A TRIBE APART? CHILDREN AND CHILDHOOD IN THE 21ST CENTURY
Wednesdays, 5:45 – 9:00pm
Instructor: Lauren Heidbrink
Mailbox Location: 206 McGaw Hall
Office Location: 150 McGaw Hall
Office Phone: 773.325.4588
Office Hours: Tuesdays, 3:00 – 4:00
What is a child?
How are “children” imagined and produced as a category of persons?
Western beliefs and values so strongly disturbed by accounts of children involved in sex,
violence, or labor? Both scholarly and popular accounts of childhood draw on universal
assumptions about children, for example, as passive individuals, as persons unable to assume
responsibility or make choices, or as innocent victims. This course will challenge these notions
of children and childhood through a multi-disciplinary, multi-media analysis of contemporary
childhood throughout the world. The course examines topics such as: sexuality, prostitution,
child labor, child soldiers, the occult, juvenile delinquency, children as consumers, and youth
culture. The study of childhood challenges us to think critically and creatively about what we
may learn from historical materials, multinational treaties, legal records, literature, film, the news
media and children themselves.
LIBERAL STUDIES GOALS
The course asks students to question commonly-held assumptions of children and
childhood often based on age boundaries, development models, and popular depictions of
children by closely analyzing primary and secondary source material that explore these issues
carefully and critically.
. A fundamental purpose of the course is to encourage and to facilitate
students discussing your own opinions in a reasoned, informed, open and respectful manner with
their colleagues. This type of dialogue encourages mutual respect amongst students, teachers and
Critical and creative thinking
: Since all students were once children, the course brings together
their often-disparate perspectives into dialogue with still more varied viewpoints and experiences
of childhood throughout the world. In so doing, the course seeks to foster critical reflection and
. The course studies childhood from a diverse set of cultural contexts.
By focusing on reading primary sources from these varied settings, the course instills an
understanding of the importance of multicultural awareness.