Anthropology 585, Special Topics: Biocultural Perspectives on Childhood and Adolescence

The purpose of this course is to allow graduate students in anthropology to deepen and broaden their knowledge of child and adolescent development in the perspectives of both biological and cultural anthropology. Likely topics to be covered include socialization and enculturation, the ethnography of childhood, cross-cultural definitions and constructions of childhood, language and cognitive development in cross-cultural context, child culture, peer vs. family influences, a biocultural view of puberty, gender development, violence toward children, substance abuse, and other aspects of children’s physical and mental health. The format will be a seminar discussion frequently led by students, and the precise topics to be covered as well as criteria for grading will be determined by the students in consultation with the instructor. A planning meeting at the close of the Spring semester, time and place to be announced, should be attended by prospective students. One very basic text for the course, Childhood: A Multicultural Approach, by the instructor, is out of print, but he will provide copies on loan and photocopying is permitted. It would be a good idea to read through the book (it’s very easy) before the course starts. Interested students can take a look at the copies on the bookshelf in the anthropology seminar room, but please don’t remove them. Other, higher-level readings will be determined as appropriate to the topics we decide to cover.

Course Outline: Topics and Reading

September 8: !Kung San Infancy and Childhood

Konner, M.J. and C. Worthman (1990). Nursing frequency, gonadal

function and birth spacing among !Kung hunter-gatherers. Science


Bakeman, R., Adamson, L., Konner, M., and Barr, R.G. (1990) The social context of object exploration. Child Development 61:794-809.

Barr, R.G., Konner, M., Bakeman, R., and Adamson, L. (1991). Crying in !Kung San infants: A test of the cultural specificity hypothesis. Developmental Medicine and Child Neurology 33:601-610.

Konner, M.J. (1977) Infancy among the Kalahari Desert San. In: P.H.

Leiderman, S. Tulkin and A. Rosenfeld (eds.), Culture and Infancy.

New York: Academic Press.

Konner, M.J. (1976) Relations among infants and juveniles in comparative perspective. Social Science Information 15(2):371-402. Conseil International des Sciences Sociales (Paris).

Konner, M.J. (1972) Aspects of the developmental ethology of a foraging people. In: N.G. Blurton Jones (ed.), Ethological Studies of Child Behavior. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press

Konner, M.J. and M.J. Shostak. (1987) Timing and management of birth among the !Kung: Biocultural interaction in reproductive adaptation. Cultural Anthropology 2:11-28.

September 15: The Evolution of Human Childhood and Life History Theory

Konner, M.J. (1981) Evolution of human behavior development. In:

R.L. Munro, R. Munro, and B. Whiting (eds.), Handbook of Crosscultural Development. New York: Garland Press.

Konner, M. (in press) Hunter-Gatherer Childhood: The !Kung and Others,” in Barry S. Hewlett and Michael E. Lamb, eds., Hunter-Gatherer Childhood.

Hewlett, B. S. (1991a). Demography and childcare in preindustrial societies. Journal of Anthropological Research, 47(1), 1-37.

Blurton Jones, N. G. (1990). The costs of children and the adaptive scheduling of births: Towards a sociobiological perspective of demography. In A. E. Rasa & C. Vogel & E. Voland (Eds.), The sociobiology of sexual and reproductive strategies. London: Chapman

& Hall.

Blurton Jones, N. G., Hawkes, K., & O'Connell, J. F. (1989). Modeling and measuring costs of children in two foraging societies. In V. Standen & R. A. Foley (Eds.), Comparative socioecology: The behavioral ecology of humans and other mammals. Oxford: Blackwell


Hill, K., & Hurtado, A. M. (1996). Ache life history: the ecology and

demography of a foraging people. New York: Aldine de Gruyter.


September 22: Major Theoretical Controversies in Human Development

Levine, R. A. (1998). Child psychology and anthropology: an environmental view. In C. Panter-Brick (Ed.), Biosocial perspectives on children (pp. 102-130). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Plomin, R. (1990). Nature and nurture: An introduction to human behavioral genetics. Pacific Grove, CA: Brooks/Cole, pp. 27-66.

Elman. J.L., Bates, E.A., Johnson, M.H., Karmiloff-Smith, A., Parisi, D., & Plunkett, K. (1996). Rethinking innateness.: A connectionist perspective on development . Cambridge: MIT Press, pp. 1-23.

