UIUC                                                                                                 Prof. Judy DeLoache

Spring 2000                                                                                       Prof. Alma Gottlieb






Infants and Young Children in Cross-Cultural Perspective



The Course


 * What is a "baby"--is the concept universally valid, and understood in the

 same way?


 * Is the common North American pattern of babies sleeping in cribs a

 universal practice?


 * Why do mothers in northeastern Brazil sometimes let their sick infants

 die without seeking available medical care?


 * How is it that many healthy infants in Kenya sit on their own at four

 months while most healthy Western infants cannot achieve this skill before

 six months?


 * Why do Beng mothers in Côte d'Ivoire decorate their babies with jewelry

 and facial paint twice a day?


 * Why do some Guatemalan parents keep their infants inside a dark house as

 much as possible during the first few months of their lives?


            This course will explore questions such as these by investigating the

cultural construction of infancy and young childhood.  We will emphasize the first year of life but in some cases will also consider toddlers and older children.  In studying infant development and socialization patterns, we will

constantly inquire: What is universal, what is near-universal, and what is

indisputably variable?  At all points in the course, we will try to maintain a balance among three perspectives: those of the infant her/himself; those of parents and other caretakers; and relevant cultural and historical factors that shape both these.


 Expectations and Assignments




All readings are available on reserve in the Education Library. 


They are also being sold as course packs at:


UpClose Printing & Copies                Open:   M-F, 7:30 am-8 pm

714 S. 6th St.                                                          Sat., 10 am - 6 pm

384-7474                                                                 Sun., 12 noon - 8 pm


Class Discussion and Presentation


            In addition to the class readings, each of you will select a society to investigate independently throughout the semester.  We expect each of you to contribute to every class discussion by offering relevant information about the society they are investigating.  You are free to choose a society on your own or, if you like, you might choose from a list of ethnographic areas that we will distribute in class, but in any case, you must clear your choice with us. Early in the semester, you will give a brief report to the class concerning the general characteristics of your research society.




            The available data from the society you have selected to read about through the semester will form the basis of a series of papers you will write for the class, as follows:


1.  Write two short papers, each on a different aspect of the child-rearing practices of the society you are investigating.  Please choose from among the following topics: feeding, toilet-training, parent-infant interactions, emotion regulation, language, sleeping practices, wider social relations--or another topic relevant to your chosen society, and approved by us. 

Suggested length: 5-7 pp. each (typed, double-spaced).

Due dates: to be announced.


2.  Write a Dr. Spock-style parenting manual for child care appropriate to your research society.  If appropriate, propose an imagined “author” of your childcare guide who would be a parenting advice-giver in your research society, and provide a short, imagined biography of this “author.”  Incorporate information from your two short papers plus additional information you have come across in your research that wasn’t included in those earlier papers.  Despite the somewhat fictionalized format of the writing style, be sure and include citations for all factual information included.

Suggested length: 15-20 pp. (typed, double-spaced). 

            Due date:: May 10--please drop off in one of our office mailboxes.




Your grade in this course will be determined by the extent and quality of your contribution to class discussion (50%), your two short papers (12.5% each, 25% total), and your final Dr. Spock-style parenting manual (25%).



Office Hours


Please come by often to talk with us during our office hours--we're there for you!


Alma Gottlieb                                               Judy DeLoache

389 Davenport Hall                         621  Psychology Bldg.

244-3515                                                         333-1529

Mon., 11:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.                        Mon., 1:30 - 2:30 & by appointment




** = Optional reading (to be read and summarized by one class member)


1/19     Introduction 1



1/26     Introduction 2


Small, M. F., “The anthropology of parenting,” Ch. 2 of Our babies, ourselves: How biology and culture shape the way we parent (Doubleday, 1998), pp. 43-69.


DeLoache, J. S. & Gottlieb, A., “If Dr. Spock were born in Bali: Raising a world of babies,” in J. S. DeLoache & A. Gottlieb (eds.) A world of babies: Imagined childcare guides for seven societies (Cambridge University Press, in press), pp. 1-27.


Super, C. & Harkness, S., “The developmental niche: A conceptualization at the interface of child and culture,” International Journal of Behavioral Development, 9 (1986), pp. 545-569.


2/2       Introduction 3


Whiting, B. B., “Folk wisdom and child rearing,” Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, 20 (1) (1974), pp. 9-19.


Bruner, J., “Culture and human development: A new look,” Human Development, 33 (1990), pp. 344-355.


Wallace, D. B., Franklin, M. B., & Keegan, R. T., “The observing eye: A century of baby diaries,” Human Development, 37 (1994), pp. 1-29.


