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
TALKING BOOKS | READING CHILDHOOD
PhD candidate Jeremy Boorum interviews Jacob Breslow about his new book Ambivalent Childhoods: Speculative Futures and the Psychic Life of the Child.
Introducing the CCS Project’s latest feature, Talking Books | Reading Childhood. Critical childhood scholars interview authors of new monographs in the field.
MLA 2022: The Biopolitics of Childhood
For Riis, as for many of his contemporary sentimentally-informed reformers, the heart of this individuality lies in the ability to exist as a feeling subject, and the most fruitful site for reform in the emotionally and physically malleable child.
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.
Biopolitics, Boyhood, and Narratives of Development in St. Nicholas: Scribner’s Illustrated Magazine for Girls and Boys | Allison Giffen
All three identities— disability, childhood, and racial identities like whiteness and Blackness—have a shared genealogy, emerging as codified social formations in the nineteenth century by way of enlightenment rationality, empirical science, and the nineteenth-century’s drive to classify.
The discourses that deny Black girls the capacity for nonconsent stabilize those that render that capacity easily and irrevocably lost so that girls of both colors are subsumed into the population of the always willing and accessible.
Biopolitical Temporalities and Native Girlhood in Elaine Goodale Eastman’s Yellow Star | Mary Zaborskis
Zintka’s position in white kinship and settler temporality was contingent on her not exceeding the infantilized, suspended, immobilized role of Native girl.
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.
Junk food’s instant gratification introduced working-class children in antebellum United States to ideas of the good life that would slowly kill them.
We’ve invited Erica Kanesaka Kalnay to reflect on her recent essay in Victorian Studies.