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Eleanor H. Porter's Pollyanna Cover

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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.

Engaging Children and Youth in Africa Cover

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Engaging Children and Youth in Africa

Methodological and Phenomenological Issues

Mwenda Ntarangwi

Representing research from east, central, west, and southern Africa, Engaging Children and Youth in Africa provides a well-balanced analysis of on-the-ground data with methodological and phenomenological issues that abound in much of research in Africa today. With an introduction that charts out some of the most critical approaches in African-centred research on children and youth, contributors to this volume give the reader a glimpse of the product of engaged research that places children and youth at the centre of analysis. The authors follow recent studies that have insisted on seeing African childhood and youth beyond constraining Western notions of vulnerability or innocence, to capture the ways in which recent advances in technology, the intensification of global processes, and continued weakening of the nation-state have not only contributed to new ways of being children and youth but how they have also provided a new lens through which to study social change.

Ethics in Light of Childhood Cover

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Ethics in Light of Childhood

John Wall

Childhood faces humanity with its own deepest and most perplexing questions. An ethics that truly includes the world's childhoods would transcend pre-modern traditional communities and modern rational autonomy with a postmodern aim of growing responsib

Excision: Les jeunes changent líAfrique par les TIC Cover

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Excision: Les jeunes changent líAfrique par les TIC

Assessing the impact of twenty-five years of action to promote the discontinuation of female circumcision (FGM) in Francophone West Africa, should consider a key issue: the contribution of the digital revolution, and how young people - girls and boys - have been associated. As victims, subjects, objects, actors, citizens, leaders and family and community stakeholders, FGM is for them a matter of concern. Youth, ICTs and FGM reveal gender issues that must be transversally integrated in public, private, citizen and personal development policies. This is the main message of this book, which presents the results of an innovative action research conducted by ENDA Tiers Monde, with the participation of girls and boys in Burkina Faso, Mali and Senegal. The study is in the French language.

Family Trouble Cover

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Family Trouble

Middle-Class Parents, Children's Problems, and the Disruption of Everyday Life

Ara Francis

Our children mean the world to us. They are so central to our hopes and dreams that we will do almost anything to keep them healthy, happy, and safe. What happens, then, when a child has serious problems? In Family Trouble, a compelling portrait of upheaval in family life, sociologist Ara Francis tells the stories of middle-class men and women whose children face significant medical, psychological, and social challenges. 
Francis interviewed the mothers and fathers of children with such problems as depression, bi-polar disorder, autism, learning disabilities, drug addiction, alcoholism, fetal alcohol syndrome, and cerebral palsy. Children’s problems, she finds, profoundly upset the foundations of parents’ everyday lives, overturning taken-for-granted expectations, daily routines, and personal relationships. Indeed, these problems initiated a chain of disruption that moved through parents’ lives in domino-like fashion, culminating in a crisis characterized by uncertainty, loneliness, guilt, grief, and anxiety. Francis looks at how mothers and fathers often differ in their interpretation of a child’s condition, discusses the gendered nature of child rearing, and describes how parents struggle to find effective treatments and to successfully navigate medical and educational bureaucracies. But above all, Family Trouble examines how children’s problems disrupt middle-class dreams of the “normal” family. It captures how children’s problems “radiate” and spill over into other areas of parents’ lives, wreaking havoc even on their identities, leading them to reevaluate deeply held assumptions about their own sense of self and what it means to achieve the good life.  

Engagingly written, Family Trouble offers insight to professionals and solace to parents. The book offers a clear message to anyone in the throes of family trouble: you are in good company, and you are not as different as you might feel...

