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Adult Supervision Required Cover

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Adult Supervision Required

Private Freedom and Public Constraints for Parents and Children

Markella B. Rutherford

Adult Supervision Required considers the contradictory ways in which contemporary American culture has imagined individual autonomy for parents and children. In many ways, today’s parents and children have more freedom than ever before. There is widespread respect for children’s autonomy as distinct individuals, and a broad range of parenting styles are flourishing. Yet it may also be fair to say that there is an unprecedented fear of children’s and parents’ freedom. Dread about Amber Alerts and “stranger danger” have put an end to the unsupervised outdoor play enjoyed by earlier generations of suburban kids. Similarly, fear of bad parenting has not only given rise to a cottage industry of advice books for anxious parents, but has also granted state agencies greater power to police the family.

Using popular parenting advice literature as a springboard for a broader sociological analysis of the American family, Markella B. Rutherford explores how our increasingly psychological conception of the family might be jeopardizing our appreciation for parents’ and children’s public lives and civil liberties.

Africans in Canada Cover

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Africans in Canada

Blending Canadian and African Lifestyles?

This book aims at educating parents generally but divorcing or divorced ones specifically. The instruction is that the future and interest of the children, whatever the cause of their separation (or calculations for the non-divorcing others), should always be the prime mover for whatever arrangement (or decision) they make. That the world would be a better place if people generally look at the larger picture of things; larger picture people usually being better suited to give children, without definitional distinctions/exclusions, a better future than what they themselves have, irrespective of the societies they live in. The bookís concern for the future of children also draws from the fact that social work departments, with enormous powers over the making or ruining of childrenís future, are often staffed by persons with contrary ideals to those these departments stand for. Africa and Canada are specifically examined but its messages apply across the globe; lessons dished out from both perspectives of a parent and a child who has been through it and seen it all and would not want other children/parents to go through similar experiences simply because of funny definitions of family or of child, classifications often exclusively geared toward making readily available resources for educating children unavailable to some children. There also is much apprehension about some parentsí blatant use of children for accomplishing their own selfish agendas to the total disregard of the future of said children who, paradoxically, do not even feature in their new un-African and un-Canadian definition of family.

Armies of the Young Cover

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Armies of the Young

Child Soldiers in War and Terrorism

David M. Rosen

Children have served as soldiers throughout history. They fought in the American Revolution, the Civil War, and in both world wars. They served as uniformed soldiers, camouflaged insurgents, and even suicide bombers. Indeed, the first U.S. soldier to be killed by hostile fire in the Afghanistan war was shot in ambush by a fourteen-year-old boy.

Does this mean that child soldiers are aggressors? Or are they victims? It is a difficult question with no obvious answer, yet in recent years the acceptable answer among humanitarian organizations and contemporary scholars has been resoundingly the latter. These children are most often seen as especially hideous examples of adult criminal exploitation.

In this provocative book, David M. Rosen argues that this response vastly oversimplifies the child soldier problem. Drawing on three dramatic examples-from Sierra Leone, Palestine, and Eastern Europe during the Holocaust-Rosen vividly illustrates this controversial view. In each case, he shows that children are not always passive victims, but often make the rational decision that not fighting is worse than fighting.

With a critical eye to international law, Armies of the Young urges readers to reconsider the situation of child combatants in light of circumstance and history before adopting uninformed child protectionist views. In the process, Rosen paints a memorable and unsettling picture of the role of children in international conflicts.

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Babies for the Nation

The Medicalization of Motherhood in Quebec, 1910-1970

Described by some as a “necropolis for babies,” the province of Quebec in the early twentieth century recorded infant mortality rates, particularly among French-speaking Catholics, that were among the highest in the Western world. This “bleeding of the nation” gave birth to a vast movement for child welfare that paved the way for a medicalization of childbearing.

In Babies for the Nation, basing her analysis on extensive documentary research and more than fifty interviews with mothers, Denyse Baillargeon sets out to understand how doctors were able to convince women to consult them, and why mothers chose to follow their advice. Her analysis considers the medical discourse of the time, the development of free services made available to mothers between 1910 and 1970, and how mothers used these services.

Showing the variety of social actors involved in this process (doctors, nurses, women’s groups, members of the clergy, private enterprise, the state, and the mothers themselves), this study delineates the alliances and the conflicts that arose between them in a complex phenomenon that profoundly changed the nature of childbearing in Quebec.

Un Québec en mal d’enfants: La médicalisation de la maternité 1910—1970 was awarded the Clio-Québec Prize, the Lionel Groulx-Yves-Saint-Germain Prize, and the Jean-Charles-Falardeau Prize. This translation by W. Donald Wilson brings this important book to a new readership.

