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robertogreco : americanstudies   2

What Are Children For? | The Evergreen State College
"Childhood is not just a biological fact of life. Philippe Aries famously argued that children and childhood did not exist before the modern era. How do ideas about children, the conditions of child rearing and of childhood, and conventions of education change over time? And if the meanings of "children" and "childhood" change throughout history and across cultures, how can people ever know if they are making the "best" decisions on behalf of the children whom they raise, educate, care for, advocate for, employ or support?

In this program, students will learn how children’s experience and adult interpretations of childhood have changed in the Western world over the last 400 years. Until about 150 years ago, most children were necessary: they contributed labor to the maintenance of the family home and were expected to reproduce the circumstances of their birth. The social revolutions of the 18th century disrupted all social hierarchies, including those within families. We will examine how these disruptions transformed childhood and moved children from the periphery to the center of adult intellectual, moral and medical interest.

Students will learn how children in North America lived and were viewed by adults from the 16th century forward, and examine how the meaning of childhood was transformed during the flowering of the Enlightenment. We will study the changing meanings of innocence and sin, labor and leisure, value and sacredness, and how those meanings figured in the way children were seen and treated. Guest speakers from the community who have a professional or political interest in children will share their experiences with the program.

The class befits students who work with or care about children. It will also enlighten anyone who has grown up, is still trying to grow up, or wonders if she or he has, or should ever, grow up."
evergreenstatecollege  coursedescriptions  programdescriptions  2014  americanstudies  sociology  writing  history  parenting  socialservices  education  children  society  nancykoppelman  charlespailthorp  philippearies  labor  leisure 
september 2014 by robertogreco
In Search of Lost Time | The Evergreen State College
"How does memory shape our identities and our sense of the world? How do our personal experiences, our ties with others, and larger social forces affect what we remember, and why? This inquiry will take the work of Marcel Proust as focus and inspiration for exploring these questions. Students will also create their own original research and writing on memory-in-action—crafting a memoir, an oral history, or an investigation of an historical or cultural memory-topic that grows out of our studies.

We will do a sustained, in-depth reading of the first two volumes of Proust's 4000-page masterpiece of early 20th century literature, In Search of Lost Time (also known as The Remembrance of Things Past ). Heralded as one of the first examples of the modern novel, Proust's work crystallized and refracted key psychological, cultural and sociological concerns of the emerging "modern age." To place our understanding of this literature in context, we will study fin-de-siècle European and intellectual history and thinkers like Bergson, Halbwachs, Freud, Benjamin, and even Einstein’s theories of space and time. We will also examine innovative recent scholarship about ways in which memory can be "collective" in specific communities and whole societies today. We will play with the intertwining of time, memory, identity, and meaning in a wide range of French, American and other contexts, including some films that make powerful use of these themes.

This is a literature-history-and-folklore focused, reading and writing-intensive program. Students will read 300+ pages of complex texts each week, participate in two weekly seminars on Proust plus a third seminar on dynamics of memory in everyday life, and write about these texts. Over the course of the quarter you will develop, revise and share your memory project with ongoing guidance from faculty and dialogue with peers. Your work will culminate in a polished essay and a presentation in our symposium.
evergreenstatecollege  coursedescriptions  programdescriptions  2014  americanstudies  anthropology  ethnography  writing  literature  culturalstudies  culture  history  folklore  media  education  staceydavis  samuelschrager  proust  marcelproust  memory 
september 2014 by robertogreco

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