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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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Hidden in Plain Sight

The Tragedy of Children's Rights from Ben Franklin to Lionel Tate

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse

Hidden in Plain Sight tells the tragic untold story of children's rights in America. It asks why the United States today, alone among nations, rejects the most universally embraced human-rights document in history, the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child. This book is a call to arms for America to again be a leader in human rights, and to join the rest of the civilized world in recognizing that the thirst for justice is not for adults alone.

Barbara Bennett Woodhouse explores the meaning of children's rights throughout American history, interweaving the childhood stories of iconic figures such as Benjamin Franklin with those of children less known but no less courageous, like the heroic youngsters who marched for civil rights. How did America become a place where twelve-year-old Lionel Tate could be sentenced to life in prison without parole for the 1999 death of a young playmate? In answering questions like this, Woodhouse challenges those who misguidedly believe that America's children already have more rights than they need, or that children's rights pose a threat to parental autonomy or family values. She reveals why fundamental human rights and principles of dignity, equality, privacy, protection, and voice are essential to a child's journey into adulthood, and why understanding rights for children leads to a better understanding of human rights for all.

Compassionate, wise, and deeply moving, Hidden in Plain Sight will force an examination of our national resistance--and moral responsibility--to recognize children's rights.

Some images inside the book are unavailable due to digital copyright restrictions.

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Identity and the Second Generation

How Children of Immigrants Find Their Space

Faith G. Nibbs

Most recently, Americans have become familiar with the term "second generation" as it's applied to children of immigrants who now find themselves citizens of a nation built on the notion of assimilation. This common, worldwide experience is the topic of study in Identity and the Second Generation. These children test and explore the definition of citizenship and their cultural identity through the outlets provided by the Internet, social media, and local community support groups. All these factors complicate the ideas of boundaries and borders, of citizenship, and even of home. Indeed, the second generation is a global community and endeavors to make itself a home regardless of state or citizenship.

This book explores the social worlds of the children of immigrants. Based on rich ethnographic research, the contributors illustrate how these young people, the so-called second generation, construct and negotiate their lives. Ultimately, the driving question is profoundly important on a universal level: How do these young people construct an identity and a sense of belonging for themselves, and how do they deal with processes of inclusion and exclusion?

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Indicators of Children's Well-Being

The search for reliable information on the well-being of America's young is vital to designing programs to improve their lives. Yet social scientists are concerned that many measurements of children's physical and emotional health are inadequate, misleading, or outdated, leaving policymakers ill-informed. Indicators of Children's Well-Being is an ambitious inquiry into current efforts to monitor children from the prenatal period through adolescence. Working with the most up-to-date statistical sources, experts from multiple disciplines assess how data on physical development, education, economic security, family and neighborhood conditions, and social behavior are collected and analyzed, what findings they reveal, and what improvements are needed to create a more comprehensive and policy-relevant system of measurement.

Today's climate of welfare reform has opened new possibilities for program innovation and experimentation, but it has also intensified the need for a clearly defined and wide-ranging empirical framework to pinpoint where help is needed and what interventions will succeed. Indicators of Children's Well-Being emphasizes the importance of accurate studies that address real problems. Essays on children's material well-being show why income data must be supplemented with assessments of housing, medical care, household expenditure, food consumption, and education. Other contributors urge refinements to existing survey instruments such as the Census and the Current Population Survey. The usefulness of records from human service agencies, child welfare records, and juvenile court statistics is also evaluated.

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Inner Lives of Deaf Children

Interviews and Analysis

Martha A. Sheridan

While many researchers focus on the educational development of deaf children, precious little time has been devoted to studying the child’s social development and “self-concept.” Conducting interviews with seven deaf children between the ages of 7 and 10, author Martha Sheridan offers a fresh look at the private thoughts and feelings of deaf children in Inner Lives of Deaf Children: Interviews and Analysis. “What does it mean to be a child who is deaf or hard of hearing?” Sheridan asks in the beginning of her study. She turns to Danny, Angie, Joe, Alex, Lisa, Mary, and Pat for the answer. The author selected the children based on their unique cultural background and conversed with each child in his or her preferred method of communication. Her procedure remained consistent with each: in addition to standard questions, Sheridan asked each child to draw a picture based on their life and then tell a story about it; next, she showed them pictures clipped from a magazine and asked them to describe what they saw. The results proved to be as varied as they are engaging. Angie, an adopted, profoundly deaf, ten-year-old girl who communicates in Signed English, expressed a desire to attend a hearing college when she grows up, while also stating she hopes her own children will be deaf. Joe, an African-American, ten-year-old, hard-of-hearing boy, drew pictures of deaf people who are teased in public school, reflecting his own difficult experiences. Sheridan draws upon her tenure as a social worker as well as her own experience as a deaf child growing up in a hearing family in analyzing her study's results. “From listening to the voices of these children we learn that they do not always see themselves, their lifeworlds, and their experiences as researchers have traditionally described them,” she writes. “These children have strengths, they have positive experiences, and they enjoy positive relationships.” With evident devotion to her subjects, Sheridan renders Inner Lives of Deaf Children an enlightening read for parents and scholars alike.

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Innocent Experiments

Childhood and the Culture of Popular Science in the United States

Rebecca Onion

From the 1950s to the digital age, Americans have pushed their children to live science-minded lives, cementing scientific discovery and youthful curiosity as inseparable ideals. In this multifaceted work, historian Rebecca Onion examines the rise of informal children's science education in the twentieth century, from the proliferation of home chemistry sets after World War I to the century-long boom in child-centered science museums. Onion looks at how the United States has increasingly focused its energies over the last century into producing young scientists outside of the classroom. She shows that although Americans profess to believe that success in the sciences is synonymous with good citizenship, this idea is deeply complicated in an era when scientific data is hotly contested and many Americans have a conflicted view of science itself.

These contradictions, Onion explains, can be understood by examining the histories of popular science and the development of ideas about American childhood. She shows how the idealized concept of "science" has moved through the public consciousness and how the drive to make child scientists has deeply influenced American culture.

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