English 166

Special Topics: Theorizing Children's Literature


Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2006 Schweik, Susan
Schweik, Susan
TTh 9:30-11 101 Moffitt

Other Readings and Media

See course description below

Description

What is children's literature? How do (real and imagined) children read? What do various texts in the canon of children?s literature (and texts that lie outside that tradition) reveal about our own culture's, and other cultures,? ideologies of childhood? Do most children?s books serve the needs of children facing the complex world they negotiate today? This course will allow students to engage theoretically with children?s literature as a generic category and with specific examples in the field, using those examples as springboards for exploring aspects of the history of childhood, developmental theory, pedagogy, debates about censorship, textual and bibliographical studies, American studies, gender and sexuality studies, critical theory, Holocaust studies, multiculturalism, and visual studies. This is a course with a heavy load of reading. Primary texts we?ll read together are Where the Wild Things Are,Huckleberry Finn, Little Women, Little House on the Prairie, The Birchbark House, The Education of Little Tree, Naomi?s Road, The Diary of Anne Frank, Briar Rose, Daniel?s Story, The Icarus Girl, and The Other Side of Truth. (I?m assuming that you?ve read some of the Harry Potter series, which we?ll be discussing occasionally.) Secondary readings will include selections from Vivian Paley?s The Boy Who Would be a Helicopter, Jacqueline Rose?s The Case of Peter Pan: Or, the Impossibility of Children?s Fiction, Peter Hunt?s An Introduction to Children?s Literature, and Frederick Crews?s Postmodern Pooh. There will be some opportunity to do creative projects and some discussion of how to write and publish ?children?s books.? In addition, there will be two midterms and a final exam.

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