Collins, W.A., Maccoby, E.E., Steinberg, L., Hetherington, E.M., & Bornstein, M.H. (2000). Contemporary research on parenting: The case for nature and nurture. American Psychologist, 55, 218-232.

Commentaries on Collins, et al. (2001). American Psychologist, 56, 168-172.

Harris, J. R. (1995). Where is the child's environment? A group socialization theory of development. Psychological Review, 102, 458-489.

Vandell, D.L. (2000). Parents, peer groups, and other socializing influences. Developmental Psychology, 36, 699-710.

Harris, J. R. (2000). Socialization, personality development, and the child's environments: Comment on Vandell (2000). Developmental Psychology, 36, 711-723.

Rothbaum, F., Pott, M., Azuma, H., Miyake, K., & Weisz, J. (2000). The development of close relationships in Japan and the United States: Paths of symbiotic harmony and generative tension. Child Development, 71, 1121-1142.

September 29: Risk and Resilience

Masten, A.S. (2001). Ordinary magic: Resilience processes in development. American Psychologist, 56, 227-238.

Shonk, S.M., & Cicchetti. D. (2001). Maltreatment, competency deficits, and risk for academic and behavioral maladjustment. Developmental Psychology, 37, 3-17.

Skuse, D. H. (1984). Extreme deprivation in early childhood: II. Theoretical issues and a comparative review. Journal of Child Psychology & Psychiatry & Allied Disciplines, 25(4), 543-572.

Scheper-Hughes, N. (1985). Culture, scarcity, and maternal thinking: Maternal detachment and infant survival in a Brazilian shantytown. Ethos, 13, 291-317.

*Nations, Marilyn, and L.A. Rebhun (1988). Angels With Wet Wings Won't Fly: Maternal Sentiment and the Image of Neglect in Northeast Brazil. Culture, Medicine, and Psychiatry 12: 141-160.

Konner, M. (in press). Human resilience and adaptive aspects of PTSD: An Anthropological and Evolutionary Perspective

*Baker, R., Panter-brick, C., & Todd, A. (1997). Homeless street boys in Nepal: their demography and lifestyle. Journal of Comparative Family Studies, 28(1), 129-146.

Werner, E.E., (1989). High-risk children in young adulthood: A longitudinal study from birth to 32 years. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 59, 72-81.

* Werner, E. E. (1997). Vulnerable but invincible: high-risk children from birth to adulthood. Acta Paediatr Suppl, 422, 103-105.

October 6: Nutrition, Malnutrition, and Child Health

Panter-Brick, C. (1998). Biological anthropology and child health: context, process and outcome. In C. Panter-Brick (Ed.), Biosocial perspectives on children (pp. 66-101). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (handout)

Lancet series on international child health : WHO on infant & young child feeding:

WHO on child & adolescent health WHO on diarrhea & acute respiratory disease Stein et al. (Martorell group) on transgenerational effects of nutritional supplement *Guesry review of nutrition and brain development CDC on obesity in childhood American Academy of Pediatrics on eating disorders (handout)

October 13: Gender and Its Varieties: Biology and Behavior

Mitchell, J.E., Baker, L.A. & Jacklin, C.N. (1989). Masculinity and femininity in twin children: Genetic and environmental factors. Child Development, 60, 1475-1485.

Hines, M., Golombok, S., Rust, J., Johnston, K.J., Golding, J., & the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children Study Team (2002). Testosterone during pregnancy and gender role behavior of preschool children: A longitudinal, population study. Child Development, 73, 1678-1687.

Collaer, M. L., & Hines, M. (1995). Human behavioral sex differences: a role for gonadal hormones during early development? Psychological Bulletin, 118(1), 55-107.

Imperato-McGinley, J., Peterson, R. E., Gautier, T., & Sturla, E. (1979). Androgens and the evolution of male-gender identity among male pseudohermaphrodites with 5a-reductase deficiency. The New England Journal of Medicine, 300, 1233-1270.

Berenbaum, S. A., & Hines, M. (1992). Early androgens are related to childhood sex-typed toy preferences. Psychological Science, 3(3), 203-206.

Meyer-Bahlburg, H. F., Gruen, R. S., New, M. I., Bell, J. J., Morishima, A., Shimshi, M., Bueno, Y., Vargas, I., & Baker, S. W. (1996). Gender change from female to male in classical congenital adrenal hyperplasia. Horm Behav, 30(4), 319-332.

Stoller, R. J., & Herdt, G. H. (1985). Theories of origins of male homosexuality. Arch. Gen. Psychiatry, 42, 399.

