination of a topic or theme
related to the study of children and childhood. Topics will rotate.
Children's Geographies (3)
Introduces students to the field of children's
geographies, with a focus on dynamics of space, place, and identity in childhood
studies. Engaging with multiple disciplinary perspectives, the course will
challenge students to look critically at taken-for-granted spaces of children's
lives, such as the home, classroom, playground, and city. We will examine a
range of institutions (e.g., family, schooling), practices (e.g., play,
consumption), and discourses (e.g., nature, citizenship) through which the
places and spaces of childhood are imagined, regulated, and experienced. A
range of case studies will be used to situate the geographies of American
childhoods in a broader global perspective. Particular attention will be paid
to the way children actively create and navigate space in their everyday lives,
as well as how children's geographies are shaped by social structures, such as
gender, race, and class.
Observation and Assessment in Early Childhood Environments (3)
This course develops the student's ability to choose and utilize appropriate early childhood assessment tools relevant to children from birth to age 8. The course will convey the connection between child and environmental assessments that promote best practice and strengthen family-program partnerships to meet the individual needs of children in a high-quality program.
Design a Childhood Environment (3)
Provides a comprehensive overview of environments that encompass birth-to-age-8 settings to ensure early childhood professionals are able to plan and support developmentally appropriate environments and promote best practice that meet the diverse needs of children, staff, and families.
Social and Emotional Development (3)
This course introduces infant/toddler mental health and the interaction processes essential to promote quality infant-toddler programs in center, family-based, and other relevant settings. The course will cover topics such as attachment, separation and loss, and separation and individual construct, as well as using observation to further enhance the child and primary caregiver relationship.
Directed Readings (3)
This independent study course focuses on readings connected to a research project. Topics are selected to reflect research projects currently underway on the campus.
Prerequisites: This course is by permission only and should only be undertaken by advanced students who have an established relationship with a faculty member who is willing to supervise the course.
Quantitative Research Methods in Childhood Studies (3)
Provides students with the skills necessary to understand, critique, and produce quantitative information concerning children. Childhood is frequently characterized in terms of numbers, charts, correlations, and other means that rely upon the manipulation of quantitative information. Students will learn the strengths and limitations of different methods used to acquire quantitative information about children and childhood, and will also use statistical programs to analyze data and to present results of analyses in readily interpretable displays.
Prerequisite: 50:830:250 or 50:960:183 or 50:960:283. An introductory statistics class is a recommended prerequisite.
Senior Seminar (3)
Serves as the capstone course for the childhood studies major and is open to graduating seniors (in their last semester of coursework) only. Students apply the skills acquired through the interdisciplinary study of children and childhood to the analysis of a topic selected by the instructor. A major paper is required.
Child Well-Being (4)
This advanced course will teach students to examine the varied dimensions of child well-being, identify impediments to child well-being, and suggest solutions to social problems related to child well-being. The course will employ an engaged learning approach in which students work directly with children to brainstorm ways to enhance child well-being in Camden. As such, students enrolled in this course should be prepared to allocate time outside of class to work with children and youth directly. Includes discussion, guest lectures, film screenings, and hands-on service learning.
Service Learning in Childhood Studies (3)
This advanced course enables students to work directly with organizations and institutions that assist Camden's children and youth. The course consists of both classroom time and a service component in which students, under the supervision of their instructor, will volunteer within the Camden community. Although the focus of each service learning course will be children and childhood, the specific topic and service assignment of the course will rotate.
Advanced Research (3)
This course enables students to conduct original research about children under the direction of a faculty member. Students interested in enrolling in Advanced Research must conceive of a project and approach a faculty member as a potential supervisor early in the semester prior to the one in which the research would be undertaken. Some projects may require review by the Rutgers Institutional Review Board. May be repeated for credit.
Prerequisite: By permission only.