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Lecture 2

Worlds of Childhood - Week 2 Lecture.docx

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HUMA 1970
Krys Verrall

Worlds of Childhood (Lecture) September 19, 2013 • The idea of childhood is not a “real” thing but is a construction of ideas • These constructs aren’t fixed. There is no construct of childhood that remains fixed, they change over time and place. • How does childhood differ in terms of how adults see it (adults defining childhood, not children) • What are the social, moral and political implications of these ideas • Jenkins article o A lot of ideas about childhood came from various writers o Ideas about childhood circulated through media • What kind of time is childhood? o A time that is very much distinct from adults o Children are always in adult space and adults are always in children’s space o A time of innocence  Not always true • The idea of childhood and its relationship with media is very complex • How children is portrayed in literature vs. how they are portrayed in medicine is different if it was between literature and history, where there may be some overlaps • Think about children in different political positions o War and peace o Global economic crisis o Health o Education o Crime o Culture • Davies creates connections from ideas about culture, ideas about media, and ideas about text o Article tells us that wherever you are in the world, ideas about childhood vary o Ideas about the KINDS of childhoods should be having o His article suggests that there is a real disconnect between children and their lives o He indirectly claims that “childhood is like this no matter where they are” even though that is not the reality of children’s lives (universal) o We need to think of the ways race, age, sexuality, gender etc. impact childhood  Think about how those divisions work o “The innocent child is a myth.”  The idea of the innocent child becomes so engraved in our culture that it becomes real  We buy into it because it becomes natural, even though it’s not real  He thinks that we have to go back in time to understand childhood • 4 spaces (Jenkins): o Romantic o Medieval o Victorian o Modern • Look for disconnects, and when things are working against each other in articles • During the middle ages, children didn’t have privileges and were not sheltered like they are today • Infant mortality was a large issues • 3 different shifts (Jenkins Page 3): o Children didn’t need their parents to coddle them in the same way o Childhood was seen has freedom o From 1600s to late 1700s children were rushed through childhood so they’d be prepared to take on roles as adults o Next stage there was a growing appreciation for what childhood was  Children were pure and innocent • Davies said we have two kinds of childhood: o Spontaneity, care free, imaginative o Disciplined  Children need adults to constrain them and shake them  Children are described as blank slates  Fill them up with ideas that will make them good and useful citizens o Jenkins: • Nature vs. Nurture • American Revolution Locke’s ideas – 1693 (TEST – know about his philosophy) • Says children are blank slates Rousseau’s ideas – 1792 (Romantic period) • Educational philosopher • You have to let a child be a child o When he talks about “child” he’s talking about white, rich, boys • Both articles show that there are fundamental things different from adulthood • Childhood is a separate space that is distinct from adulthood • What was being a child like at this moment in time? o How was it different and how was it the same • If children are there in that political space/disaster (Haiti hurricane) do they still have their innocence September 23, 2013 Tutorial Shea & Whitla • They suggest that for every hour of class you should work 2 hours out o
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