West European Studies | The History of Children in the West
W605 | 4208 | Ipsen

Prof C. Ipsen   4:00-6:00p   T   BH 221
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Our primary focus in this course will be the history of childhood and
children’s issues in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Western
societies (Europe and US), though some discussions will inevitably
take us to earlier periods. We will start off by exploring recent
(and not-so-recent) literature on the place of children in Western
history including discussions of the so-called discovery of
childhood. We will then look at a series of children’s issues which
might include: child labor, children and poverty, infant abandonment,
the moral abandonment of children, children in slavery, child
prostitution, infanticide, child mortality, juvenile delinquency,
child abuse, street children, child emigration, and child morality
and sexuality. The balance we strike between European and US topics
will be a function of student interest and the instructor’s
(Europeanist) perspective. Interested students should contact the
instructor, particularly if there are specific topics they would like
to see included in the syllabus. Weekly discussions will be based on
either common or individual readings (as a function of the topic).
Students will be responsible for a weekly reading assignment,
participation in discussions, some presentation, and three papers.