LeVay, S. (1991). A difference in hypothalamic structure between heterosexual and homosexual men. Science, 253(1034-1037).

Konner, M.J. (1991) Homosexuality. Entry in Encyclopedia Americana, 1991 international edition. Danbury, Conn.: Grolier International.

October 20: Attachment and Child Care

NICHD (1997). The effects of infant child care on infant-mother attachment security: Results of the NICHD study of early child care. Child Development, 68, 860-879.

Sagi, A., van IJzendoorn, M.H., Aviezer, O., Donnell, F., Mayseless, O. (1994). Sleeping out of home in a kibbutz communal arrangement: It makes a difference for infant-mother attachment. Child Development, 65, 992-1004.

Weinfield, N.S., Sroufe, L.A., & Egeland, B. (2000). Attachment from infancy to early adulthood in a high-risk sample: Continuity, discontinuity, and their correlates. Child Development, 71, 695-702.

National Institute of Child Heath and Human Development Early Child Care Research Network. (2003). Does amount of time spent in child care predict socioemotional adjustment during the transition to kindergarten? Child Development, 74, 976-1005.

Watamura, S.E., Donzella, B., Alwin, J., & Gunnar, M.R. (2003). Morning-to-afternoon increases in cortisol concentrations for infants and toddlers in child care: Age differences and behavioral correlates. Child Development, 74, 1006-1020.

Newcombe, N.S. (2003). Some controls control too much. Child Development, 74, 10501052.

Greenspan, S. I. (2003). Child care research: A clinical perspective. Child Development, 74, 1064-1068.

Maccoby, E.E. & Lewis, C.C. (2003). Less day care or different day care? Child Development, 74 1069-1076.

Chisolm, K. (1998). A three year follow-up of attachment and indiscriminate friendliness in children adopted from Romanian orphanages. Child Development, 69, 1092-1106.

Rutter, M., O’Connor, T.G., and the English and Romanian Adoptees (ERA) Study Team (2004). Are there biological programming effects for psychological development? Findings from a study of Romanian adoptees. Developmental Psychology 40, 81-94.

October 27: Language

Stromswold, K. (2000). The cognitive neuroscience of language acquisition. In M. S. Gazzaniga (Ed.), The new cognitive neurosciences. Cambridge, Massachusetts: MIT Press.

Pinker, S. (1994). The language Instinct: how the mind creates language. New York: William Morrow, Ch. 9.

Senghas, A., Kita, S., and Özyürek, A. (2004). Children creating core properties of language: Evidence from an emerging sign language in Nicaragua. Science 305:1779-82. (With commentary by Michael Siegal.)

Tager-Flusberg, H. (1994). Constraints on language acquisition: Studies of atypical children. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Ch. 1.

Mogford, K., & Bishop, D. (1993). Five questions about language acquisition considered in the light of exceptional circumstances. In D. Bishop & K. Mogford (Eds.), Language development in exceptional circumstances (pp. 239-260). Hove , UK: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.

Lecours, A. R. (1975). Myelogenetic correlates of the development of speech and language. In E. Lenneberg & E. Lenneberg (Eds.), Foundations of Language Development (Vol. 1, pp. 121-135). New York: Academic Press.

Boatman, D., Freeman, J., Vining, E., Pulsifer, M., Miglioretti, D., Minahan, R., Carson, B., Brandt, J., & McKhann, G. (1999). Language recovery after left hemispherectomy in children with late-onset seizures. Annals of Neurology, 46(4), 579-586.

Karmiloff-Smith, A. (1995). Beyond modularity: a developmental perspective on cognitive science. Cambridge: The MIT Press, Ch. 2.

Ochs, E., Introduction. In Schieffelin, B. B., & Ochs, E. (Eds.). (1986). Language socialization across cultures. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Ochs, E., & Schieffelin, B. B. (1984). Language acquisition and socialization: three developmental stories and their implications. In Shweder & LeVine (Eds.), Culture theory: Essays on mind, self, and emotion (pp. 276-320). New York: Cambridge University Press.

November 3: Educational Questions

November 10: Aggression and Drugs

Dunn, J. & Hughes, C. (2001). “I’ve got some swords and you’re dead!”: Violent fantasy, antisocial behavior, friendship, and moral sensibility in young children. Child Development, 72, 491-505.

Dodge, K.A. & Pettit, G.S. (2003). A biopsychosocial model of the development of chronic conduct problems in adolescence. Developmental Psychology, 39. 349-371.