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Becoming Human

The Matter of the Medieval Child

J. Allan Mitchell

Becoming Human argues that human identity was articulated and extended across a wide range of textual, visual, and artifactual assemblages from the twelfth to the fifteenth centuries. J. Allan Mitchell shows how the formation of the child expresses a manifold and mutable style of being. To be human is to learn to dwell among a welter of things.

A searching and provocative historical inquiry into human becoming, the book presents a set of idiosyncratic essays on embryology and infancy, play and games, and manners, meals, and other messes. While it makes significant contributions to medieval scholarship on the body, family, and material culture, Becoming Human theorizes anew what might be called a medieval ecological imaginary. Mitchell examines a broad array of phenomenal objects—including medical diagrams, toy knights, tableware, conduct texts, dream visions, and scientific instruments—and in the process reanimates distinctly medieval ontologies.

In addressing the emergence of the human in the later Middle Ages, Mitchell identifies areas where humanity remains at risk. In illuminating the past, he shines fresh light on our present.

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Bookbird: A Journal of International Children's Literature

Vol. 46 (2008) through current issue

Published by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), Bookbird communicates new ideas to the whole community of readers interested in children's books, publishing work on any topic in the field of international children's literature.

Child Domestic Workers in Zimbabwe Cover

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Child Domestic Workers in Zimbabwe

In the context of AIDS and a declining economy, one strategy for children to ensure their own livelihood is to engage in domestic employment. Here, Michael Bourdillon presents the findings of research based on interviews and discussions with child domestic workers in Zimbabwe. It looks at the circumstances that pushed them into employment, the hardships and humiliations they face therein, as well as the benefits they derive, including, in some cases, education. Most children wanted improvements in their living and working conditions. They did not want to be stopped from working, perceiving that this would worsen their already harsh lives. While child domestic wok is problematic, and often lays children open to various types of abuse, it can also offer critical support and patronage to very disadvantaged children.

The Child in the World Cover

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The Child in the World

Embodiment, Time, and Language in Early Childhood

Eva M. Simms

The Child in the World builds a bridge between continental philosophers, who tend to overlook child existence, and developmental psychologists, who often fail to consider the philosophical assumptions underlying their work. In this volume, author Eva M. Simms draws on both psychological and phenomenological research to investigate child existence in its cultural and historical context and explore the ways children interact with the world around them. Simms examines key experiences of childhood with special attention to the non-dualistic nature of the child’s consciousness and the understanding that there is more to the child’s experiences than cognitive processes. In chapters that proceed from infancy to early childhood, Simms considers how children live their embodiment, coexist with others, experience and the spaces and places of their neighborhoods, have deeply felt relations to things, grasp time intuitively and often in contradiction to adult clock-time, and are transformed by the mystery of the symbolic order of play and language. Simms’s approach is particularly informed by the philosophy of Maurice Merleau-Ponty, which allows for a descriptive and grounded understanding of child experience as well as sophisticated and critical philosophical thinking about human existence in general. By respecting and celebrating the magical non-dualistic relationship child consciousness has to the world, The Child in the World offers readers a unique opportunity to expand their understanding of human existence. Students and teachers of psychology and philosophy, early childhood educators, psychotherapists, as well as general readers who are parents of young children will enjoy this fascinating volume.

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Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village

Shaping Hierarchy and Desire

Bambi L. Chapin

Like toddlers all over the world, Sri Lankan children go through a period that in the U.S. is referred to as the “terrible twos.” Yet once they reach elementary school age, they appear uncannily passive, compliant, and undemanding compared to their Western counterparts. Clearly, these children have undergone some process of socialization, but what?

Over ten years ago, anthropologist Bambi Chapin traveled to a rural Sri Lankan village to begin answering this question, getting to know the toddlers in the village, then returning to track their development over the course of the following decade. Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village offers an intimate look at how these children, raised on the tenets of Buddhism, are trained to set aside selfish desires for the good of their families and the community. Chapin reveals how this cultural conditioning is carried out through small everyday practices, including eating and sleeping arrangements, yet she also explores how the village’s attitudes and customs continue to evolve with each new generation.

Combining penetrating psychological insights with a rigorous observation of larger social structures, Chapin enables us to see the world through the eyes of Sri Lankan children searching for a place within their families and communities. Childhood in a Sri Lankan Village offers a fresh, global perspective on child development and the transmission of culture.    

Children and Childhood in American Religions Cover

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Children and Childhood in American Religions

Edited by Don S. Browning and Bonnie J. Miller-McLemore

Religious traditions play a central role in the lives of many American children. In this collection of essays, leading scholars reveal for the first time how various religions interpret, reconstruct, and mediate their traditions to help guide children and their parents in navigating the opportunities and challenges of American life. The book examines ten religions, among other topics. Only by discussing the unique challenges faced by all religions, and their followers, can we take the first step toward a greater understanding for all of us.

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