[ Summary ] [ Syllabus] [Bibliography & Resources][Question Submission]


Course Number: COMM ST 390-0
Winter 2005
Lecture: TTh 11-12:20,
  Room: Searle 2-115
Lab: T 6-8pm, Room: Searle 2-115

Professor Justine Cassell
Office hours: by appointment

TA: Andrea Tartaro

Office hours: Tuesdays, 1-2pm


notice: this syllabus is subject to change without notice.
It is your responsibility to check the website often for changes to the readings or assignments

Class Reading Lab Due Dates

Unit One:

I. Tuesday January 4

If you are having trouble opening the readings, please download a free copy of Adobe Reader

CCR = Children's Culture Reader
B/MK = From Barbie to Mortal Kombat

Lab: AI  

II. Thursday January 6

General Issues


  • Henry Jenkins, "Childhood Innocence and Other Modern Myths" CCR
  • William Kessen, "The American Child and Other Cultural Inventions "
  • Jean Briggs, "Eskimo Family Life"


    III. Tuesday January 11

    The Developing Child


    Lab: Truffaut's Wild Child


    IV. Thursday January 13

    The Historical Evolution of Childhood



    V. Tuesday January 18

    Children in Cross-Cultural Perspective

    Read: Lab: Preschool in 3 Cultures  

    Unit Two:
    Play and Fantasy

    VI. Thursday January 20
    The Commercialization of Children's Culture


    Read: Links:
    Kids TV commercials website
    - Fernanda Moore, "Little Boy Pink"
    - Walt Kelly, "Pogo Primer For Parents"
    - Libby Purves, "Time to move beyond 'boys will be boys'"

    Observation Assignment due

    class notes on observation

    VII. Tuesday January 25
    Play and Reality



    Rob Walker, "Risky Business"
    Jon Gertner, "Hey, Mom, Is It O.K. If These Guys Market Stuff to Us?"
    Benedict Carey, "Babes in a Grown-up Toyland"

    Lab: Talk about paper topics


    Unit Three:
    Stories for and by Children

    VIII. Thursday January 27
    Children as Storytellers

    IX. Tuesday February 1

    From Folk Tales to Children's Literature

    Read: Lab: Talk about artifact proposals  

    X. Thursday February 3

    Present Artifacts

    Student Presentations:

      artifact presentations 
    Unit Four:
    Children and Computers
    XI. Tuesday February 8
    Computers and Childhood


    Lab: Web Sites For Kids

    paper topic due

    XII. Thursday February 10

    Children as Technologists





    XIII. Tuesday February 15
    Children Online

    (Guest Speaker!)


    girl games

    (Barbie Fashion Designer, Purple Moon)

    artifact proposal due


    XIV. Thursday February 17

    The Girl Game Movement







    Unit Five:
    Sexuality and Gender
    XV. Tuesday February 22
    Responding to Children's Sexuality
    • Sigmund Freud, Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality (essays 2 and 3)
    • Henry Jenkins, "The Senuous Child: Benjamin Spock and the Sexual Revolution" CCR

    Lab: Barbie Liberation Organization & Twist Barbie

    GI Joe Convention video

    Karen Carpenter video

    Paper due

    XVI. Thursday February 24

    Gender in political context

    (guest speaker!)


    XVII. Tuesday March 1

    Case Study of Barbie


    (guest speaker!)


    Lab: La Vie en Rose




    XVIII. Thursday March 3

    Gender and Non-Conformity

    • Eve Sedgewick, "How to Bring Your Kids Up Gay" CCR
    • Barrie Thorne, "Boys and Girls Together... But Mostly Apart" CCR
    • David Sedaris, "I Like Guys" (listen to this essay in the episode)
    Links: Relevant articles  
    Unit Six:
    XIX. Tuesday March 8
    Violence and Child's Play
    Read: TA Help Session  
    XX. Thursday March 10

    Presentations of Final Projects

    Chicago Tribune article

    Please fill out the CTEC course evaluation !!

      projects due