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Compassionate Confinement Cover

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Compassionate Confinement

A Year in the Life of Unit C

Laura S. Abrams and Ben Anderson-Nathe

To date, knowledge of the everyday world of the juvenile correction institution has been extremely sparse. Compassionate Confinement brings to light the challenges and complexities inherent in the U.S. system of juvenile corrections. Building on over a year of field work at a boys’ residential facility, Laura S. Abrams and Ben Anderson-Nathe provide a context for contemporary institutions and highlight some of the system’s most troubling tensions.

            This ethnographic text utilizes narratives, observations, and case examples to illustrate the strain between treatment and correctional paradigms and the mixed messages regarding gender identity and masculinity that the youths are expected to navigate. Within this context, the authors use the boys’ stories to show various and unexpected pathways toward behavior change. While some residents clearly seized opportunities for self-transformation, others manipulated their way toward release, and faced substantial challenges when they returned home.

            Compassionate Confinement concludes with recommendations for rehabilitating this notoriously troubled system in light of the experiences of its most vulnerable stakeholders.

Contesting Childhood Cover

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Contesting Childhood

Autobiography, Trauma, and Memory

Kate Douglas

Drawing on trauma and memory studies and theories of authorship and readership, Contesting Childhood offers commentary on the triumphs, trials, and tribulations that have shaped this genre. Kate Douglas examines the content of the narratives and the limits of their representations, as well as some of the ways in which autobiographies of youth have become politically important and influential. This study enables readers to discover how stories configure childhood within cultural memory and the public sphere.

Dead Woman Pickney Cover

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Dead Woman Pickney

A Memoir of Childhood in Jamaica

Dead Woman Pickney chronicles life stories of growing up in Jamaica from 1943 to 1965 and contains both personal experience and history, told with stridency and humour. The author’s coming of age parallels the political stages of Jamaica’s moving from the richest Crown colony of Great Britain to an independent nation within the British Commonwealth of Nations.

Taking up the haunting memories of childhood, along with her astonishment at persistent racial marginalization, both locally and globally, the author sets out to construct a narrative that at once explains her own origins in the former slave society of Jamaica and traces the outsider status of Africa and its peoples. The author’s quest to understand the absence of her mother and her mother’s people from her life is at the heart of this narrative. The title, Dead Woman Pickney, is in Jamaican patois, and its meaning unfolds throughout the narrative. It begins with the author’s childhood question of what a mother is, followed by the realization of the vulnerability of a child without its mother’s protection. The term “pickney” was the name for slave children on sugar plantations, and post-emancipation the term was retained for the descendants of enslaved Africans and the children of black women fathered by slavers. The author struggles through her life to discover the identity of her mother in the face of silence from her father’s brutal family.

A wonderful resource for teachers of history, social studies, cultural studies, and literature, this work could be used as a starting point to discuss issues of diasporic identities, colonialism, racism, impact of slavery, and Western imperialism around the world. It is also an engaging read for those interested in memoir and life writing.

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Deaf Adolescents

Inner Lives and Lifeworld Development

Martha A. Sheridan

In her landmark book Inner Lives of Deaf Children: Interviews and Analysis, Martha A. Sheridan explored the lifeworlds — the individual and collective elements and realities that are present within the participants’ existential experiences, their relationships, and their truths — of seven deaf and hard of hearing children between the ages of seven and ten. What she discovered were deaf children with strengths, positive experiences, and positive relationships. Sheridan’s new book Deaf Adolescents: Inner Lives and Lifeworld Development returns to these seven individuals, now between the ages of 13 and 17, to see how their lives have progressed since their first interviews. Establishing an identity is said to be a primary and necessary task of adolescence. Deaf Adolescents reveals how these young adults all have begun to deal with tasks and situations that lead them to rely more on themselves and others outside of their families. Many of them talk about the athletic challenges that they face, and how their success depends upon their own efforts. They also think about the future while biding their time, taking “a break” from the furious growth that they are experiencing and also enjoying time spent with other deaf friends. In this volume, Sheridan examines the similarities and differences that these deaf young adults reveal in their views at two developmental points in their lives. Her renewed study has advanced the quest to determine what pathways and spaces can foster productive, healthy, satisfying, actualized deaf lives.

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Defining Student Success

The Role of School and Culture

Lisa M. Nunn

The key to success, our culture tells us, is a combination of talent and hard work. Why then, do high schools that supposedly subscribe to this view send students to college at such dramatically different rates?  Why do students from one school succeed while students from another struggle? To the usual answer—an imbalance in resources—this book adds a far more subtle and complicated explanation. Defining Student Success shows how different schools foster dissimilar and sometimes conflicting ideas about what it takes to succeed—ideas that do more to preserve the status quo than to promote upward mobility.

Lisa Nunn’s study of three public high schools reveals how students’ beliefs about their own success are shaped by their particular school environment and reinforced by curriculum and teaching practices. While American culture broadly defines success as a product of hard work or talent (at school, intelligence is the talent that matters most), Nunn shows that each school refines and adapts this American cultural wisdom in its own distinct way—reflecting the sensibilities and concerns of the people who inhabit each school. While one school fosters the belief that effort is all it takes to succeed, another fosters the belief that hard work will only get you so far because you have to be smart enough to master course concepts. Ultimately, Nunn argues that these school-level adaptations of cultural ideas about success become invisible advantages and disadvantages for students’ college-going futures. Some schools’ definitions of success match seamlessly with elite college admissions’ definition of the ideal college applicant, while others more closely align with the expectations of middle or low-tier institutions of higher education.

