AN 290: CHILDREN AND CULTURE                                                        Fall 2005

Prof. Charles Lindholm
616 745 Commonwealth Ave (STH)
Tel 353-4029, e-mail
office hours to be announced.

            This is a course about the effect of culture on children.   In the course, we will look at the ways in which several cultures socialize children, and at how childhood itself is conceptualized and lived.  We will consider the interrelated factors - social, economic, demographic and symbolic - that determine the organization of the family, the value and meaning of children, and the place of children in their families, communities, and schools.  Though there is much that human beings share in common, we will see that the “cultural construction” of childhood influences child development in domains as varied as morality, intelligence, sexuality and identity.  We will also see how historical changes have reshaped the family and transformed our own realities.
            The course will utilize material from subSaharan Africa, Japan, China, the United States and elsewhere to consider these issues. Students are expected to attend every class. They are also expected to undertake a short field project with children, and to write a report on that project.  Students should also read the Boston University Academic Conduct Code carefully, particularly page 2, where the violations of the code are spelled out.  Handing in someone else’s work or ideas as your own (even if you worked on it together as a group) constitutes plagiarism, as does using someone’s ideas without attribution.  You must give a citation when you use another author’s ideas in your paper, even if you do not quote the text word-for-word.


            Grades will be based on a mid-term (40%) and final exam (40%) and a report of their   project (20%).  Exams will not only cover material from the books and any handouts, but also material discussed in class. 


Weeks 1-2                   P. Ariès  Centuries of Childhood,  Part I The Idea of Childhood.

Weeks 3 - 6                  R. Levine, et al, Childcare and Culture, Chaps. 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10. (I have just  discovered that this text is now unavailable. I’ll either Xerox the relevant chapters or find a substitute).

Weeks 7-10                   J. Tobin, David Wu and Dana Davidson, Preschool in Three Cultures: Chaps. 1, 2, 3, 4.

Weeks 11-13                 Adrie Kusserow, American Individualisms .