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GSHU 199.04/.05 The Cult of Modern Childhood (Frye): Home

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Inventing Modern Childhood

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Elizabeth Parang's picture
Elizabeth Parang
Pepperdine University Libraries
24255 Pacific Coast Hwy
Malibu, CA 90263

Course Description

The Cult of Modern Childhood: What is childhood? Has the idea of childhood, the perception of childhood as a protected season of innocence and dependence, always existed, spanning all centuries and crossing all borders? We will take this inquiry as the point of departure for our class, starting in the seventeenth century and continuing through the twenty-­­first century. In so doing, we will examine historical sources, medical and childrearing discourse, and representations of childhood in poetry, prose, and film. Along the way, we will discuss children as consumers, read Where the Wild Things Are, consider what technology is doing to/for kids today, learn about the role the outdoors plays in our development, and ruminate on such powerhouses of modern film as Pixar. More generally, our course will strive to build learning communities, to sharpen critical-­­thinking and problem-­­solving skills, to enhance effective communication, to improve information literacy, to apply the University’s Christian mission, and to hone life-­­management skills.