GETR 345 | CPLT 345
TR 2:00-3:15 p.m., New Cabell Hall, 234


Teaching Resource Center,
24 East Range
Office hours: Thursday, 3:30-4:30 p.m. and by appointment

Course Description

This comparative inquiry into children's and young adult literature explores topics such as the construction of the child reader, the world of fantasy, gender and race relations, and the changing role of children's literature in the age of globalization and consumerism. Drawing from different approaches such as literary theory, sociology and psychology, we will discuss selected works in their specific historic contexts and analyze their underlying cultural values and assumptions. We will also examine the usefulness of studying children's and young adult books in an academic setting and explore such questions as: What do we gain when we expose these readings to critical thought? How does "knowledge" affect the "inspirational value" of an intensely private reading experience? Investigating the tension between the naïve and the educated reader, students are asked to develop their personal vocabulary to articulate the connection between their persuasions and scholarly pursuits.

This discussion based, reading-intensive seminar is cross-listed in the Comparative Literature Program and German Department and most texts come from the Western tradition. The sessions will be held in English. German majors are encouraged to read German texts in the original and to write their papers in German. All students must be prepared to participate actively in discussion, critically engage the readings and each other, to write regularly, to develop their independent thoughts, and to work together on a team project. Students from a variety of academic backgrounds and interests are encouraged to apply.

Readings will range from fairy tales and poetry, to didactic tales such as Struwwelpeter, to multi-cultural children's literature including Nappy Hair and All of a Kind Family, to fantasy such The Golden Compass and the most recent blockbuster Harry Potter.

Secondary works include: Philippe Ariès, Centuries of Childhood; Bruno Bettelheim, The Uses of Enchantments; Gilbert and Gubar, Snow White and her Wicked Stepmother; Kleist, The Puppet Theater.

Writing requirements include: reading responses, two 5-page papers, a team project, and a learning portfolio.

This course fulfills the Second Writing Requirement.

Advice from former students on how to suceed in this course.