Brennan, P.A., Hall, J., Bor, W., Najman, J.M., & Williams, G. (2003). Integrating biological and social processes in relation to early-onset persistent aggression in boys and girls. Developmental Psychology, 39, 309-323.

Tolan, P.H., Gorman-Smith, D., & Henry, D.B. (2003). The developmental ecology of urban males’ youth violence. Developmental Psychology, 39, 274-291.

Drugs, prescription & street?

November 17: Puberty and Behavior

Ellis, B.J. & Garber, J. (2000). Psychosocial antecedents of variation in girls’ pubertal timing: Maternal depression, stepfather presence, and marital and family stress. Child Development, 71, 485-501.

Stice, E., Presnell, K., & Bearman, S.K. (2001). Relation of early menarche to depression, eating disorders, substance abuse, and comorbid psychopathology among adolescent girls. Developmental Psychology, 37, 608-619.

Eccles, J.S., Midgley, C. Wigfield, A., Buchanan, C.M., Reuman, D., Flanagan, C., & Mac Iver, D. (1993). Development during adolescence: The impact of stage-environment fit on young adolescents' experiences in schools and families. American Psychologist, 48, 90-101.

McClintock, M. K., & Herdt, G. (1996). Rethinking puberty: the development of sexual attraction. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 5(number 6), 178-183.

Konner, M.J. and M.J. Shostak (1986). Adolescent pregnancy and childbearing: An anthropological perspective. In: Jane B. Lancaster and Beatrix A. Hamburg (eds.), School-Age Pregnancy and Childbearing: Biosocial Dimensions. New York: Aldine.

November 24: Thanksgiving Week December 1: Cultural Constructions of Childhood

James, A. (1998). From the child's point of view: issues in the social construction of childhood. In C. Panter-Brick (Ed.), Biosocial perspectives on children (pp. 45-65). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Excerpts from books such as the following:

Fass, P. (Ed.). (2000). Childhood in America. New York, NY: New York University Press.

Harkness, S., & Super, C.M. (Ed.). (1996). Parents’ cultural belief systems: Their origins, expressions, and consequences ( Vol. Guilford). New York.

James, A. P., A. (Ed.). (1997). Constructing and reconstructing childhood: Contemporary issues in the sociological study of the child (2nd ed.). London, UK: Falmer Press.

Pollock, L. A. (1983). Forgotten children: Parent-child relations from 1500-1900.
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Scheper-Hughes, N. S., C. (Ed.). (1998). Small wars: The cultural politics of childhood. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.

Other !Kung papers

Bakeman, Roger, Lauren B.Adamson, Melvin Konner, and Ronald G. Barr (1997). Sequential analyses of !Kung infant communication: Inducing and recruiting. In: Eric

Amsel and K. Ann Renninger (eds.) Change and Development: Issues of Theory, Method, and Application, Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Mahwah, New Jersey, 1997.

West, M.W. and M.J. Konner (1976). The role of the father: an anthropological perspective. In: M. Lamb (ed.), The Role of the Father in Child Development. New York: John Wiley and Sons.

Konner, M.J. (1982) Biological aspects of mother-infant bond. In: Robert Emde and Robert Harmon (eds.), Development of Attachment and Affiliative Processes. New York: Plenum.

Elias, M., N. Nicholson and M.J. Konner (1986). Two subcultures of maternal care in the United States. In: D. Taub and F. King (eds.), Current Perspectives in Primate Social Dynamics. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold.

Konner, M. and C. Super (1987). Sudden infant death syndrome: An anthropological hypothesis. In: Charles Super (ed.), The Role of Culture in Developmental Disorder. New York: Academic Press.

Konner, M.J. (1991) Universals of behavioral development in relation to brain myelination. In: Kathleen R. Gibson and Anne C. Petersen (eds.), Brain Maturation and Cognitive Development: Comparative and Cross-Cultural Perspectives. New York: Aldine de


Blurton Jones, N.G. and M.J. Konner (1973). Sex differences in behavior of two-to-five-year-olds in London and among the Kalahari Desert Bushmen. In: R.P. Michael and J.H. Crook (eds.), Comparative Ecology and Behavior of Primates. London: Academic


LeVay, S. (1993). The sexual brain. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press (excerpts).

Rutter, M. (1998). Developmental catch-up, and deficit, following adoption after severe global early privation. English and Romanian Adoptees (ERA) Study Team. J Child Psychol Psychiatry, 39(4), 465-476.