LIT 4930: CHILDREN, CULTURE, AND VIOLENCE
Large and small acts of violence have touched children's lives since the beginnings of civilization. At times this violence is careless and accidental, at times it is maliciously intentional, and at many times it has been regarded as an accepted part of growing up. Representations of the violence to which children are exposed is a current that runs through nursery rhymes and lullabyes; fairy tales and fantasies; games, toys, and any number of other genres of popular culture. Inescapably, violence is also found in the facts of young peoples' lives: in our families and schools, our neighborhoods and larger communities, including the global village. This course will examine the "origins" of violence vis-a-vis children in myth, psychology, and history. It will explore many of the more familiar forms in which this violence occurs and in which it is represented culturally -- from picture books, comics, realistic and fantasy fiction, and tranditional games to movies, rap, sports, and the digital world. Throughout, we will be interested in engaging a number of important questions (psychological, philosophical, historical, creative) about the shifting cultural dynamics that affect our attitudes toward violence and the ways that it touches the youngest among us as well as it has our own younger selves.
LIT 4332: LITERATURE FOR YOUNG CHILDREN
The child is all that is abandoned and at the same
time divinely powerful; the insignificant, dubious beginning and
the triumphal end. The "eternal child" in man is an indescribable
experience, an incongruity, a handicap,and a divine prerogrative.
This course is meant to be an introduction to and an exploration
of the child's earliest experiences with literature, from birth
until his/her first years in school. We will be interested in the
relationships between children's books and oral literature and the
imaginative, aesthetic, moral, and psychological growth of their
young audiences. The course is designed to involve you actively,
analytically, and creatively in the study of this subject. You will
be encouraged to develop a first hand sense of how some forms of
children's literature are created; you will be asked to look at
works for children with a critical eye; and you will be urged to
do your own field work, testing assertions, questions, and ideas
that are raised in the course. Literature for Young Children is
intended for the children in your classrooms, the children in your
home, and the child who still lives somewhere within you.
LIT 4930: THE CULTURES OF CHILDHOOD
We usually don't link the words "children" and "culture" together.
The latter is thought of as somethings serious, lofty, essential;
while the former is generally regarded as disposable, insignificant,
and dispensible. And when these two terms are combined, "culutre"
is usually singular. The purpose of this course is to explore not
only the connections between culture and childhood and their eternal
ties, but also to consider the plurality of these cultures and childhoods.
For though there are fundamental similarities that nearly all children
share, the social circumstances and the developmental experiences
are very different for a child who grows up to be veiled in one
part of the world, and a child in another who is allowed to hold
wild rumpusses in the family room, like Max in Maurice Sendak's
Where the Wild Things Are. Childhoods, as we shall see, are dependent
upon historical and material facts, social customs, and mythic configurations.
But children and childhoods may also be a source of dramatic change
and paradigmatic shifts, for cultures, and for the individuals who
people and create them.
CRW 6166: Studies in Literary Form
Children's Books: Old Boundaries, New Directions This seminar will
explore a wide range of works that have been created for children,
or that have come to be regarded as works for children, though they
may not have begun their history with that intention. One of the
concerns we will have in the course is to look at those boundaries
that have been drawn, arbitrarily or consciously, to define children's
books, and thus what creative works we believe are important to
bring into the lives of young people. We will look at "classics"
as well as experimental works that are testing accepted assumptions,
shorter works that began their life in the oral tradition as well
as more extended works that are meant for sophisticated, literate
audiences. Throughout the term, along with examining these works
from a critical perspective, we will also be responding to them
in creative ways, producing works that build imaginatively on these