Fat Blame Cover

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Fat Blame

Fat Blame

Looking through the prisms of gender, race, and class, Herndon traces how the gospel of personal responsibility permeates American thinking about fatness and in the process often victimizes women and children

The Folkstories of Children Cover

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The Folkstories of Children

By Brian Sutton-Smith

What prompts children to tell stories? What does the word "story" mean to a child at two or five years of age? The Folkstories of Children, first published in 1981, features nearly five hundred stories that were volunteered by fifty children between the ages of two and ten and transcribed word for word. The stories are organized chronologically by the age of the teller, revealing the progression of verbal competence and the gradual emergence of staging and plot organization. Many stories told by two-year-olds, for example, have only beginnings with no middle or end; the "narrative" is held together by rhyme or alliteration. After the age of three or four, the same children tell stories that feature a central character and a narrative arc. The stories also exhibit each child's growing awareness and management of his or her environment and life concerns. Some children see their stories as dialogues between teller and audience, others as monologues expressing concerns about fate and the forces of good and evil.

Brian Sutton-Smith discusses the possible origins of the stories themselves: folktales, parent and teacher reading, media, required writing of stories in school, dreams, and play. The notes to each chapter draw on this context as well as folktale analysis and child development theory to consider why and how the stories take their particular forms. The Folkstories of Children provides valuable evidence and insight into the ways children actively and inventively engage language as they grow.

Freud in Oz Cover

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Freud in Oz

At the Intersections of Psychoanalysis and Children’s Literature

Kenneth B. Kidd

Children’s literature has spent decades on the psychiatrist’s couch, submitting to psychoanalysis by scores of scholars and popular writers alike. Freud in Oz turns the tables, suggesting that psychoanalysts owe a significant and largely unacknowledged debt to books ostensibly written for children. In fact, Kenneth B. Kidd argues, children’s literature and psychoanalysis have influenced and interacted with each other since Freud published his first case studies.

In Freud in Oz, Kidd shows how psychoanalysis developed in part through its engagement with children’s literature, which it used to articulate and dramatize its themes and methods, turning first to folklore and fairy tales, then to materials from psychoanalysis of children, and thence to children’s literary texts, especially such classic fantasies as Peter Pan and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. He traces how children’s literature, and critical response to it, aided the popularization of psychoanalytic theory. With increasing acceptance of psychoanalysis came two new genres of children’s literature—known today as picture books and young adult novels—that were frequently fashioned as psychological in their forms and functions.

Freud in Oz offers a history of reigning theories in the study of children’s literature and psychoanalysis, providing fresh insights on a diversity of topics, including the view that Maurice Sendak and Bruno Bettelheim can be thought of as rivals, that Sendak’s makeover of monstrosity helped lead to the likes of the Muppets, and that “Poohology” is its own kind of literary criticism—serving up Winnie the Pooh as the poster bear for theorists of widely varying stripes.

From the Womb to the Body Politic Cover

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From the Womb to the Body Politic

Raising the Nation in Enlightenment Russia

Anna Kuxhausen

In Russia during the second half of the eighteenth century, a public conversation emerged that altered perceptions of pregnancy, birth, and early childhood. Children began to be viewed as a national resource, and childbirth heralded new members of the body politic. The exclusively female world of mothers, midwives, and nannies came under the scrutiny of male physicians, state institutions, a host of zealous reformers, and even Empress Catherine the Great.
    Making innovative use of obstetrical manuals, belles lettres, children’s primers, and other primary documents from the era, Anna Kuxhausen draws together many discourses—medical, pedagogical, and political—to show the scope and audacity of new notions about childrearing. Reformers aimed to teach women to care for the bodies of pregnant mothers, infants, and children according to medical standards of the Enlightenment. Kuxhausen reveals both their optimism and their sometimes fatal blind spots in matters of implementation. In examining the implication of women in public, even political, roles as agents of state-building and the civilizing process, From the Womb to the Body Politic offers a nuanced, expanded view of the Enlightenment in Russia and the ways in which Russians imagined their nation while constructing notions of childhood.

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The Future of Children

Vol. 15 (2005) through current issue

The Future of Children is a biannual publication of The Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and The Brookings Institution. It seeks to promote effective policies and programs for children by providing policymakers, service providers, and the media with timely, objective information based on the best available research.

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