Children's Studies Minor

As a children’s studies minor, you will learn about children and childhood while drawing on the expertise of faculty from across WashU. Minors will develop a sophisticated interdisciplinary understanding of childhood and the issues surrounding the treatment and status of children throughout history. This minor is housed in the Center for the Humanities.

sample courses:

Cultural History of the American Teenager

This course will explore the recent history of the teenager in the United States, from the rise of teen culture in the 1950s to the current state of adolescence in the new century. Why have so many novels and films memorialized adolescence? How has the period of development been portrayed in recent American fiction? We will begin with J.D. Salinger's classic novel, "The Catcher in the Rye," a book that in many ways helped initiate the rise of the youth movement in the 1950s and 60s. From there, we will read a series of novels and historical studies that will trace the changes in teen culture that have occurred over the past half century. Our class will also consider a few films, which have helped shape our conception of the American teenager.

History of the Golden Age of Children's Literature

A survey of Golden Age texts for children from "Alice in Wonderland" to "The Secret Garden." British and American, 1865-1914. Fiction, drama, poetry. In this course we will examine a remarkable period in the history of children's literature. The texts we read will cover a broad range of genres, from domestic fiction to fantasy literature to stories of adventure. The settings include the British nursery, the American small town, the plains of Africa, and a rabbit hole. The depictions of and assumptions about children that emerge from these disparate texts will guide our investigation of the period's concept of childhood.