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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

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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.

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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.

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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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Girlhood

A Global History

Edited and with an introduction by Jennifer Helgren and Colleen A. Vasconcellos

Girlhood, interdisciplinary and global in source, scope, and methodology, examines the centrality of girlhood in shaping women's lives. Scholars study how age and gender, along with a multitude of other identities, work together to influence the historical experience.Spanning a broad time frame from 1750 to the present, essays illuminate the various continuities and differences in girls' lives across culture and region--girls on all continents except Antarctica are represented. Case studies and essays are arranged thematically to encourage comparisons between girls' experiences in diverse locales, and to assess how girls were affected by historical developments such as colonialism, political repression, war, modernization, shifts in labor markets, migrations, and the rise of consumer culture.

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Girls in Trouble with the Law

Laurie Schaffner

In Girls in Trouble with the Law, sociologist Laurie Schaffner takes us inside juvenile detention centers and explores the worlds of the young women incarcerated within. Across the nation, girls of color are disproportionately represented in detention facilities, and many report having experienced physical harm and sexual assaults. For girls, the meaning of these and other factors such as the violence they experience remain undertheorized and below the radar of mainstream sociolegal scholarship. When gender is considered as an analytic category, Schaffner shows how gender is often seen through an outmoded lens.

Offering a critical assessment of what she describes as a gender-insensitive juvenile legal system, Schaffner makes a compelling argument that current policies do not go far enough to empower disadvantaged girls so that communities can assist them in overcoming the social limitations and gender, sexual, and racial/ethnic discrimination that continue to plague young women growing up in contemporary United States.

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Growing Girls

The Natural Origins of Girls' Organizations in America

Susan A Miller

In the early years of the twentieth century, Americans began to recognize adolescence as a developmental phase distinct from both childhood and adulthood. This awareness, however, came fraught with anxiety about the debilitating effects of modern life on adolescents of both sexes. For boys, competitive sports as well as "primitive" outdoor activities offered by fledging organizations such as the Boy Scouts would enable them to combat the effeminacy of an overly civilized society. But for girls, the remedy wasn't quite so clear. Surprisingly, the "girl problem"?a crisis caused by the transition from a sheltered, family-centered Victorian childhood to modern adolescence where self-control and a strong democratic spirit were required of reliable citizens?was also solved by way of traditionally masculine, adventurous, outdoor activities, as practiced by the Girl Scouts, the Camp Fire Girls, and many other similar organizations. Susan A. Miller explores these girls' organizations that sprung up in the first half of the twentieth century from a socio-historical perspective, showing how the notions of uniform identity, civic duty, "primitive domesticity," and fitness shaped the formation of the modern girl.

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Growing Up

The History of Childhood in Global Context

Peter N. Stearns

Growing Up combines two flourishing historical fields-the history of childhood and world history-to address the question of how much of childhood is natural and how much is historically determined. The first lecture gauges the impact of the development of agriculture, civilization, and religion upon the premodern experience of childhood. The second lecture contrasts modern perspectives on childhood with more traditional ones before investigating how and why modern perspectives developed and spread. These lectures clearly demonstrate that the transformation of childhood is both recent and sweeping.

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Hear Our Truths

The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood

Ruth Nicole Brown

Drawing on both personal experience and critical theory, Carole Boyce Davies illuminates the dynamic complexity of Caribbean culture and traces its migratory patterns throughout the Americas. Both a memoir and a scholarly study, Caribbean Spaces: Escapes from Twilight Zones explores the multivalent meanings of Caribbean space and community in a cross-cultural and transdisciplinary perspective. From her childhood in Trinidad and Tobago to life and work in communities and universities in Nigeria, Brazil, England, and the United States, Carole Boyce Davies portrays a rich and fluid set of personal experiences. She reflects on these movements to understand the interrelated dynamics of race, gender, and sexuality embedded in Caribbean spaces, as well as many Caribbean people's traumatic and transformative stories of displacement, migration, exile, and sometimes return. Ultimately, Boyce Davies reestablishes the connections between theory and practice, intellectual work and activism, and personal and private space.

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