New Scholarship

ARTICLE | “I, Young in Life”: Phillis Wheatley and the Invention of American Childhood | Early American Literature | by Camille S. Owens

“Placing Wheatley at the center of the early American epistemic, pedagogical, and political struggle over childhood’s meaning, this essay traces the dominant racial politics of childhood that came to diminish Wheatley—as either a childlike poet or an exceptional child—in dialogue with Wheatley’s own invocations of childhood, family, knowledge, and freedom in her personal writings and published work.” Read More


MLA 2022: The Biopolitics of Childhood

Anti-Censorship Alcott, Or How the Author of Little Women Taught Girls to Talk Sex | Stephanie Peebles Tavera

Said differently: If we believe that children and young adults are not mature enough to engage in difficult conversations about sexuality and race, then that is only true because we have failed to prepare them to engage in those difficult conversations. It’s the adults that need to grow up, not the children — and Louisa May Alcott knew that way back in 1875.

The Lusus Naturae: Depicting Enslaved Childhood in Eighteenth-Century Literary and Medical Texts | Rebecca M. Rosen

From plaster molds of living children to staged tours of enslaved adults, such exhibitions—and the literary and visual artifacts created in their wake—show how the widespread theft of black bodies, so often cited as the underpinning of late eighteenth- and nineteenth-century university instruction, was supported by a literary and visual culture that endorsed the anatomical seizure of the living.