AMS s370 • 20-Children's Literature and American Culture-W
1:00 PM-2:30 PM
This course will trace the history of American childhood through children's literature. Using selected texts from the colonial era to the present, we will use children's texts as lenses for understanding American culture and American cultural history more generally. Understanding how childhood and childrens literature have changed over time tells us a great deal about the ways in which the broader culture and society have evolved. It is easy to take childrens literature for granted: weve all read it, and, indeed, we all read it as kids. What could be simpler, more obvious, or less worthy of critical examination? This class will ask students to think critically about children's literature and to think about how these texts are informed by and also contribute to a broader cultural context.
1. Participation (25%): Includes: attendance, active and informed participation in class discussions, two presentations, in-class writing and short (one page) out of class assignments 2. Two 4-5 page papers (20% each) 3. One 8-10 page research paper (35%)
Possible Texts Ann Scott MacLeod, American Childhood: Essays on Children's Literature of the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries Steve Mintz, Huck's Raft: A History of American Childhood Louisa May Alcott, Little Women (Norton Critical Edition) Dr. Seuss, The Sneetches Julius Lester, To Be a Slave Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are Judy Blume, Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret Jean Luen Yang, American Born Chinese