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PLAI Courses

PLAI 300 (Fall 2010): Interdisciplinary Humanities Topics

Imagining the Child

Instructors: Teresa Strong-Wilson (co-ordinator), Steven Huebner, Desmond Manderson, Leigh Yetter


We have all been children; but what does this mean, and why? The course explores representations of the child across various domains (e.g., architecture, art, education, law, literature, music) and throughout time, juxtaposing diverse historical and contemporary literary, pictorial, musical and other texts to explore particular themes, ideas, motifs, or touchstones that have influenced the social and imaginative constructions of childhood. We consider how (predominantly Western) constructions of childhood have developed and been challenged, especially by contemporary social and political issues invoking contested pasts. The course will also explore the implications of these constructions on the treatment of children, the anxieties surrounding childhood, and our understanding of ourselves.