2/9       Students’ Ethnographic Reports


2/16     Conception, Pregnancy, Prenatal Development, Childbirth


McCarthy, L. F., “What babies really know inside the womb,” Parenting, (December 1998/January 1999), pp. 120-125.


Pierroutsakos, S., selection from “Infants of the dreaming: A Warlpiri guide to child care,” in J. S. DeLoache & A. Gottlieb (eds.), A World of babies: Imagined childcare guides for seven societies (Cambridge University Press, in press), pp. 151-161.


Delaney, C., selection from “Making babies in a Turkish village,” in J. S. DeLoache & A. Gottlieb (eds.), A World of babies: Imagined childcare guides for seven societies (Cambridge University Press, in press), pp. 123-130.


Kitzinger, S., “Childbirth and society,” in I. Chalmers, M. Enkin, & M. J. N. C. Keirse (eds.), Effective care in infancy and childbirth, Vol. 1: Pregnancy (Oxford University Press, 1992), pp. 99-109.


Biesele, M., “An ideal of unassisted birth,” in R. E. Davis-Floyd & C. F. Sargent (eds.), Childbirth and authoritative knowledge (University of California Press, 1997), pp. 474-492.



**Pressman, E. K., DiPietro, J. A., Costigan, K. A., Shupe, A. K., & Johnson, T. R. B., “Fetal neurobehavioral development: Associations with socioeconomic class and fetal sex,” Developmental Psychobiology, 33 (1998), pp. 79-91.


2/23     Health and Risk: Nutrition and Feeding


Brown, J. L. & Pollitt, E., “Malnutrition, poverty and intellectual development,” Scientific American, 274 (2) (February 1996), pp. 38-43.


Hrdy, Sarah Blaffer, “Old tradeoffs, new contexts,” in Mother nature: A history of mothers, infants, and natural selection (Pantheon Books, 1999), pp. 351-380.


Stuart-Macadam, P., selections from “Breastfeeding in prehistory,” in P. Stuart-Macadam & K. Dettwyler (eds.), Breastfeeding: Biocultural perspectives (Aldine deGruyter, 1995), pp. 82-85, 88-99.


Khatib-Chahidi, Jane, "Milk kinship in Shi'ite Islamic Iran," in Vanessa Maher (ed.), The anthropology of breast-feeding: Natural law or social construct (Berg, 1992), pp. 109-132.



**Engle, P. L., Zeitlin, M., Medrano, Y., & Garcia M., L., “Growth consequences of low-income Nicaraguan mothers’ theories about feeding 1-year-olds,” in S. Harkness & C. M. Super (eds.) Parents’ cultural belief systems: Their origins, expressions, and consequences (Guilford Press, 1996), pp. 428-446.


**Cadogan, William, “An essay upon nursing,” in W. Kessen (ed.), The child (Wiley, 1965), pp. 10-30.


3/1       Health and Risk: Infant Mortality, Neglect, Infanticide


Olness, K., “Influences of early brain injury on long-term development of the world’s children,” Newsletter of the International Society for the Study of Behavioural Development, 1996, Number 2, Serial No. 30, pp. 1-7.


Hrdy, S. B., “How to be ‘an infant worth rearing,’” in Mother nature: A history of mothers, infants, and natural selection (Pantheon Books, 1999), pp. 351-380.


Scheper-Hughes, N., “Mother love and child death in Northern Brazil,” in J. W. Stigler, R. A. Shweder, & G. Herdt (eds.), Cultural psychology: Essays on comparative human development (Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 542-565.


Sargent, C., “Born to die: Witchcraft and infanticide in Bariba culture,” Ethnology, 27 (1) (1988), pp. 79-95.



**Dyhouse, C., “Working-class mothers and infant mortality in England, 1895-1914,” Journal of Social History, 12 (2) (1978), pp. 248-267.


**Oaks, L., “Fetal spirithood and fetal personhood: The cultural construction of abortion in Japan,” Women’s Studies International Forum, 17 (5) (Sept.-Oct. 1994), pp. 511-523.


3/8       Sleeping Practices


Small, M. F., “A reasonable sleep,” Ch. 4 of Our babies, ourselves: How biology and culture shape the way we parent (Doubleday, 1998), pp. 109-137.


Shweder, R. A., Jensen, L. A. & Goldstein, W. M., “Who sleeps by whom revisited: A method for extracting the moral goods implicit in practice,” in J. J. Goodnow, P. Miller & F. Kessel (eds.), New Directions for Child Development #67: Cultural practices as contexts for development (Jossey-Bass, 1995), pp. 21-39.


Morelli, G. A., et al., “Cultural variations in infants’ sleeping arrangements: Question of independence,” Developmental Psychology, 28 (1992), pp. 604-613.


