ABOUT THIS BOOK
From the time that the infant colonies broke away from the parent country to the present day, narratives of U.S. national identity are persistently configured in the language of childhood and family. In The American Child: A Cultural Studies Reader, contributors address matters of race, gender, and family to chart the ways that representations of the child typify historical periods and conflicting ideas. They build on the recent critical renaissance in childhood studies by bringing to their essays a wide range of critical practices and methodologies.
Although the volume is grounded heavily in the literary, it draws on other disciplines, revealing that representations of children and childhood are not isolated artifacts but cultural productions that in turn affect the social climates around them. Essayists look at games, pets, adolescent sexuality, death, family relations, and key texts such as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and the movie Pocahontas; they reveal the ways in which the figure of the child operates as a rich vehicle for writers to consider evolving ideas of nation and the diverse role of citizens within it.