With its insights into the transmission of ideas of success from society to school to student, this provocative work should prompt a reevaluation of the culture of secondary education. Only with a thorough understanding of this process will we ever find more consistent means of inculcating success, by any measure.

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Depicting Canada’s Children

Depicting Canada’s Children is a critical analysis of the visual representation of Canadian children from the seventeenth century to the present. Recognizing the importance of methodological diversity, these essays discuss understandings of children and childhood derived from depictions across a wide range of media and contexts. But rather than simply examine images in formal settings, the authors take into account the components of the images and the role of image-making in everyday life. The contributors provide a close study of the evolution of the figure of the child and shed light on the defining role children have played in the history of Canada and our assumptions about them. Rather than offer comprehensive historical coverage, this collection is a catalyst for further study through case studies that endorse innovative scholarship. This book will be of interest to scholars in art history, Canadian history, visual culture, Canadian studies, and the history of children.

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Designing the Creative Child

Playthings and Places in Midcentury America

Amy F. Ogata

The postwar American stereotypes of suburban sameness, traditional gender roles, and educational conservatism have masked an alternate self-image tailor-made for the Cold War. The creative child, an idealized future citizen, was the darling of baby boom parents, psychologists, marketers, and designers who saw in the next generation promise that appeared to answer the most pressing worries of the age.

Designing the Creative Child reveals how a postwar cult of childhood creativity developed and continues to this day. Exploring how the idea of children as imaginative and naturally creative was constructed, disseminated, and consumed in the United States after World War II, Amy F. Ogata argues that educational toys, playgrounds, small middle-class houses, new schools, and children’s museums were designed to cultivate imagination in a growing cohort of baby boom children. Enthusiasm for encouraging creativity in children countered Cold War fears of failing competitiveness and the postwar critique of social conformity, making creativity an emblem of national revitalization.

Ogata describes how a historically rooted belief in children’s capacity for independent thinking was transformed from an elite concern of the interwar years to a fully consumable and aspirational ideal that persists today. From building blocks to Gumby, playhouses to Playskool trains, Creative Playthings to the Eames House of Cards, Crayola fingerpaint to children’s museums, material goods and spaces shaped a popular understanding of creativity, and Designing the Creative Child demonstrates how this notion has been woven into the fabric of American culture.

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Discretionary Justice

Looking Inside a Juvenile Drug Court

Leslie Paik

Juvenile drug courts are on the rise in the United States, as a result of a favorable political climate and justice officials' endorsement of the therapeutic jurisprudence movement--the concept of combining therapeutic care with correctional discipline. Discretionary Justice overviews the system, taking readers behind the scenes of the juvenile drug court. Based on fifteen months of ethnographic fieldwork and interviews at a California court, Leslie Paik explores the staff's decision-making practices in assessing the youths' cases, concentrating on the way accountability and noncompliance are assessed.

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Disrupted Childhoods

Children of Women in Prison

Jane A. Siegel

Millions of children in the United States have a parent who is incarcerated and a growing number of these nurturers are mothers. Disrupted Childhoods explores the issues that arise from a mother's confinement and provides first-person accounts of the experiences of children with moms behind bars. Jane A. Siegel offers a perspective that recognizes differences over the long course of a family's interaction with the criminal justice system. Presenting an unparalleled view into the children's lives both before and after their mothers are imprisoned, this book reveals the many challenges they face from the moment such a critical caregiver is arrested to the time she returns home from prison. Based on interviews with nearly seventy youngsters and their mothers conducted at different points of their parent's involvement in the process, the rich qualitative data of Disrupted Childhoods vividly reveals the lived experiences of prisoners' children, telling their stories in their own words. Siegel places the mother's incarceration in context with other aspects of the youths' experiences, including their family life and social worlds, and provides a unique opportunity to hear the voices of a group that has been largely silent until now.

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Eleanor H. Porter's Pollyanna

A Children's Classic at 100

edited by Roxanne Harde and Lydia Kokkola

Appearing first as a weekly serial in The Christian Herald, Eleanor H. Porter’s Pollyanna was first published in book form in 1913. This popular story of an impoverished orphan girl who travels from America’s western frontier to live with her wealthy maternal Aunt Polly in the fictional east coast town of Beldingsville went through forty-seven printings in seven years and remains in print today in its original version, as well as in various translations and adaptations. The story’s enduring appeal lies in Pollyanna’s sunny personality and in her glad game, her playful attempt to accentuate the positive in every situation. In celebration of its centenary, this collection of thirteen original essays examines a wide variety of the novel’s themes and concerns, as well as adaptations in film, manga, and translation.

In this edited collection on Pollyanna, internationally respected and emerging scholars of children’s literature consider Porter’s work from modern critical perspectives. Contributors focus primarily on the novel itself but also examine Porter’s sequel, Pollyanna Grows Up, and the various film versions and translations of the novel. With backgrounds in children’s literature, cultural and film studies, philosophy, and religious studies, these scholars extend critical thinking about Porter’s work beyond the thematic readings that have dominated previous scholarship. In doing so, the authors approach the novel from theoretical perspectives that examine what happens when Pollyanna engages with the world around her—her community and the natural environment—exposing the implicit philosophical, religious, and nationalist ideologies of the era in which Pollyanna was written. The final section is devoted to studies of adaptations of Porter’s protagonist.

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