Wolf, A. W., Lozoff, B., Latz, S., & Paludetto, R., “Parental theories in the management of young children’s sleep in Japan, Italy, and the United States,” in S. Harkness & C. M. Super (eds.) Parents’ cultural belief systems: Their origins, expressions, and consequences (Guilford Press, 1996), pp. 364-384.



**McKenna J. & Bernshaw, N., selections from “Breastfeeding and infant-parent co-sleeping as adaptive strategies: Are they protective against SIDS?” in P. Stuart-Macadam & K. A. Dettwyler (eds.), Breastfeeding: Biocultural perspectives (Aldine de Gruyter, 1995), pp. 265-67, 276-87.


3/22     Caretaking Arrangements


Weisner, T. S. & Gallimore, R., “My brother’s keeper: Child and sibling caretaking,” Current Anthropology, 18 (2) (1977), pp. 169-190.


Tronick, E., Morelli G. & Winn, S., "Multiple caretaking of Efe (Pygmy) infants," American Anthropologist, 89 (1987), pp. 96-106.


Engle, P. L., & Breaux, C., “Fathers’ involvement with children: Perspectives from developing countries,” Social Policy Report for the Society for Research in Child Development, XII (1) (1998), pp. 1-21.


Howes, C., “Infant child care,” Young Children, 44 (6) (1989), pp. 24-28.


**Tronick, E. Z., R. B. Thomas & M. Daltabuit, “The Quechua manta pouch: A caretaking practice for buffering the Peruvian infant against the multiple stressors of high altitude,” Child Development, 65 (1994), pp. 1005-1013.


**Hewlett, B. S., Shannon, D., Lamb, M. E., Leyendecker, B., & Schölmerich, A., “Culture and early infancy among Central African foragers and farmers,” Developmental Psychology, 34 (1998), pp. 653-661.


3/29     Temperament, Emotion


Freedman, D. G., “Group differences,” Ch. 5 in Human infancy: An evolutionary perspective (Erlbaum, 1974), pp. 145-176.


Camras, L. A., Campos, J., Campos, R., Miyake, K., Oster, H., Ujiie, T., Wang, L., & Meng, Z., “Production of emotional facial expressions in European American, Japanese, and Chinese infants,” Developmental Psychology, 34 (1998), pp. 616-628.


Super, C. M., Harkness, S., van Tijen, N., van der Vlugt, E., Fintelman, M., & Dijkstra, J., “The three R’s of Dutch childrearing and the socialization of infant arousal,”  in S. Harkness & C. M. Super (eds.) Parents’ cultural belief systems: Their origins, expressions, and consequences (Guilford Press, 1996), pp. 447-466.


De Vries, M. W., “Cry babies, culture, and catastrophe: Infant temperament among the Masai,” in N. Scheper-Hughes (ed.), Child survival: Anthropological approaches to the treatment and maltreatment of children (Reidel, 1987), pp. 165-186.


Diener, M., selection from “Gift from the gods: Baby and child care in Bali,” in J. S. DeLoache & A. Gottlieb (eds.), A world of babies: Imagined childcare guides for seven societies (Cambridge University Press, in press), pp. 106-7.


Le, H.-N., selection from “Never leave your little one alone: Raising an Ifaluk child,” in J. S. DeLoache & A. Gottlieb (eds.), A world of babies: Imagined childcare guides for seven societies (Cambridge University Press, in press), pp. 218-20.


**Werner, E., “Resilience in development,” Current Directions in Psychological Science, 4 (1995), pp. 81-85


**Chen, Z., Rubin, K. H., Gouge, C., Hastings, P. D., Chen, H., & Stewart, S. L., “Child-rearing attitudes and behavioral inhibition in Chinese and Canadian toddlers: A cross-cultural study,” Developmental Psychology, 34, (1998), pp. 677-686.


4/5       Attachment


Karen, R., “Becoming attached,” Atlantic Monthly (Feb. 1990), pp. 35-70


Harwood, R. L., Muller, J. G., & Irizarry, N. L., “Child development and theories of culture,” Ch. 2 of Culture and attachment: Perceptions of the child in context (Guilford Press, 1995), pp. 19-37.


Sagi, A., et al., “Security of infant-mother, -father and -metapelet attachments among kibbutz-reared Israeli children,” in I. Bretherton & E. Waters (eds.), Growing points of attachment theory and research (Monographs of the Society for Research in Child Development, 50 [1-2], Serial No. 209, 1985), pp. 257-275.


Gottlieb, A., “Stranger anxiety or stranger love?  Sociable Beng babies (Côte d’Ivoire),” Chapter 6 of The afterlife is where we come from: Infants and infant care in West Africa, book manuscript.



**van Ijzendoorn, M. H., & Kroonenberg, P. M., “Cross-cultural patterns of attachment: A meta-analysis of the Strange Situation,” Child Development, 59 (1988), pp. 147-156.


4/12     Motor Development, Toilet Training


Campos, J. J., Bertenthal, B. I. & Kermoian, R., “Early experience and emotional development: The emergence of wariness of heights,” Psychological Science, 3 (1992), pp. 61-64.


Kilbride, J. E. & Kilbride, P. L., “Sitting and smiling behavior of Baganda infants: The influence of culturally constituted experience,” Journal of Cross-Cultural Psychology, 6 (1) (1975), pp. 88-107.


Hopkins, B., "Facilitating early motor development: An intracultural study of West Indian mothers and their infants living in Britain," in .J. K. Nugent, B. M. Lester & T. B. Brazelton (eds.), The cultural context of infancy, vol. 2: Multicultural and interdisciplinary approaches to parent-infant relations, ed. (Ablex, 1991), pp. 93-143.


de Vries, Martin W. & de Vries, M. R., “The cultural relativity of toilet training readiness: A perspective from East Africa,” Pediatrics, 60 (2) (1977), pp. 170-177.


Gottlieb, A., selection from “Luring your child into this life: A Beng path for infant care,” in J. S. DeLoache & A. Gottlieb (eds.), A world of babies: Imagined childcare guides for seven societies (Cambridge University Press, in press), pp. 82-85 .      



**Zelazo, N. A., Zelazo, P. R., Cohen, K. M., & Zelazo, P. D., “Specificity of practice effects on elementary neuromotor patterns,” Developmental Psychology, 29 (1993), pp. 686-691.


4/19     Language Development


Brownlee, Shannon, “Baby talk,” U.S. News & World Report (June 15, 1998), pp. 48-55.


Ochs, E. & Schieffelin, B. B., “Language acquisition and socialization:  Three developmental stories and their implications,” in R. Shweder & R. LeVine (eds.), Culture theory: Essays on mind, self, and emotion (Cambridge University Press, 1984), pp. 276-320.


Goldin-Meadow, S., “The resilience of language in humans,” in C. T. Snowdon & M. Hausberger et al. (eds.), Social influences on vocal development (Cambridge University Press, 1997), pp. 293-311.


de Boysson-Bardies, B., selections from How language comes to children: From birth to two years, translated by M. DeBevoise (MIT Press, 1999), pp. 84-90 and 177-188.



**Werker, J. F., “Becoming a native listener,” American Scientist, 77 (1989), pp. 54-59.


**Watson-Gegeo, K. A. & Gegeo, D. W., “Calling-out and repeating routines in Kwara’ae children’s language socialization,” in B. B. Schieffelin & E. Ochs (eds.), Language socialization across cultures (Cambridge University Press, 1986), pp. 17-50.


**Bavin, E. L., “Language acquisition in cross-linguistic perspective,” Annual Review of Anthropology, 24 (1995), pp. 373-396.


4/26     Cognitive Development


Tomasello, M., “The cultural ecology of young children’s interactions with objects and artifacts,” in E. Winograd, R. Fivush, & W. Hirst (eds.) Ecological approaches to cognition: Essays in honor of Ulric Neisser (Erlbaum, in press).


McGillicuddy-De Lisi, A. V. & Subramanian, S., “How do children develop knowledge?  Beliefs of Tanzanian and American mothers,” in S. Harkness & C. M. Super (eds.) Parents’ cultural belief systems: Their origins, expressions, and consequences (Guilford Press, 1996), pp. 143-168.


Baillargeon, Renée, “How do infants learn about the physical world?” in Current Directions in Psychological Science, 3 (1994), pp. 133-140.



**DeLoache, J. S., Pierroutsakos, S. L., Uttal, D. H., Rosengren, K. S., & Gottlieb, A., “Grasping the nature of pictures,” Psychological Science, 9 (1998), pp. 205-210.


5/3      Final Discussion


            Come prepared to offer a 5-10 minute discussion of the current state of your final paper, including ideas you are entertaining for a proposed “author” for your manual; topics you are planning to cover; major/general theme(s) that will unite all your specific topical discussions by showing the cultural relevance and meanings of the variety of child-rearing practices you will be covering; and any concerns you may have or frustrations you may be experiencing in completing the paper.


            For a complete model of the sort of final paper/”guide” we have in mind, read:

Michelle Johnson, “The View from the Wuro: A Guide to Childrearing for Fulani Parents,“ ch. 7 from A World of Babies, ed. Judy DeLoache and Alma Gottlieb (Cambridge University Press, 2000).


5/10    No Class/Final Paper Due (imagined childcare guide for your research society)--deliver to one of our office mailboxes.